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An Update from Angels’ Place

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As many of you know, the Covid pandemic has taken a heavy toll on India recently, and we know that, like us, you are concerned about the children and staff of Angels’ Place. We have been in regular communication with the staff during this challenging time and are writing to share the latest news with you.

First, while the pandemic has impacted India severely, the region where Angels’ Place is located has been spared the worst ravages of this terrible disease. Angels’ Place is in a relatively remote part of India, the eastern state of Manipur, and it is a small comfort that of the many states in India, Manipur has felt the effects of the pandemic far less than others.

At present, India is offering Covid vaccinations to individuals over the age of 45, and all Angels’ Place staff over 45 have been vaccinated. The next round of vaccinations will focus on individuals over 18, and Angels’ Place maintains contact with health professionals who will alert them when those vaccines become available.

Because of the rapid spread of Covid, Angels’ Place has returned to the most restrictive lockdown with no visitors allowed on campus. Any staff member who travels off campus must sanitize and have his or her temperature taken upon return. All of the children are confined to the campus and off-campus activities have been suspended for their protection, and all schools in India have closed. The staff has contacted guardians, informing them of the lockdown and asking them to confine all communications to telephone calls. Their temperatures are monitored regularly, they wash their hands frequently, and they sanitize their spaces. If necessary, local health facilities can provide Covid testing – though no child has exhibited any symptoms to date.

The staff is working hard to keep the children active, with ongoing opportunities for body, mind and spirit – and we have accompanied this update with some recent images of their activities. Angels’ Place continues to receive the supplies necessary to ensure that all children eat well during this time, but unfortunately, the costs have increased. We thank you for your generous contributions that have helped these children through such a frightening time, and please know that your continuing support helps us to keep pace with the shifting conditions.

We ask for your prayers for the children and staff of Angels’ Place, and for all the people of India, as they face the Covid pandemic.

Spotlight Volunteer Ann McCamy

Ann McCamy joined the James Connection volunteer team in early 2020. Inspired by the relationship her sons had with their sponsored child, she wanted to help facilitate more of those precious connections. So she took on the rewarding, though often daunting, job of managing our bi-annual letter drive.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing the letters going back and forth”, reports Ann. “I'm especially touched by exchanges between kids here in the U.S. and kids in India. It's just really sweet to see children who are just learning how to write make this kind of effort to communicate with someone they will never meet face-to-face.”

Yes, Ann is the one who works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure every child at Angels’ Place gets a letter, even if she has to write some herself. She also recruits volunteers, like her aging home-bound neighbor, to fill in the gaps when sponsors don’t write. “Grandma Evelyn”, as her neighbor is fondly known, is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve and was overjoyed to receive her own special letter from an older child she had written this past year. For Ann, these moments of sweet connection make the challenges worth while.

From her own personal experience as a sponsor, Ann understands how meaningful these letters can be, not only for her family but the children in India as well. “The smiles tell the story”, she says, recalling pictures of the children beaming with joy as they hold their newly delivered letter like it was a precious treasure.

Ann wants sponsors to remember, “It’s a beautiful thing to provide financial support, but also realize that the photo on the fridge is a real child who would love to build a relationship with a real person in America who cares for them. Writing a letter really doesn't take a lot of time, but it means a lot to your child.”

Our next letter drive is coming up in August. If you are a sponsor, please, consider taking just a few minutes to write your child. You will surely make his or her day! You don't even have to wait until August. Write anytime you feel the inspiration and we will hold your letter to send when the batch goes to India.

If you are not yet a sponsor and want to learn how to become one, visit our Ways to Help > Sponsor Page for more information.

A Letter from Sawmi

Sawmi is one of our greatest success stories! Read her personal testimony below of how her life has been transformed by the work we do at Angels' Place.

Hello Everyone!

