Category Archives: The Children

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.

Dreams Fulfilled!

Before coming to Angels' Place, these children you see pictured would never have dreamed of becoming a teacher, a social worker, or a bank officer.  They knew well, without an education and support, it could never happen, so they pushed their dreams aside.  But just last month, they completed a career survey, the first step on a path toward fulfilling those buried dreams.

One of the most important things we do at Angels' Place is help the children become successful and productive members of their community.  Of course, providing a good foundational education is a big part of achieving that objective.  But that is just the beginning of what we do.  There is much happening inside the walls of Angels' Place you may not even be aware of - far beyond the basics of math and science.  Career counseling is just one example.

First, the children from classes 8-12 completed the survey to assess their personal strengths and interests.  In addition to obvious questions about their favorite subjects in school and extra-curricular activites, there were also questions like:  "What challenge excites you?" and "What impact do you want to have in the world?".   There were also questions designed to help counselors identify potential psychological and emotional barriers to their success so they might better guide them through these obstacles.  Once the surveys were complete, each individual child had a one-on-one counseling session to discuss their responses and help them develop some career goals suited to their unique interests and personality.  As of this date, counseling sessions for all children in classes 8-9 have been completed and upper grades are currently in process.

We are so proud of the many children of Angels' Place who have gone on to successfully pursue their dreams, to become productive healthy members of their community  - and the world.  But there are so many more still waiting for someone like you to open the door of opportunity for them.  To learn more about what you can do, visit our Ways to Help page today.

Angel of the Week: Lal

About the Angel of the Week Project: From 2014-2019 we featured stories about some of the amazing children living at Angels' Place. Each child received a special recognition presented personally by Jan, our founder, when he visited the orphanage the following year. The children were delighted when they were chosen to tell their story!

The first Angel we want you to meet is Lal, a cheerful young boy who dreams of being a scientist one day.

You see, Lal loves animals and he wants to help protect them.  He also knows it takes hard work and a good education to achieve this goal.  It was an impossible dream two years ago before he arrived at Angels' Place.  Today, thanks to his sponsors and the loving support of the caregivers at the orphanage, he dares to consider such a path.

Two years ago, before Lal lost his father to cancer, he was living with his family in a small poor village near the border of Burma (Myanmar).  Food was scarce and Lal remembers often being sick from malnourishment.  Things were pretty bad.  They became even worse when his father passed away and his mother was left with no source of income.   She had no choice but to give up her son.  He had dreams and she could barely feed him let alone get him the education he deserved.

Flash forward to 2019 and Lal is thriving at Angels' Place and talking about his future in a way he would never consider before.  He loves to read and play with his new friends.  The caregivers know him as "a cheerful boy with good leadership qualities".  Most importantly, he is getting the education he needs to pursue his dream of becoming a scientist and helping animals.  His dreams are no longer just the wishful imaginings of a poor destitute child.  Today, thanks to the James Connection, they hold real possibilities and he has the support he needs to make them come true.

There are hundreds of children, just like Lal, on the waiting list to get into Angels' Place.  Children with big dreams but no resources to realize their true potential.  Won't you consider helping one?  Visit our Ways to Help page if you want to learn how.

To read more stories about the children living at Angels' Place, click on "Angel of the Week" under Categories to the right of this page.