Winter Jam Off to a Great Start

Winter Jam 2010, a concert tour featuring Christian artists like: Newsboys, Third Day, and hosted by Newsong, continues to be a major force in raising awareness and support for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children overseas.

The tour, so far, has seen many generous and caring people make the decision to help a child through Holt International’s sponsorship program, and the tour still has 2 full months of touring dates left.   Speaker, Tony Nolan, has offered hope and helped pave the way for orphaned and abandoned children to be given the assistance they desperately need.

A recent newsstory from Urban Christian News reports on Winter Jam 2010’s record-breaking start.   Also, see locations and venues for  remaining concerts and sign up to volunteer to help concert-goers as they select children to sponsor.

Urban Christian News:

Following the first six dates, Christian music’s largest annual tour, the Winter Jam 2010 Tour Spectacular, has kicked-off with the highest average attendance in its 15-year history. Launching January 8 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Winter Jam has seen nearly 63,000 attendees to date, an average spike of more than 9% from last year, making history for the Tour franchise. Concerts at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, each drew crowds in excess of 13,000. In addition, Winter Jam has facilitated 1,401 sponsorship commitments to adoption and child welfare organization Holt International, to help meet the needs of orphaned children around the world. Continue reading “Winter Jam Off to a Great Start”

Help For the People of Haiti

Holt is assisting Children and Families affected by the devastating Earthquake

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday saw children and families, already starving and impoverished, left with nothing. Holt is now in Haiti helping to assist the children and families who are struggling to survive in this broken country.

Although communication with our staff in Haiti continues to be difficult and there are still many unknowns, we have learned from Holt-Haiti Director, Mansour Masse that the 30 children being cared for at Holt Fontana Village are “OK.”  Holt has been in Haiti since 2004 and the Village, located about 40 miles North of Port-au-Prince, is home to children waiting to go home to their permanent families in the United States.

“We are profoundly grateful the children and staff in our center are safe,” said Holt President and CEO, Kim Brown. “We still do not have an assessment of the 120 families in our Family Preservation program, and we are doing all we can to determine their safety.”

Christian music group and Holt advocate, Julian Drive, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip when the earthquake hit. The group has now safely made it home to the United States.

“As we flew away and looked over the devastated city,” said Shane Bowers. “I could not help but have a huge burden in my heart for those left behind that are now forced to try and reassemble a life that was already so broken to start with. God help the people of Haiti.”

Before departing Haiti, the group did whatever they could to help in this dire situation and be an encouragement to the frightened children at Holt Fontana Village. They put on a concert for the children in the Village and the surrounding community and brought a little brightness into the lives of the families who have lost so much. Continue reading “Help For the People of Haiti”

Holt’s Longchuan Project

Children in Holt’s Longchuan project in China were able to stay in school and many of them were able to remain with their families thanks to help from Holt Sponsors and generous donors.

The children, many of whom have lost one or both their parents to AIDS, received school uniforms, shoes, school bags, supplies and nutritious school meals. In some areas the children were also provided with health insurance and mosquito netting to prevent malaria.

Initiated in March 2007 as a way to expand services to children and families at risk due to poverty or impacted by HIV/AIDS, the Longchuan project works in partnership with local schools and teachers. The goal is to provide children with the opportunity to remain with their families and continue their education. Because of generous Sponsors, Holt has helped 325 children in the Longchuan project.

Sponsor a Child Today!

A Precious Gift from God

Adopting a Waiting Child

by Brett Foley

My wife Cheryl and I adopted our sons, Alexander and Benjamin, from South Korea, and in 2006 we decided to adopt through Holt International’s China program.

Cheryl had wanted to adopt a daughter from China since at least 2004, and she had an ally in our daughter, Leah, who had been praying for a little sister for quite some time. They finally got me on board, and we got started on the long road of adoption again. When we received and scanned over the big red book that explained Holt’s China adoption process we were a little overwhelmed. Adopting from China looked a lot more difficult than adopting from Korea.

We started in the standard China program but also decided to be in the Waiting Child program simultaneously. It proved to be a good choice. If we had only been in the standard program, we would still be waiting (possibly years) longer for just a child referral. So our road wasn’t as long as it might have been.

We traveled to China to receive Jenna in 2007 when she was 3 years old. Born with a cleft palate and large birthmark on the right side of her face and neck, Jenna had been abandoned in Shennong Park when she was 1 month old. The cleft palate had already been surgically repaired in China before we received her. Continue reading “A Precious Gift from God”

Julian Drive Makes it Home

Holt is happy to report that Shane Bowers, and other members of the Christian music group, Julian Drive,  have made it safely back to the United States.

The group, along with Holt Director of Donor engagement, Kris Thompson, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit.  In the days that followed, they did whatever they could to reach out to the Haitian children and families in the local community who were devastated by this terrible tragedy.  This included spending some time at the Holt Fontana Village, where they were able to play with and comfort the children in care there.

The group also put on a concert for the children in the village and the surrounding community, bringing a little brightness into the lives of the families who have lost so much.

The team made it to the airport on Friday and witnessed many pallets of relief products being unloaded from planes.