As the day for my college graduation is getting closer, I would like to thank everyone of you who has been with me through this journey. Without the help of each of you, I would not be where I am today. I would like to tell you all how grateful I am for everything you have done. Also, I would like to tell you a bit about my time here at Ohio Valley University as well my plans for the future.

I will graduate from OVU on the 8th of May, 2021 with a BA in Business. I am fortunate to have the love and support of my sponsors the Minsker Family, who will be by my side to witness the fruit of their investment in me over the past few years. They have been there for every important moment of my college life. This achievement is not just my achievement alone. I share my success with every person who supports the work of James Connection.

After graduation I plan to pursue my MBA at Oklahoma Christian University with a focus on either Human Resource Management or Health Care Administration. I will be working hard to prepare myself for future job placement. My long-term goal is to start an organization to help my community in India and Angels’ Place where I was raised. However, right after college, I will be looking for a job more in line with my degree so I can gain practical experience first.

I’ve had my share of challenges over the past four years. Everything was new for me. New friends, new food, new language, and different studies. I had to switch my major several times to find the right fit for my interests and passions and finally decided on Business. With time, I’ve made good friends and learned to adapt to all the new things. Through the process, I learned a lot about life and people and I’ve grown into a more mature and understanding person.

I love being involved in campus life. During my time at OVU, I was part of the Student Government Association, Steppingstone Student Chapter, Alpha Chi, the Social Club, and with my best friend’s encouragement, a club called Kappa. Being part of these groups, I have learned a lot about friendship and college life. I’ve grown to appreciate how much the university helps us, as students, grow spiritually. I also became aware that many international students did not get involved in social activities on campus. They didn’t have a place where they could build friendships on a deeper level, learn about each other’s cultures, and support each other while being far away from family and loved ones. So, during my Junior year, with the help of our International Director, Sally Massy (who was like a mother to every international student), I started a new club for International students within the larger Social Club. Being able to do that for all my international friends is one of my proudest achievements and brought me great happiness.

I know deep down in my heart, no matter what I do with my life, God had a purpose for me by bringing me to the United States and OVU. I want to continue to use my voice to make the world a better place. Above everything, I am excited and looking forward to how God will shape me and use me for his purpose in the months and years to come.

Love,
Sawmi

The Children are Back!

We are happy to report that the children have returned to Angels’ Place. Throughout the months of quarantine, Angels’ Place provided rice and dal to the families of the children, so that they would have nourishment while away from the orphanage. Their return has progressed gradually, and as we wrote earlier, the older children came back first in order to resume school as soon as possible. The younger children have now also returned, and Angels’ Place now has 145 children, who all are eating well, learning, and receiving regular health monitoring.

Angels’ Place continues to observe public health protocols. Students and staff wear masks at all times, practice disciplined hand washing, and maintain social distancing. The children's temperatures are taken regularly to monitor for any signs of fever. Also, admittance to the grounds is restricted and closely monitored. The Coronavirus has not significantly affected the area of India where Angels’ Place is located, which is relatively rural and remote, and this is a significant blessing. We remain in constant communication with the staff, and they report that the children are healthy and active.

The James Connection continues to work hard on behalf of all aspects of supporting the children at Angels’ Place. The production of lemongrass remains ongoing, and DoTerra continues to purchase the lemongrass oil. Members of the team in both the U.S. and India are also investigating ways to expand our service to the children as they transition into adulthood. Angels’ Place has steadily built programs in vocational training to provide job skills and prepare the older children as they begin their independent lives, and we look forward to growing these efforts.

Throughout the time of the quarantine, Angels’ Place staff have maintained the facility and kept in contact with the children, to ensure their well-being. We thank all of our supporters for making it possible to sustain operations, provide food to the children, and nurture their health, education, and spirit through this difficult time. These children all had great needs before the pandemic, and your generosity has made it possible for us to help see them through the additional strain of a health crisis. Your sponsorship has kept them fed and kept the orphanage in excellent condition to welcome them on their return.

If you would like to learn more about the many ways to support our work, visit our Ways to Help page.