Archive for the ‘Missionaries’ Category

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!

precious

 

Facebook_ A Global Day of Unity (1)

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/.

“There are so many opportunities to serve here in Egbe that would really make a difference and nobody really knows.” This was the topic of conversation when I visited Egbe a few weeks ago. Since I left Egbe, Nigeria in 2017 for Jos, Nigeria, the ministries there have been growing as fast if not faster than C.A.R.E. Africa. It was amazing to see them all a few weeks ago and hear the needs. From teachers, music instructors, medical doctors and nurses, to robotics, auto mechanics and construction the needs are plenty.

As I was putting together the C.A.R.E. Africa flyer for the Mobilizing Medical Missions conference I am attending in Houston this week, I was encouraged to share with you the opportunities to serve in Egbe short term and long term. See the list below and please tell everyone you know that God can use the gifts he has given them to make a difference in this small town of Egbe, Nigeria. Email me for more information at patrice.miles@sim.org.

Pray for our team from C.A.R.E. Africa and also ECWA Hospital Egbe this weekend as we scout out Houston at the M3 Mobilizing Medical Missions Conference for volunteers wanting to answer the call of Matthew 28:19 to go and make a difference.

                                                                    
C.A.R.E. Africa
Nurse Educator
ElementarySchool Teachers & Trainers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECWA Hospital Egbe
Family Medicine Physician 
Ophthalmologist
Dentist
Physical Therapist

Anesthetist & Nurse Anesthetist
OBGYN Specialty Surgeons
Physician Assistant
Hospital Administrator
Construction Manager
Maintenance Manager
Electrician
Plumber
Auto Mechanic
Hospitality Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

Centenary Computer Center & Music Academy
Music Instructors
Art Instructors
Computer Teachers
Hardware Engineering
Robotics Teachers
Stem Advisor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fulani Bush Camps
Elementary School Teachers & Trainers

Words and pictures cannot describe the fruitfulness of our 1st trip of 2020. God used all of us and the gifts he has given us to encourage all the kids, caregivers and staff at C.A.R.E. Africa and Foundations Academy. Take a peak below and pray about joining us on my next trip in June. Email me at patrice.miles@sim.org for more details.

books donation 2Starting January 2020, our school started an after school reading program. Many of our children are behind in reading due to lack of an education or the quality of the education they were receiving before they came to us. A few days after starting the reading program we received a call from the hospital that we had boxes to pick up that had come on the last container shipped from the USA. We were so encouraged and surprised to find a large donation of children’s books!

afterschoolThe next day our staff went through all the books. There were so many that we are having more shelving built for the library. The icing on the cake was that there were multiples of the same books. This may not sound like anything special, but for us it was! Now, at the after school reading program, all the kids can have the same book and read along as others read. This will help speed up their reading and comprehension skills as they are able to follow along and not just have to listen or read on their own.

We are so grateful for this donation and encourage anyone and everyone that has books they would like taken off their hands. We will take them!! Email patrice.miles@sim.org.

In less than a month, I will be headed back to Nigeria with a team of servants going to help make a difference in the lives of so many kids, teachers and staff. It is always overwhelming to put together the schedules for the team. I wonder how each team members gifts can be best utilized in our ministry. I alway want everyone to have the best experience and to leave Egbe, Nigeria forever changed. I am challenged to not just make it about the experience but to also make sure that my staff on the ground are encouraged and inspired. This isn’t an easy task and only with the Lord’s help can all the pieces fall in place for a team with so many gifts and talents. 

Meet the team!

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Stephen and Diana Beville from Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Diana and Stephen visited Egbe, Nigeria in 2014 before C.A.R.E. Africa had started. They helped us put together the new pharmacy at ECWA Hospital Egbe. Stephen is a solution architect with GE and Diana runs our C.A.R.E. Africa markets while also working part time as a career consultant for people with disabilities. Since their last visit they have helped me put together the U.S. C.A.R.E. Africa legal side with accounting, board meetings, taxes and 5013c status. They also started the C.A.R.E Africa markets and our Etsy store. Diana visited us again in Jos, Nigeria in 2018 to run our children’s program at our SIM Spiritual Life Conference. They will be serving in our new seamstress program, documenting our Caregiver cooperative initiative and doing interviews with C.A.R.E. families. 

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Kathy Matheny from Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Kathy is the President of Cardinal Planning & Design. Her company did our land surveys years ago when Lenny and I were in construction building homes. They have been supporters of our ministry in Nigeria and now Kathy is excited to see what she has been investing in. This will be her first visit to Egbe, Nigeria. She will help lead worship at AWANA, teach elective classes, serve in the library at the school and assist with interviews.

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Michael Beaumont from Bluffton, South Carolina.

 

Michael is the lead pastor at Live Oak Christian Church. His last visit to Egbe was in 2014. This will be his fourth trip to Egbe. He is the Pastor at Live Oak Christian Church. He will be leading a one day retreat for the C.A.R.E. Africa staff through a curriculum he created called Leading  Healthy.  In addition he will help with AWANA, our Sports Outreach and our weekly staff devotional and caregiver meetings.  He will assist me with looking at land options for C.A.R.E. Africa’s new center.