“As we flew away and looked over the devastated city,” said Shane Bowers.  “I could not help but have a huge burden in my heart for those left behind that are now forced to try and reassemble a life that was already so broken to start with. God help the people of Haiti.”

Click here to read another blog entry from Shane Bowers

Heartbreaking times in Haiti

Kris Thompson, Holt’s Director of Donor Engagement, was in Haiti along with Christian music group, Julian Drive, when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon. The following is Kris’ account of that day.

By Kris Thompson, Director of Donor Engagement

Monstrouis, Haiti—We are 40 miles from Port-au-Prince so we really felt the quake, and the aftershocks have been very intense. There is major panic amongst The Haitians, as they have never experienced anything like this before. Our group had just gotten out of our vehicle at the hotel when it hit. The car was shaking in all different directions, and I am amazed that the wall we were next to didn’t come down. As we looked up at the mountains, we witnessed major rockslides in the area we were supposed to travel to that day.

We could tell it was a major earthquake, and Eric and I both said we thought it was a 7 or 8 magnitude. We told everyone to try their cell phones and go online to get word to the families that we were OK. As soon as the send button was pushed we lost all access.

Most of the people in our hotel slept outside last night, and we all stayed in our rooms with evacuation plans. The last major tremor I felt was at 12:15 a.m. actually strong enough to get me out of bed. The hotel and Holt Fontana Village survives on generators so our access to TV, computers etc. are limited, and the phones were not working.

The Holt Fontana Village in Montrouis didn’t have any damage, and Holt-Haiti Director, Mansour Masse, reported that the beautiful children are all OK and took it in stride. The caregivers stay at Holt Fontana Village during the week to care for the children and then go home to Port-au-Prince. Please pray for these ladies, as they are so worried and have not heard from their families.

Mansour Masse’s life changed yesterday as so many children became orphans last night.  Mansour will be their Hope through Holt. Well…as I am typing this we hear loud cries…one of the care providers just found out two of her family members died last night…it just breaks my heart.

We had great prayer time with the Holt Field Director, and we have already had many prayers answered. Mansour is doing an incredible job taking care of everyone.

In The Aftermath of the Earthquake

Shane Bowers, along with other members of Christian music group, Julian Drive, was in Haiti on a humanitarian trip with Holt Director of Donor Engagement, Kris Thompson, when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit. The following is Shane’s recap of the day’s events and the devastating aftermath….

By Shane Bowers, Julian Drive

Montrouis, Haiti—We had been here for a few days visiting the Holt Fontana Children’s Village and loving on the kids.  As we arrived at our hotel yesterday and stood there recapping the day we had with the beautiful children, the ground beneath our feet began to shake sideways and up and down.  We all froze in fear and didn’t know what to do. The car we had just gotten out of was shaking up and down like a toy, and a concrete wall next to us swayed back and forth.  The quake felt like it lasted a minute or two. In reality it was closer to 35-40 seconds.

Holt Fontana Village Director, Mansour Masse, said he’d never experienced anything like  this quake in all his years in Haiti and was just as startled as we were.  We knew that the earthquake must have done serious damage to the city of Port-au-Prince, and we were heartbroken for the people there.   I uttered prayers for those who might have been in much worse situations than we were. Fortunately we were able to get a quick message out to our families before we lost all communication. Continue reading “In The Aftermath of the Earthquake”

Earthquake in Haiti

Holt is deeply saddened to learn of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capitol of Port-au-Prince yesterday afternoon. We have been in contact with Holt Fontana Children’s Village Director, Mansour Masse, and he informs us that the children and care providers are safe.

Communication with our partners in Haiti has been difficult.  We will keep you informed about the children in our care and the 120 families in our family preservation program as we receive more information throughout the day.

Holt is assessing the situation and is prepared to do everything we can to bring relief to the children and families we serve as we learn more information about what the needs are.

We hope that you will join us in praying for the children and care providers at Holt Fontana Village, the families in our family preservation projects, and the hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who have been affected by this unimaginable tragedy.

Donate to help children and families in Haiti….

The Power of the Human Spirit

by Jennifer Goette, Holt Director of Programs, South and Southeast Asia

During my first trip to Vietnam in my new role as the Program Director for South and Southeast Asia, there were many moments that led me to confront the power of the human spirit. Visiting orphanages supported by Holt, I was impressed by the loving care and genuine affection provided to each child. I was also touched by the need that emanated from each child, young and old, to be loved and cared for. Some of the children would find loving, permanent families through domestic or inter-country adoption; my heart went out to the other children – often older children and children with special needs—who would probably wait for years hoping to find a family of their own.

I was profoundly moved by a quiet young man with a determined spirit who has been living in care for most of his childhood. Tuan Ahn has a quick smile and is shy about his accomplishments. Orphaned at the age of eight years old when both of his parents passed away from infections believed to be caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuan was sent to live with his grandparents. After only two years, his grandparents were too old to care for the young boy and placed him with an orphanage supported by Holt International outside of Ho Chi Minh City. There he has received care and positive encouragement for more than nine years. Continue reading “The Power of the Human Spirit”