Jul 29, 2021

Timely Assistance to Vulnerable Families

The mother of Jax, the sponsored child, is originally from Vietnam and now a new resident of Taiwan. Jax's father died of illness when he was very young, leaving the mother and son by themselves. His mother remarried when Jax was in the third grade of elementary school, three of whom were starting a new family.

Although Jax lives with his mother and stepfather, Jax's stepfather refused to recognize Jax as part of the family member, and is not even willing to pay for Jax's living expenses. His mother has no choice but to rely on the income from selling traditional Vietnamese food to support the two of them.  

Life was tough but appeared to be still manageable under financial constraint situation.  However, this did not last too long before life was getting tougher and went off control. Jax's mother was diagnosed with cancer when Jax started middle school. The treatment process was undoubtedly difficult. The non-stop in and out of the hospital for treat resulted with the heavy medical expenses. Ultimately, his stepfather was unwilling to pay for Jax's mother’s medical expenses, the mother’s physical condition did not improve, on the contrary, was becoming weaker and weaker every day. She gradually was unable to work.  Witnessing the vulnerable mother and son, the school helped them reach out to Mustard Seed Community Network.  With the help from MSM fellow worker who helped Jax apply for a sponsorship service to help him financially, as well as offer continuous care and support to Jax and his mother. 

In April of this year, Jax's mother was still unable to survive the torture of illness and passed away.  Faced with the death of both parents, Jax became an orphan with no direct blood relatives left around him, while the relationship between himself and his stepfather is not harmonious. How could he carry on to continue for the rest of his life?  Such hardship is not supposed to be something that a high school students should worry about, but it happened to Jax.  Fortunately, the big uncle who lives in Penghu heard about Jax's misfortune and expressed his willingness to take care of Jax until he graduates from high school and becomes independent.  Another issue that Jax has to face alone is his mother's unpaid health insurance premiums as well as funeral expenses. 

As soon as the Mustard Seed Mission (MSM) learned the situation, it offered funeral condolence and the legal advice, so that Jax has a direction to lean to as well as receiving consultation service.  In addition, MSM helps connect other resources to take care of Jax's future challenges facing new chapter in life. We hope that with everyone's care and company, Jax will not feel alone embracing growing up and become independent.  

Volunteer worker discussing future plan with Jax

For families suffering with hardship long term, any additionally unexpected incidents are putting family members into further vulnerable situation. Under such circumstances, external support can effectively alleviate the burden on these families. The Mustard Seed Community Network is established mainly to take care of the needy families in the community nearby. Whenever someone in the community encounters an emergency at their home, MSM working partners often play the role of whistleblower.  Immediately, they conduct on-site visit for the needy family to learn more about the situation and extent of the emergency.  This will allow MSM working partners provide the precise assistant that suits families' needs care in a timely manner.

Jun 16, 2021

The Young Event Planning Experts

Due to the epidemic, the children in Agape Children's Home go out less. Due to the limited space available, teachers and students thought together to find out what kind of activities that everyone can participate in? This group of children decided to combine their interests with past activities; independently they organized competitions of singing, 3 on 3 basketball, snack making, and edited videos by themselves. From brainstorming the activities, setting procedures, preparing equipment, etc., the children went from clueless to orderly. They also anticipated emergencies and solutions in advance, and greatly improved their ability to respond and deal with sudden situations.

Dov, who loves singing, volunteered to host a singing competition even though he was only in the sixth grade of elementary school. The most memorable thing during the game was Wei, his good friend, nervously forgot the lyrics on stage! Wei, having stage fright already, was even more at a loss because of forgotten lyrics and wanted to keep up with the background music, however, there was no ridicule in the audience, instead, everyone cheered with "Come on Wei!", "Come on! You can do it!" and sang together, gradually alleviating Wei's nervousness. And then he remembered the lyrics smoothly, and continuing to complete the singing competition.

 
The children immersing in the singing competition. 

Jude, who likes to play basketball, is an enthusiastic 9th grader, so he organized a 3 on 3 basketball match, a 3-point shooting match, and added a playoff game of "Children vs. Teachers". The temperature on the day of the game was only 20 degrees Celsius, but due to the fierce competition on the field and the enthusiastic shouts of cheering on the side, the whole field felt a very high atmosphere!

 
The children warming up together before the basketball game.
 
The children engaging in an exciting game on the basketball court.

Shaun, who is a 9th grader, loves making desserts by himself, so Shaun decided to hold a dessert contest with the theme of "Orange". The children put oranges into various desserts. In addition to orange cakes, there are panna cotta, jelly, etc. They also use novel ideas to combine oranges with taro puree. The unexpected sweet and sour taste was amazing! With orange fruit carving as decoration, it presents an eye-catching plate. In addition, the young Shaun also has an interest in film production. Last year, the opening video of the Christmas event in the children's home was organized by him.

Shaun focusing on making orange desserts. 

Although it is impossible to participate in the rich outdoor activities this year as usual, but instead, they can personally complete the planning of activities from scratch in the children's home, as well as teamwork to help each other, bringing the children closer to each other, learning to grow and shaping a good and responsible personality is a process of full harvest.

After more than 60 years, Agape Children's Home has cultivated many small seeds along the way. It is hoped that every child will grow positively through diversified learning so that more small wings can fly smoothly in the sky in the future! 

Jun 16, 2021

Suspension can't stop the heart of exploration!

Since May, COVID-19 outbreaks in Taiwan. Till now, schools of all levels are closed. The children we serve in the community and childcare facilities, are now learning at home. Our annual summer challenge camp is proponed due to the pandemic. But the leaning continues. 

Children in Agape Children's Home are trying their best to enjoy their daily life at the children's home. They keep to challenge themselves by learning new things.

They skate.   
 
 They do their laundry.
 
 
They make dumplings. 
 
Once the pandemic wanes in Taiwan, the challenge camp will be rescheduled. Before the camp, the children continue their learning and exploration in life amid the pandemic.
Thank you so much for the support. 
 
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