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Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 10.06.07 AMLately, my relationship with the Lord has been a lot of work. Coming back to the United States and leading C.A.R.E. Africa from afar has not been as easy as I thought.

Lack of purpose
 – not being able to be hands on with the ministry in Nigeria.
Lack of identity – “Missionary” is a weird word to use when you don’t live in a far-off country.
Lack of joy -God made me an extrovert and now I work alone from home every day.

Since being stateside, I have continually asked God what His purpose was in bringing me back to the United States. What am I supposed to be doing? What is this new chapter in my life? I feel sick, heartbroken and I want to be healed but all I hear is silence.

76710897_10157714046358808_16463361264844800_nThis last year, I have spent time rekindling my relationships with friends and family. We get together for a meal, coffee or a walk in the park. The more time we spend together the more the relationship grows. If I have a problem I can call or text and talk it out with them. It feels easy and there is definitely not any silence.

I feel like my relationship with the Lord should be easier than my relationship with humans, after all, He is God. I meet with Him every day to study His word and ask Him for guidance and wisdom. I invest daily in this relationship and lately I have not felt a return on this investment.

Is God’s investment in my life His son’s death and I am now indebted to Him forever?

girlYes, eternal life is worth it! I don’t deserve to ask for anything more as He has given me everything needed. But sometimes it feels like obedience is all there is in this relationship. Be patient on His timing, love that person, sell everything we own, forgive that family member, move to Nigeria, give that money away, tithe, live humbly, move back from Nigeria, give grace to that one, lead like Jesus, don’t judge, just wait, treat your body like it is a temple, rest, don’t do that, do that. 

It’s just that I would do anything for my friends and family. I would not be silent. If you ask Cason or Jolie what their mom would do if anyone did something to hurt them- they would tell you – “She would take no prisoners..!” If they had a problem I would drop everything and be there to help. If they needed to be healed and I could heal them, I would.

I feel like with God I always need to be on my knees or be at His feet, always praying (oftentimes pleading) to Him in the hope He will speak clearly to me. Why can’t God heal me like the cripple at the pool in John 5:1-9. The cripple didn’t even initiate the conversation. Jesus did. The cripple just answered His question and was immediately healed.

Really? Why do I feel like I have to do something or give up something for God to do something for me?

I feel suffocated, required, demanded, controlled, enslaved and indebted. 

God’s love, as clearly described in the Bible, is unconditional. This just makes the silence  harder to understand. The Bible says in Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is easy but I am not feeling the easy right now.

As a mom, I don’t want my children to feel suffocated, required, demanded, controlled, enslaved or indebted. Yes, I carried them for 9 months, they ruined my body and continue to drain my bank account, but I don’t want a relationship built on obligation. I don’t currently hang out with the Lord out of obligation but I’m feeling like it is heading that direction if this silence continues.

Have you experienced silence from God before?
Has there been a time you questioned if He really cared?
What got you through this?
What helped you maintain your faith, hope and joy amongst the silence?

I am always jealous when I hear of missionaries in the big cities of Nigeria opening up pizza parlors, small grocery stores, or coffee shops that generate income for their ministry. C.A.R.E. Africa is located in a rural community called Egbe. Rural business has its share of challenges such as geographic isolation and barriers to capital. I ask God all the time, “Why couldn’t you have called me to do ministry in a large city like Jos, Abuja or Kano in Nigeria. It would have been so much easier! Why Egbe?”

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Many times when I tell someone about Egbe and the challenges we face they often ask how I keep up the faith amid such – hopelessness….

I am a businesswoman at heart. I love commerce, marketing, planning and executing and then watching the rewards of the endeavor. I will never forget the first business class Emma and I taught in Nigeria to a Yoruba Fulani woman who could not read. I made her a picture chart for inventory keeping and helped her realize when she sold her pure water for 10 naira each or 15 naira for two, she was actually losing money.  This encounter inspired me but the many obstacles and failures in other endeavors has caused me to feel… hopelessness.

Sometimes the obstacles are culturally based.  Women who are empowered to start a small business are oftentimes threatened with being cast out or disowned by their family if they do not use their business funds to pay for a family member’s wedding, funeral or hospital bill. As a result, this once empowered woman will not have the money needed to restock her shelves and has to close her business.  Hopelessness…

DSC_3009Sometimes the obstacles are unforeseen. Weddings are a big event in Egbe. We saw an opportunity to teach our high school girls how to make wedding cakes to later find out the neighboring city of Ilorin would be our competition.  In Egbe it is considered prestigious to have your wedding cake, wedding dress and catering to come from a bigger city like Ilorin.  If you bought it all in Egbe then you must not be doing very well. Hopelessness…..

