Life is a Lesson

Posted: March 30, 2022 by salako86 in C.A.R.E. Africa, Nigeria, Orphans, Outreach, People of Egbe, Prayer

By: Emma Salako

I count this life to be a lesson, that everything we achieve comes only by the grace of God and not hard work. Whatever one has, it’s for the benefit of the world, given by God to impact the lives of others. God is not selfish that he blesses us, but blesses us to also bless others, to make them feel the true love that comes from him alone. Pride is a disease that if one is not careful will destroy life, but true humility brings joy and fulfillment to the soul.

No matter how brilliant, educated, and sharp we are. That doesn’t make us complete what makes us complete is that God has chosen us as his hands and feet, and our heart of love towards humanity. We’ll be the change that the world deserves and show compassion to those who don’t have the privilege to be who they desire to become. This life is very short and no one knows when it’s all going to be over, but while there’s still breath in us we need to make use of every opportunity we got to make sure that we conquer the fear of this world. A little hand of Love and Care may be the only thing to save a life.

If only we understood what love means and how important it is to show, we would have the true meaning of life, and its impacts on people who do not have a good chance to win. Remember that none of us just became successful overnight, it was over time with love from those we never could have imagined that helped us. An act of care and love goes a long way in transforming someone’s life from worse to better. Let love speak!

I remember sitting in church as a kid in the early 90s, listening to a missionary discuss their life in Africa while flipping through a slide reel of pictures. I don’t remember anything they said, just the feeling of fear and dread that God wanted to punish me enough that one day I would have to go to Africa. That night and for years to follow, I begged God to never make me go to Africa. I’d do anything else.

Then in the spring of 2014, I felt the wind blow in a different direction. The Miles had sold all their stuff and moved to Nigeria six months prior. I felt my curiosity suddenly outweighing my fear. It now seemed as if maybe God had a gift waiting for me rather than a punishment. I wanted to visit friends. But I also felt a new and unfamiliar tug. An exciting invitation. A “just you wait and see…”

Since that first trip with Stephen in 2014, I’ve traveled back to Nigeria 3 more times, with another trip scheduled for later this year. I am now eager for each next chance to go to Africa.

When C.A.R.E. Africa first began, Patrice asked if I would attempt to sell some jewelry participants had made. Having no experience in sales, marketing, promotion, or distribution, I said, “Sure!” We bought a tent and tables. Stephen’s sister used sharpies to draw a poster board sign, and we began vending at farmer’s markets in Louisville, KY.

C.A.R.E. grew into a full-blown ministry in Nigeria with many facets, including a seamstress training program that creates numerous products including clothing, handbags, jewelry, and aprons. Our garage transformed into an “Amazon Fulfillment Center,” stocked with shelves of sorted boxes of products, market display items (many built by Patrice’s stepdad), and shipping supplies.

Miraculously those early days of stumbling through the unknowns have grown into a vibrant display, a band of faithful volunteers, return-shoppers at markets, a requested presence in missions conferences, an Etsy store, and $20k in sales for 2021.

I found my passion and purpose in that vendor booth. I could not sell just anything. But I have the incredible luck to showcase vibrant products which tell a beautiful story that I believe in with my whole heart. And I love the human element of a market: crowds of unique characters with personalities as varied as the fabric prints. It helps open my heart to the patchwork of people required to build a solid community.

As if my life managing product sales wasn’t charmed enough, in 2021 I was offered employment with C.A.R.E. as the Sponsorship Coordinator. I am having so much fun getting to know the kids and sponsors more. It is an honor to facilitate communication and relationship internationally! Sponsors are partnering with C.A.R.E. to educate, disciple, and nurture more than 70 kids in Nigeria. I update sponsors on life in Egbe including new pictures, report cards, home life, plans for college, and achievements. I also relay communication from sponsors back to Egbe staff and students.

Other facets of this role include advocating for sponsorship and monitoring financial transactions. After an end-of-year audit, we verified that 99% of child sponsorship donor dollars go directly to care and supplies for the children and their families!! Around every turn, I continue to find the efficacy and integrity of this organization are top tier.

What a thrill ride I’m on. I’d like to go back to tell little Diana she doesn’t need to be afraid; there’s so much to look forward to.

ADVOCATE * INVEST * EMPOWER * SERVE

Millions of Nigerian students are disappointed every year because they cannot attend university.  Not because they didn’t study hard enough for entrance exams, but because there isn’t enough room for all of them and it’s not affordable for most. 

74% of Nigerians that apply for higher education will be denied. Only 1 out of 4 will have the opportunity to go. WHY?

The US has over 5,000 higher education institutions to service a population of roughly 319 million.  Compare that to Nigeria who has around 150 universities to service a population of 180 million people, 62% of them 24 or younger.  There is simply not enough universities  in Nigeria to accommodate the growing student population. 

If a student is accepted, the school fees can range from $1,000 to $6,000 per year, for federal, state, or private university.  For a country with an approximate minimum wage of $57 a month (about $2 a day) it is clearly impossible for most families to to send their children to university.  

We are fortunate to have six students in higher institutions in Nigeria and one in the United States.  These children are blessed to have sponsors who invest in their lives. We work very hard to obtain admittance for our children. For those who are able to gain admission we rely on our sponsors for tuition fees. A higher education gives them the opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty. God’s kingdom is growing, and generations will be transformed because when you educate a child, you educate a nation. 

Please consider giving to our scholarship fund to enable more children to continue their education at https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/scholarship

We need more prayer warriors to join our team!

