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The North Country Mission of Hope has completed its move to Peru. Sister Debbie Blow outlines its latest news and needs.

Happy New Year Everyone,

I hope your celebrations and family gatherings over the past month were filled with lots of laughter, joy, hope, family and faith. Most of us are hunkered down, either due to weather or illness, so this gives me a chance to get this important email out.

I want to also state that for several days, I’ve been unable to respond to phone calls because I have no voice. Now, while some are rejoicing, the last time this happened to me, I lost my voice for a month. Here’s hoping it won’t be that long! So, please email or text if you need an immediate response.

Please note that I have a very important message/request at the end of this news/notes. I hope you will have a moment to read it.

There has been a lot happening within the Mission of Hope during this past month and I’d like to briefly share a bit:

1. Special thanks: Due to our plea to help cover the sponsorships of the 24+ children who have lost their sponsor, we have already secured sponsorship for at least half of them. That’s wonderful and I’m hoping that a few more of you might be able to give the gift that’s priceless- the gift of an education.

Just remember that all of you who sponsor children, are sharing HOPE on a level that cannot be diminished by distance. You are a unique part of that child’s future and in a very real way, you walk that walk of hope with them.

Let me know if you can help. The basic cost is $140, optional textbooks are $50 and optional food is $75.

2. YES, YES, YES…our office has moved to our new facility and all our functions will now operate out of MOHtown. Address is 3452 Route 22, Peru, NY 12972. Our warehouse will be open every Wednesday, unless otherwise noted, from 9-noon for dropoffs- or by appointment only. NEW PHONE NUMBER IS 518-643-5572 or my cell at 518-570-5443.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY, THE SECOND SATURDAY EVERY MONTH WILL BE ANOTHER OPTIONAL PACKING/VOLUNTEERING DAY OR DROP OFF DAY.

We are most grateful to a few of our Wed. regulars who will also do this service for those who cannot come on Wednesdays.

3. With every major change, there are new needs and we have one unique and which we truly hope 1-3 of you might be able to help us with.

What is it you ask?

Well, we need a couple of volunteers who would be willing to do a unique task for us now that we have our own facility. We are hoping that a couple of you would be willing to provide 2-3 hours once a month (on your time selection) to do a very basic cleaning. It would include our office (we are pretty neat folks now that we have an actual office), the conference room, the hall and the bathrooms. Basic cleaning and sweeping/washing of floors.

Please let us know if you or 2-3 of you would like to do this together…many hands make light work! We see the need as less once summer comes around, but obviously a bit more of a need during the winter months.

4. Yes, we will have an OPEN HOUSE- projected to be early June. But feel free to stop by if you are in the area. We’d love to show you what is unfolding going forth…

5. Monetary gifts for your sponsored students: Just a reminder that the deadline for actual packages has come and gone, but we will accept monetary donations until Jan. 15th, if you’d like to send a monetary gift to your sponsored student.

6. Does anyone have Courtyard by Marriott points or Residence Inn by Marriott points or options for discounts? You ask why? Well, in March, I need to be at St. James’ Cathedral Parish in Orlando, Florida- sharing the Mission at all masses and offering opportunities to seek more support. (Thanks, Greg Pull, for coordinating this). Anyhow, I will need to stay at a hotel close to St. James. If you happen to have a source to assist with this, I’d love to hear from you. Please advise. And if you live in the area, it will be the weekend of March 17,18. Would love to see you!

7. Thought for the week:

This week’s Thought will be a bit different because I really need to share some news and seek some assistance.

Topic: Women’s Health for at risk and marginalized women and their children.

Some of you know that back in 2013, at urgent request from our women leaders in the barrios, we began a Women’s Health program in Nicaragua. We’ve also renovated and assisted in repairing and serving the population via Safehouses. Our Mission of Hope program includes women’s health issues and services, screenings, PAPS, pre and post natal care, psychological care and mental health, etc.

One growing and urgent need within the program is the Mental Health aspects for the women and their families, many of whom are at great risk due to domestic violence and being marginalized due to extreme poverty and lack of mobility and access. To address these needs and to assist these women and their families, we are using a number of methods, including having First Responders assist in identifying those in urgent need, as well as creating empowerment programs and projects to help assist in reducing the isolation and loneliness, build a level of trust, and much more. We also have a wonderful couple sponsoring a training program to provide possible job skill.

We have a wonderful doctor who travels to our clinic each week to assist in the psychological and regular healthcare needs. And here’s where I/we need you. A month’s cost for doctor, specific mental health medicines, transportation services, etc. costs $580- $6960 for year. Yes, that’s all and that includes all expenses for a significant number of at risk women and their families. if you broke that down by day and by patient served, the average cost would be minimal but urgent. But, our grants for this program are nearing the end of their grant period and there is absolutely no way that the Mission can allow this program to simply cease. There are so many layered aspects to mental health and I’m definitely not an expert, but I believe, in my heart and soul, we must try to assist these vulnerable children of God.

We were told just 4 days ago, that continued care through our Women’s Health Program is an extremely important aspect and need and we must continue to provide HOPE to those with little hope and very little access to services, peace of mind, etc. We have another mother who suffers with mental health issues and is constantly pleading for help for her two children, who are often not in school, beleaguered by parasites and often “working the streets”. These are just a couple examples of many. We’ve assisted two young girls (age 7 and 9) who were raped by neighbors or family members. We are well aware of all these awful aspects of humanity and how they also impact mental and psychological and emotional, not to mention physical health. Yet, we can and do make a difference.

Here’s what I received in an email this week: “this is a very important and necessary piece of our Medical outreach. The long term impact of this program on the health and well-being of those we serve cannot be overemphasized. We can make a direct impact on curbing generations long abuses and on the immediate needs brought on by trauma, physical/emotional abuses or mental illness, that will, if left untreated, have long term negative effects that manifest themselves throughout a lifetime.

To me, it would be antithetical to our core values to allow this program to fall to the wayside or go underfunded. This is a program that was asked for by the community, is needed, is working and deserves continued funding. With prayer, hard work and the grace and mercy of God, we simply must find a way to make that happen.”

And so….it’s time for another miracle within the Mission of Hope..and so many of you have been key pieces to the miracles that unfold within the Mission. By the way, just this week, we learned that a boy in one of the very poor schools we sponsor, killed his sister. This is real and horrific and tragic and the ramifications of this last generations. (Obviously, we see that right here in the US).

Can you help us to continue our Women’s Health Program? Perhaps you can sponsor a month or more of cost. Most of us either have family members, friends or know of people who suffer from all these issues. Now, imagine struggling with such issues in barrios of extreme rural poverty, no mobility to get services and no money or any sort of recourse, no follow up. Yes, we can make a difference and yes, we can improve lives…we have been for 20 years within the Mission of Hope. I’m hoping many of you will be able to help us unfold another miracle.

Please put in your memo section of check: Women’s Health. I promise to keep you posted of funds received, so make sure to flag the donations. And please pray that we will all “hear the cries of the poor” because we know God does.

Thank you. Live and be HOPE this week.

Sr. Debbie Blow, OP
Executive Director
North Country Mission of Hope
3452 Route 22
Peru, NY 12972
Cell: 518-570-5443
Office: 518-643-5572

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