 “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

~Mother Teresa

 

DSC_2903I recently found this quote and it meant so much to me because it is the antidote to hopelessness and it is what we are doing at C.A.R.E Africa.  We invest in one child, one caregiver, one staff member at a time. We invest by focusing on their relationship with the Lord first. We know that if their relationship with Him is strong it doesn’t matter what obstacles they face – they will always have hope! They will be content in all things.  Their joy and hope will spill out onto others and change the environment and culture around them one person at a time.

Do I still dream of a C.A.R.E. Business Complex where our sponsored children and our caregivers are trained and working in the eatery, bakery, wedding shop, hair salon, coffee shop, business center, bicycle sales/repair and KeKe service? Oh Yes!!!  All I need to do is cast a single stone into the waters of life and God will do the rest.

On #GivingTuesdayNow there are so many ways you can give to C.A.R.E. Africa during this pandemic. 

Give away your stuff, give away your time or give away your finances……….

messyGive away those unwanted and or unused items lying around your home! Furniture, books, clothes, toys and appliances. We will come and get them and sell them on the marketplace and donate all the proceeds on your behalf to C.A.R.E. Africa. It’s called a Gift in Kind!

 

 

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Give away your time! Email me to volunteer at the next C.A.R.E. Africa booth, help us plan and run our next fundraiser event, join our next mission trip and or use your marketing and or administrative gifts to help with website updates and  data entry for prayer cards and calendars.

 

 

 

cashGive away your finances!  Donate to our ministry to help our children and caregivers during this Corona Pandemic by visiting https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/COVID19 for US donations and https://www.sim.ca/care-africa/for Canada donations.

 

 

Whatever you have to give we an use it at C.A.R.E. Africa on this #GivingTuesdayNow!

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You can give to help our children and caregivers at C.A.R.E. Africa on this global day of giving at https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/COVID19. For Canadian donations you can visit https://www.sim.ca/care-africa/.

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#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that will take place on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  It is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, business and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. Millions of people have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in communities around the world.

#GivingTuesdayNow is the day we hope to raise money for our children and caregivers. We know that as we recover from COVID-19, the need for food and other provisions will increase significantly. Food is not always available as the markets are not open for many days. Finding food is already becoming a difficulty for some. Many people who are fortunate enough to have a job were not paid in April and possibly won’t be paid in May. There isn’t any such thing as stimulus money in Nigeria. We need you to be the stimulus that helps us get these families through this pandemic. If you want to help a family or two or three then please give any amount on #GivingTuesdayNow.

$50 will feed a family of 5-6 people for one week.
$100 bag of rice will feed 30 families a meal.
$200 bag of beans will feed 30 families a meal.

Visit https://www.donorrise.com/careafrica/COVID19 to donate from the United States

Canadian Residents can donate at https://www.sim.ca/care-africa/

#GivingTuesdayNow

Please mark your calendar to support us on this national giving day! 

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This is Damilola Amarachi’s remodeled home. Below the two little feet pictured – you will see these words etched in the concrete:  “Is the time of joy, favour, happy, Mercy is the work of God”.  These words express gratitude for the house that love built.

You may remember the Amarachi family from a C.A.R.E. Africa blog several months ago. Here’s the link to that story https://milesinmissions.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/amarachi/  We shared with you the deplorable living conditions of this kindhearted family of six.  You opened your hearts to the Amarachi family and donations flooded in.  With those donations C.A.R.E. Africa was able to build a new roof, windows, doors, walls and concrete floor.  The renovations were completed just in time for the rainy season. Because of your donations, Damilola and her family will never sleep on a wet, foam mat in the dirt again!   Here are some before and after pictures of the Amarachi home renovations.

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During this Coronavirus pandemic it is easy to forget that the church, along with local and international ministries, rely solely on donations. We can only help as much as the Body of Christ empowers us to help. When we make a difference in people’s lives, it is ALL OF US who are engaged in that work. God says in His word (Mark 14:7) that the poor you will always have with you.  This reminds us  that the work never ends. It must continue during good times and bad times. During prosperity and pandemics.  Most churches and ministries will need increased support during and after this pandemic in order to help all those that were affected.

I am reminded of the widow in the Bible who gave during her uncertain time and challenge you to continue your support or to become a new supporter during these uncertain times.

Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Damilola and her family would not have experienced Christ’s love for them by way of this house renovation if it wasn’t for people saying “yes I will give”.

Screen Shot 2020-03-11 at 3.21.12 PMPlease consider and pray about becoming a C.A.R.E. Africa child sponsor.  