 

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Scott Beebe from Bluffton, South Carolina

Scott is the founder of My Business on Purpose and helped C.A.R.E. Africa create our vision, mission, values and goals. He helped us document our practices and coached us through the stages of his model to get us to where we are today. He will be joining the team to do leadership training, serve at AWANA and Sports Outreach, assist Michael at our one day retreat and visit all his old friends as he is a native of Egbe, Nigeria and has visited too many times to count.

We are so excited to see what God is going to do with and through this team.

We need your help!!

We would love to take any of the following items with us when we go.

  1. New or Used Soccer Balls in good condition.
  2. Used Laptops in good condition.
  3. First Aid Kits
  4. Board Games
  5. Used Playstation.
  6. Overcomer Movie
  7. National Geographic Magazines/Science Magazines.
  8. Bibles.
  9. Cake Pans all sizes.
  10. Muffin Pans regular size.
  11. Clothing and shoes starting at size 5T and up to Men’s and Women’s small sizes.
  12. Monetary donations would also help us purchase needed items and/or cover any baggage fees. Any monetary donations can be given to our general fund atgive.icareafrica.org or checks can be made payable to CARE Africa and mailed. Email me at patrice.miles@sim.org for our mailing address.

You can Email me at patrice.miles@sim.org with any local donations I can pick up or I can give you a shipping address. 

Whatever your title -teacher, mom, CEO, wife, business owner, friend, leader, sister, pastor, husband or father…do you ever feel unequipped and think God totally picked the wrong person for the job?

When I first got back to the U.S. in May I knew my role with my ministries was going to look much different. I needed to learn to speak at events and churches, network with people and businesses and create awareness of what God is doing in Egbe, Nigeria. I begged God to help me become that person who can engage a room full of people in easy conversations.  I watched Ted talks on public speaking and tried to do what they did but I sucked at it. I would get mad at myself for not being able to be a great advocate for C.A.R.E. Africa and our other ministries. What is wrong with me? Then one day I read a blog about a teenager who didn’t meet the criteria for the job.

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She was Young, Inexperienced, Simple, had no Training, Poor, and a Virgin!

But…… God chose her to be Jesus’ mother. Her willingness was the only qualification she had.. Luke 1:38a, b: “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’”

Mary had every reason to feel unequipped, yet she was told she was chosen and she only had one question: “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34, NIV)

The angel Gabriel in Luke 1:35-37 reminds her that what seems impossible to her is absolutely possible with God.

I look around and see amazing nonprofits run at such a professional level. I continue to think they are so much more qualified than I am…. I don’t even have a college degree!

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But I am reminded this Christmas season that all God wanted from Mary was her willingness and that is  all he wants from me too. He has given me all the gifts necessary to be a great mom, sister, friend, daughter, wife, advocate for my kids, staff and caregivers in Nigeria, marketing manager, child sponsorship manager, missions trip leader, speaker, fundraiser, CEO and whatever other role necessary.  I just needed to lift my willingness up to Him and let Him help me be the best version of me.

Are you feeling unequipped for the role you are in?  Should God have picked someone else for the job? Well you should know that God loves to show off and take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through them.

God doesn’t want us to perform for him. He simply wants us to say “YES” to Him.

When you see the manger scene this Christmas, look at Mary and be reminded of her “YES”. Lift up your willingness in all areas of your life –  at work, in ministry, at home,  with family, friends and neighbors. Let’s make our greatest desire in the New Year to be all God has called us to be and nothing more.

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“So, Patrice, what do you do all day?” “Oh, I just sit around all day eating bonbons!”  HAHA! Since moving back to the states this has become the number one question people ask me. I can’t give them a quick or short answer. Should I show them everything on my to do list that I have completed or all that I still have to complete?  Should I get my calendar out and show all the people and places I have visited or are scheduled to visit?  Running a nonprofit and having responsibility for over 100 people (60 children, 50 caregivers and 23 employees) that live halfway across the world is inherently difficult. Not to mention the six hour time difference.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 5.16.32 PMIn Nigeria, I employed house help and a driver as part of the ministry to give people jobs. This allowed me to work all day on C.A.R.E. Africa and have my evenings and weekends free for family and Sabbath time. In the US I still get to focus on ministry during the day, but nights and weekends have turned into cleaning, cooking, shopping and driving kids around…… Welcome to America most of you would say!

Sabbath is how I refuel. Not the 30-minute rushed devotional in the morning but spending an entire day sitting at his feet and breathing him in. Without it, I am running on empty and when someone asks me “So, what do you do all day” – I get annoyed. This annoyance is a red flag that my heart is not in the right place and I need some time with the Lord.

This past Sunday I scheduled a Sabbath on my calendar because I knew it was the only way it would happen. During that time God showed me my need for approval from people in order to feel good about myself. When people ask me “What do you do all day?” it makes me feel judged -like I am not doing enough. I am not blogging enough, emailing enough, meeting enough people and not sharing the C.A.R.E. Africa story enough.  Otherwise, people would know what I do all day and wouldn’t have to ask. In my quiet time God gave me Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

nice-happy-thanksgiving-day-wallpapers-1024x768In one week it will be American Thanksgiving Day. Odds are you will be around some well-meaning family members who might ask “So, what do you do all day or when are you going to get married or find a better job “ – other people’s expectations as to what you should or should not be doing in life. Remember who you are and whose you are! You have already met the approval of the only One that matters!  So sit down, take a breath and enjoy this holiday. God loves you unconditionally always!