I Miss My Mom

I miss my mom. She died last year when I was over in Haiti. No one exemplified James 1:27 more than the life of Helen Jones. I am who I am because of her. She gave me an example, encouraged me, and helped me in every phase of my life. More than anything I want to honor her with my life and work.

When she died, a lot of people made donations to CRF in her memory. I love flowers, but I really like CRF even more. And with the money given a school was built on Mt. Elgon in Kenya. David Marangach thought it was a great idea to remember my mom with this building on the campus of Milton Simotweet School. And I can’t think of a better memorial for her legacy than a place for perhaps the world’s most needy children to get an education and learn about Jesus.

As I was a little melancholy today with the absence of my mom, I also was smiling when I saw these pictures of the school and some of the children who would be attending there. There couldn’t be a better tribute for my mom. There’s nothing that she would have loved more than helping these precious children. It’s kind of like a part of her lives on in this area of Africa.

I think CRF does a good job with memorials. I have always believed that—but when I faced grief firsthand—I really became convinced that we provide a good service in the help of healing.

You may have seen all the memorials on the back of our newsletter. If you aren’t familiar with them, you can send a donation in your loved one’s memory when they pass away. We will notify the family with a nice memorial card and use the donation to help children around the world. Other people do the same things with honor gifts to recognize people who are still alive.

One of the greatest needs at CRF is for buildings for our children around the world. We take care of the needs of children with the $35 a month—but it won’t cover buildings needing to be built.

But maybe you will want to make a donation to build a building in their memory like we did for my mom. Or you could even drill a water well in someone’s memory.

I am so pleased with what happened in the life of my mother and how she will be honored for a long time in the future. And I wanted to share this experience in case one of you wants to do something similar in the future.

Thanks for remembering my mom. She was the best!!

Did They Cheat?

No, they didn’t.

It’s not quite “Deflategate,” but it is quite a controversy over in Nairobi and Eldoret, Kenya.

In Kenya, students must take a national exam to move forward in their education and show the quality of their education. As you can imagine, this puts all kinds of pressure not only on students but also on schools. And so much of the educational system revolves around the preparation for these tests.

Suzy Peacock is our high school outside of Eldoret, Kenya. More has been invested in this school than any educational center in CRF history. It has existed for only four years, yet it is one of the best schools in Kenya as you will see in our big dispute.

What happened? Educational authorities in Nairobi have accused Suzy Peacock of cheating. Why? They made the highest scores in the country on their national exams. They were much better than anyone else. So what did the system conclude? They must have stolen the national exam and had it in advance to do so well on the test.

But they didn’t. They are just that smart. I’m so proud of these students. Just a few years ago so many of them were AIDS orphans simply hoping to go to school. The odds were stacked against them, and they didn’t have much of a chance to have the funds to go to school. Even if they did, they wouldn’t get into a good school because of their background.

But they were sponsored. Suzy Peacock was built. And now the best of the best are these kids from the slum. And when you look for premiere schools, you can think of CRF.

We are sure that the truth will be discovered. Our kids are intelligent. Our kids are honest. And if they take the test again, they will still be at the top.

MacAnthony—Liberian Legend

Croezerville (pronounced Cruiser-Ville) sounds like a drive-in in a 50s movie. But it is anything but a place of fond nostalgia or glee. No, the memories are bad—and the present has not been much better.

In the past, Charles Taylor invaded this area of Liberia cutting people’s arms off and kidnapping children to make them child soldiers and terrorists. In recent years, it has been known for the Ebola epidemic that has killed so many and left numbers of orphans.

MacAnthony Siaker is the director of the CRF program in Croezerville. He knows what it is like to live in poverty and bad situations. MacAnthony’s father had three wives and was a farmer. He was able to get his kids into school—but just barely. Yes, MacAnthony and his siblings were the only children in school without shoes. There was a prize for being the best student. It was $25. And MacAnthony won the money every year. That’s how he completed his education.

With a bad economy and impending war, schools were closed all over Liberia. In 1992, MacAnthony left Monrovia with 60 homeless and unschooled children to go to the countryside near Croezerville. All he had was two bags of rice. It only lasted three days. That’s when his wife left him.

And then things got worse. A war happened.

When Charles Taylor invaded Liberia, he was after these children. He wanted them for his army. He wanted to make them killers. They surrounded the walls of our CRF facility ready to attack.

MacAnthony climbed the wall and yelled at them, “In the Name of the Lord—Outside!” And that’s exactly where they remained. They left. And not one child was taken. Not one rebel came inside. MacAnthony became a legend.

And then came Ebola. 

MacAnthony saw teachers at his school die, and new orphans emerged. Today, he is 58. He still sleeps at the children’s home on the floor. He is the only parent most of these 150+ children will ever know. He is the school principal, but refuses to take a salary.

He is simply glad to save children.

And now there’s finally some good news. The war is over. There haven’t been any new cases of Ebola lately. And new kids are coming to join MacAnthony’s dream. Yes, we are building a new school in Croezerville.

Deaf children from all over Liberia and Sierra Leone have been abandoned with no place to go and no hope for schooling. Christian Relief Fund has a great school in Monrovia run by Emmanuel Jacobsen. They just don’t have a school building or a good place to live. But that is about to change. MacAnthony has invited these kids to Croezerville so they can also meet in the new building we are building there. And four new dorms are about to be built for children from MacAnthony’s ministry and Emmanuel’s work.