There are so many more “Damilola’s” out there who need someone to help them out of a life of poverty and into a life filled with hope.  Will you be that someone?  We have 12 new children that have basic needs for food, healthcare and education. 

Click Give.iCareAfrica.org to learn their names and to see their precious faces.  We would love to have all 12 sponsored over the next 40 days.  If you already sponsor a child, please consider sponsoring a 2nd or 3rd child or sharing this blog post with a friend or family member. We cannot do this without you!

Here is an Egbe, Nigeria COVID-19 update from Emma Salako our CEO;

The news of this virus has really broken a lot of people down with fear, both old and young are so scared. For the past week it has been crazy! Shops were forced to close, banks and hospitals were not allowing people in without washing of hands. Food became like gold to find, prices of everything increased overnight and churches were not allowed to hold worship services.  All schools were closed with no alternative way for the children to do school lessons.  There was no traveling and markets were not allowed to sell.  Anyone who opened their store or anyone walking about was getting caned and or harassed severely. Many people were saying it’s the end times as they sat home starving.

This week things seem to be getting back to normal.  People are opening their small shops, banks are working half days, the motorcycle guys are transporting people around town again, gas stations are now open but schools and churches are still locked down.

homeThe CARE Africa kids, caregivers and staff are all in good health. We are checking on them regularly to encourage them to keep the faith and know that all things will soon be back in place in God’s timing. Today and the rest of this week we are going house to house to share small bags of rice and other provisions to our families to help sustain them the little we can.  Please pray for the well being of our children and staff at CARE, pray for Egbe land, pray for Nigeria, pray for the poor, pray for the lost who are thinking that God wanted to punish them with this virus.  Pray for all nations to feel the hand of God and see His power at work. Pray for God’s comfort to those who lost their loved ones during this hard time.  Pray for the leadership of CARE not to give up or feel discouraged. Pray strongly that more people will draw closer to Jesus during this time and that many will come to accept Jesus.

Thank you all for your love.  We just want you guys to know that we are doing fine here on the other side of the world and you are all in our prayers just as we need your prayers.

Hoarding

Posted: March 24, 2020 by Patrice Miles in Patrice Miles, Prayer

90232580_10104191149566577_2718057018047856640_o“We should probably go to the grocery store. If you need me to go, I will. I think one of us needs to go because there won’t be anything left.” Lenny said after day 4 of Coronavirus pandemic. He had asked me everyday of the pandemic and every time he had brought it up, it overwhelmed me.

I wasn’t stressed because of the thought of crazy people fighting over toilet paper.

I wasn’t stressed over the thought that I might get Coronavirus.

I was stressed because I was being forced to buy stuff that we didn’t need right now. Just the thought of all that stuff in my house, overwhelmed me.

In Egbe Nigeria, we were so excited to be able to get novelties like cheese, milk, sliced bread, potatoes and apples that when there wasn’t any, we just didn’t have cheese, milk, sliced bread, potatoes or apples. We grew accustomed to having limited choices for snacks and food and just ate what was there. I didn’t realize how simple life is when you don’t have so many options until I came back to the U.S. and had so many options that it stressed me out to just make a decision on bread. White, Wheat, Honey Wheat, Stone Grain, Whole Grain, Sprouted Grain, Gluten Free, Organic, Round Top, Hawaiian, Sourdough, Rye, Multi Grain…..ahhhhh!

For the first time since Coronavirus reared its ugly head, I was anxious, stressed and overwhelmed.

What is wrong with me?

Why don’t I want to stock up?

What even do I buy and stock up on?

89179475_10221876737376090_3326374698131914752_nWe have plenty of meat because Lenny killed four deer this year. We have one loaf of bread, one gallon of milk, plenty of cereal, lunch meat, cheese, chips and snacks. We might be low on side dishes for our dinners, but they aren’t going to run out of vegetables and produce so I can go and buy those as we need them.

So, what exactly do I need to buy and why?

I mean everyone else is doing this, shouldn’t I?

Am I missing out on something, because I just don’t get it? If we run out of milk, bread, cereal, cheese, chips and snacks, then I guess we will eat something else.

I did end up sitting down and making a list of items to buy that I could freeze or keep and make later if America runs out of food. Honestly it is still only about one week of meals which is what I prepare for every week anyways.

Am I the only one struggling with getting all worked up over this pandemic?

Yes, I totally see the need to stop the spreading of this highly contagious virus by refraining from gatherings and washing my hands regularly. But the hoarding, stockpiling, purchasing of guns, posting on social media posts that instill fear, panic and anxiousness into others, I just don’t get it.

Am I weird?