We are so blessed with 201 prayer partners. Many have journeyed with us since 2013 and many are brand new. We believe in the power of prayer and would love for you to join us too. Click this link to join our prayer team, http://eepurl.com/DZf_D

We send out prayer requests and praises two times a month and just ask that you pray alongside us and the other 201 prayer partners. You will be blessed by getting to see God’s hand at work in our ministry. We also welcome prayer requests from you. We pray for our donors regularly and would love to add any prayer requests you have to the list. You can see one of our prayer boards hanging at C.A.R.E. Africa, in Egbe.

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Click this link to join our prayer team, http://eepurl.com/DZf_D.

When I found myself back in Canada after our time in Egbe Nigeria had ended, I found myself feeling a bit lost. 

My husband and I had ministered overseas for over 20 years. Those had been years filled with great blessings, and a few challenges. One of the greatest blessings for me was my involvement at C.A.R.E. Africa and Foundations Academy in Egbe. Each week I would find myself wrapping arms around both the kids and the staff. I loved walking into each classroom and coming alongside the educators that were so dedicated to their profession. I counted it a privilege to be called ‘Mommy Cindy’ and many were adopted as ‘my kids’. 

During my time at Egbe, I was introduced to Patrice Miles and Emma Salako. Patrice and Emma had a God-given dream for C.A.R.E. Africa. I watched and prayed during the early years as the Centre progressed and the desire for a school was birthed. I was thrilled when asked if I could teach/mentor at the School.

Knowing the staff and children by name became very important to me. It was so much fun going to Market and hearing my name called and kids would come running to the White Mommy with no fear.  

Late 2019 we found ourselves flying back across the ocean to Canada to settle back with our family, kids and grandchildren, but a part of my heart was left In Egbe.  

How I would miss this very special place! 

A few months after landing in the Great White North, I found myself asking ‘What Would You Have Me to Do?’ during my times with Jesus. C.A.R.E. Africa was still tugging at my heart. I kept praying…

    God does know the desire of our heart. 

Soon after praying, I received word from Patrice asking if I would consider doing Bi-Monthly calls with staff members with Foundations Academy Staff. I jumped right on this…Yes! 

It has been close to 2 years now, every other Thursday morning (providing we have good network) I have the PRIVILEGE of talking to a different staff member over WhatsApp.

We laugh, sing, cry, share struggles of being an educator in Nigeria and pray! Lately we have begun doing video chats, the calls always end with joyful tears as I get to see my fellow colleagues in Egbe. What joy. 

God does know the desire of our heart. 

When we returned to Canada, I had no idea how I could still be involved on a consistent basis with C.A.R.E. and Foundations Academy Egbe. 

God knew my desire and He answered.

Team Meetings

Posted: January 13, 2022 by Patrice Miles in C.A.R.E. Africa, Coaching, Egbe Nigeria, Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Patrice Miles

Team meetings at C.A.R.E. Africa are the core of our ministry. Weekly we have leadership meetings, staff meetings, caregiver meeting, prayer meetings and fellowship meetings. Some are on zoom, some are in Nigeria, some are in Louisville, KY.

You might be thinking, meetings, meetings, meetings….. sounds exhausting! When does anyone get anything done around there? With a consistent simple agenda our weekly team meetings restore confidence, clarity and camaraderie at C.A.R.E. Africa in one hour. Ok, maybe we go over the one hour every now and then! HAHA!

Since coming back to the U.S. in May of 2019, I have been working with nonprofits and small business to help them bring clarity and confidence to their vision. I have been helping others by using what I was taught through coaching in my real estate career and in my nonprofit. Why recreate the wheel when there are so many who have done it and got the t-shirt? Why live in chaos if you don’t have to?

God has given us all a vision for our lives and I love getting to help others grab that vision and make it a reality through systems, processes, budgets, profitability, vision, mission and care values.

If you are a nonprofit or small business owner anywhere in the world and are wanting someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of or ask questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am an open book! I know God has blessed me so I can bless others. Email me at patrice@icareafrica.org anytime.

Thank you so much to everyone that donated and shared our school building project to your friends and family on #GivingTuesday. We were able to raise $6,360 plus the $2,000 match from Jeff Maine at Proudly for a grand total of $8,360 of the $25,000 needed for our Phase 1 of the project. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

We cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus without amazing donors ready to support us! Thank you!

Today is the day! Educate a child, Educate a Nation! Help us educate a child by donating to Phase 1 of our school building project in Egbe, Nigeria on this day of generosity.

Click below to donate any amount so we can build our school for our kids at C.A.R.E. Africa.

10.5 million children in Nigeria are not in school per Unicef statistics. This is the highest population of out of school children in the world. Help us build a school in Egbe, Nigeria so our 78 vulnerable children can go to school in a safe and secure environment.

We currently rent a space and have outgrown it. 152 children attend our school and 78 of these children are on scholarships. We want each child to receive a quality education and in order to do that, we feel the child to teacher ratio needs to be low. We pride ourselves in the fact that our teacher to child ratio is 15 pupils per class. This means we cannot take as many children as we would like and so we have a waiting list of children begging to get an education. With the new school we will have more classrooms and can take more children.

We have the land we just need the buildings. The total building project cost is $250,000 of which Phase 1 is $25,000. This will allow us to start clearing the land, building the wall and digging the footers. Donate any amount to help us educate more children in Egbe, Nigeria! Click DONATE

Unleash your generosity in 1 week on #GivingTuesday.

Consider donating to the C.A.R.E. Africa school project. Pay Proudly has committed to match the first $2,000 given to the project so please pass this email along to everyone you know!

Help us build a school in Nigeria for our kids!