In Liberia, there is a slogan that fits well the vision of Croezerville:
“IT IS BETTER TO BUILD CHILDREN THAN TO REPAIR MEN”

Coming Full Circle

They have the same last name. They have the same journey. They have the same occupations. And now they are doing the same thing. And they are right back where they started.

The stories of Samson and Samuel Methari (no kin just the same name) start and end with CRF.

I don’t have a “before” picture of Samuel, but the one of Samson is priceless.

CRF started in India. A few years after it began, Samson (the shirtless boy in the old photo) was brought to our children’s home. He was poor and had no food to eat. He came with his sister (to his left) who was also blind.

Not long after this, a little destitute girl named Jyothi also arrived at the home. Together they learned about the Lord, grew up in our children’s home, received an education and eventually became husband and wife. Samson was one of the earliest sponsored children at CRF and was sponsored by Dale & Sharon Blevins of Sand Springs, OK.

Samuel Methari was born just one year after Baxter Loe started CRF in India. Samuel grew up in poverty in Kuncharam. Similarly, he had no food to eat when he was brought to our CRF home in Tandoor. He grew up as a Hindu before converting to Christianity after living in the CRF home. And he met Subodha. They have now been married for 35 years. Samuel was sponsored by Ed and Milly Cameron of Milsap, Texas.

How did they come full circle? Both Samuel and Samson became lawyers. And both Samuel and Samson became preachers. And now both Samuel and Samson decided to go home. They wanted to go back to where they started. They are now house parents at two of our works—the Ruby Nell Cottage and the Dale Hunt and Bray Clarry Cottage.

People ask me all the time what happens after the children leave a CRF program. Sometimes, they come home.

Here are a couple of pictures of the families of Samson (left) and Samuel (right).

I don’t know if they are not smiling because of cultural reasons, because they are lawyers, or because they are preachers. But on the inside, they are really joyful people who have come full circle and are bringing joy to children who are like they used to be.

They understand what Jesus said—
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Sponsor a Child Today!

2015 Year End Letter

2015 was a great year!  If you haven’t read our Annual Report yet, you can find it here.

Here is a year end letter from our President Milton Jones.

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CRF President Milton Jones

When it is all said and done, CRF is all about the children.

We sponsor children in about 20 different countries and help in nearly 30 countries. We have 86 different CRF works around the world. We sponsor 6,805 children in a full-time capacity but help many thousand more through feeding, disaster relief and providing education.

By the time we reached 2015, bringing clean water became one of the major ministries of CRF. This has happened because of the incredibly generous gift of a rig to drill deep wells, matching funds for wells to reduce the cost by over half (our costs went from $20,000 to $5,000 because of these matches), and the gifts of so many donors to provide water. Our gracious matching donors have pledged to continue to match gifts for water wells in 2016. We are planning to drill a well in Kenya every week in 2016. That will be a few more than we drilled in 2015. My dream is to get to two a week before the year is over. We expanded our drilling in 2015 and began helping in Haiti and Nicaragua also.

We never know where the next disaster will be, but we know we will be there. In 2015 we helped primarily in relief in the Philippines, Nepal and with Syrian refugees. Many needs will continue in these places in the future. But we will be prepared to help any place where there is a need. I have been so impressed with the CRF disaster response team led by Chito Cusi. They arrive quickly and help compassionately with medical needs, counseling, construction and sharing the good news.

We have also been doing the best job ever in monitoring, training and visiting our workers on the field. Bobby Moore has been all over the world in 2015 to personally make sure that all of our CRF works are meeting our core values. If you have been to one of our works, chances are you have been with Bobby.

On the other front, Linda Purdy continues to manage the internal side of CRF and make sure that our operations, finances, and donor relations stay strong. With so many children on the field, you can imagine how difficult it is to manage all the works at home. We are so thankful for her great abilities and commitment.

And if you ever hear anything about CRF or from us—it is because of Andrew Brown. No one could help us stay connected more or in a more beautiful way than Andrew. I don’t know anyone more talented. And he keeps the water ministry flowing from this side of the world too.

What a great staff CRF has in the U.S. and around the world. I can’t mention them all, but I know they bless you. And the reason you might not of heard of some of them is because with CRF staff—It’s all about the children!

Maybe what we do best can be seen through the eyes of one child—even the haunting eyes of Evans. Evans was a war orphan on Mount Elgon in Kenya. He had witnessed his parents executed before his own eyes. He had no one to take care of him. So he wandered on the mountainside with hundreds of other kids—malnourished and deathly ill. But then Evans was sponsored by Shelly Moore when we started a new work on Mt. Elgon near a gigantic Simotweet tree. He started getting good food every day. And we built a new school through the generosity of donors (and even memorials to honor my mother who died—nothing would please her more). We couldn’t drill a well so we piped water from a spring higher up on the mountain. And we even got Evans a place to sleep. A church was planted at the site so Evans now believes in Jesus.

But even all of this wasn’t enough. He needed help with the trauma of seeing his parents killed in front of him. We now provide grief counseling for the children there. But Evans couldn’t get well. So with generous gifts, Evans was hospitalized to deal with his health problems. Penina Kamoet, one of our directors, never left his side during the whole ordeal. What’s the end of the story?

Evans is healthy, a good student, and loves Jesus! Even his countenance has changed as you can see.

Thanks for helping CRF! You gave more money than ever before. You helped more children this year than ever before.

“THANKS A TRILLION TIMES!”  -  Milton Jones