Is this a missionary thing? Am I not anxious about a virus that is spreading in one of the most medically and technologically sound countries in the world because I spent 6 years in Nigeria where we experienced Ebola, regular Fulani tribal wars and community shootings? Or, is it because I am reminded in my quiet time this morning of Hebrews 2:7b – 8  you have crowned him with glory and honor putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

So, what is your response to this pandemic?

“We need to take C.A.R.E. Africa outside of Egbe. There are so many voiceless and exhausted children in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole”

For two years this was a recurring statement in our team meetings in Egbe. How could we only help children in Egbe when there were so many children in other towns in need of help. We prayed and just never heard God tell us where, who or when.

Emma has had dreams for years of our expansion into other countries but I have always been the one to put God in a box and keep C.A.R.E. Africa small. About six months ago several of us started having dreams of expansion and felt God clearly directing us to the town of Oke Ere. So we put the word out that a team from C.A.R.E.Africa would be coming to Oke Ere. If God wanted us to open the doors of C.A.R.E. to other towns then He would have to bring the children.

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In February a team went to Oke Ere not knowing if the word had gotten out and if anyone would show up. Over 100 mothers, grandmothers and children were there waiting on us! The need was so overwhelming. We were able to interview 12 families and make home visits to about half of them. This town with only three small churches and two schools has poverty unlike anything I have ever witnessed. We had one little boy who hadn’t eaten in days and when given food he ate like a dog. It brought tears to my eyes.

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I thanked God for bringing the children. Now I needed Him to bring the sponsors!

Almost all of these kids are extremely behind in their studies. Many cannot read or write. A few don’t speak English. We are in the process of hiring special teachers to work directly with the Oke Ere children. We hope to catch them up so in September when the 2020/2021 school year starts, they will be able to cope in the classroom.

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We need your help both prayerfully and financially.

We need to find sponsors for the children of Oke Ere. The need is great!

If you already sponsor a child I ask you to prayerfully consider sponsoring a second child. I also ask that you forward this blog to as many people as God brings to mind. Tell a friend, post on social media and pray for these children and their families. Also pray for the teachers that will work directly with them as it will not be an easy task. This work would not be possible without your faith, prayers and continued support. Thank-you!

 
Click on any child to learn more about them or visit our giving website at https:/give.icareafrica.org to see all the kids available for sponsorship.

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If I die tomorrow, I have no regrets!

Posted: March 4, 2020 by Patrice Miles in Uncategorized

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I was supposed to get up this morning at 5am and have my quiet time and then head to the gym …..that didn’t happen.

I was so tired last night that I went to bed at 8:30am and yet still couldn’t wake up to keep up with my new exercise regime. I want so badly to get this whole exercise and eating healthy routine down. It’s my constant battle and idol at times.

I love the way my body feels when I am in my routine of exercise and healthy eating. I have energy, my clothes fit great, I can eat what I want within reason and I am focused and alert. These things are all good but trying to do it all and shower before 8:30am when my first conference call with Nigeria starts, is taking away from my time with the Lord.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 5.16.32 PMI need, crave, and must have this time with him. It’s where the legalism, stress and busyness all get put aside and the beautiful women he created comes out. I think, dwell, and hear so much during that time. It is so beautiful compared to my to do list and stress of diet and exercise.

I am reading Jackie Chan’s Crazy Love and Ecclesiastes right now. Both talk about how short life is and how we need to enjoy it more. So, when I stress over diet and exercise, I get mad because if I die tomorrow then what was all the restricting of delicious food and getting up early to work out worth. No, I don’t want to be miserable while I am on this earth. I don’t want to be uncomfortable in my clothes or tired and lethargic from eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts every day.

So where is the enjoyment of life but self-control of the flesh?

How do you complete the to do’s but not stress over the who, what , when and how so you sleep well?

How do you enjoy every person, place and thing you experience today whether it is good, bad, stressful, annoying or mediocre?

How do you say, “If I die tomorrow, I have no regrets?”

Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 4.37.17 PMI think for some people it is easier than others.

An “S” on the DISC profile or a 9 on the Enneagram (Peacemaker). I am sure you find these things much easier as God created you with a must softer, sensitive, laid back personality.

But what about people like me? The “D” in DISC and 3 on Enneagram (Achiever). I naturally wake up early every morning needing to Dominate, Direct, Accomplish and Shine.

 

I would love to know how you have found the happy-medium ground in your life…….

How do you balance life on earth with an eternal focus?

How do you live life comfortably saying “If I die tomorrow, I have no regrets!”

I know none of us can honestly say we are 100% there but what have you done or are doing to get there? Please share with us all so we can learn from each other and grow!