Hello My name is Jennifer Atlee, and I want to thank Vangrace Compassion Ministries for this opportunity to tell you about myself and an amazing and life changing opportunity that was presented to me at one of my most trying times in my life, when I was questioning my faith and trust in the man upstairs.
I am a 32 yr old single mother of two wonderful little boys ages 9 and 12. I am a health care advocate for a disease called Lipedema, a Social Entrepreneur, and an artist from London Ontario. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare disease, and was told I had no medical help available to treat me, and that there was no cure. At that exact second my life crumbled around me. I went into a depression; I started to hate life and everything that surrounded me. My children were the only thing in this world that was keeping me going and preventing me from giving up in my battle. Being a single mom your priorities change significantly, and you come to live for your children only, you make a vow to be and do everything you can be and do for your children no matter what is occurring in your life or how sick you are because their lives are the only thing that matters, and you are all they have. My kids once again saved my life, and instead of feeling sorry for myself I started to teach myself to love and have faith in god once again. I began to tell myself that this wasn’t the end of what life had in store for me, I’m here for more then to just fade away without making any significant impact on this world or feeling like I have not made a difference. And so one morning I looked up to the sky and I spoke to God, and I said “ok…im listening show me what I am supposed to be doing! Give me a sign of where my services are meant to be here because I am lost, there has got to be more then this!’
The next few days I decided to take my fate into my own hands. I jumped online and I started to research fundraisers and charities because I knew nothing about raising money and I knew if I needed to raise funds to travel to the USA for surgeries that were not available in Canada for my disease I would have to learn everything that I possibly can and make sure I do this right the first time because I only have one shot as we all know medical care expenses are crippling. I started a GoFundme page to raise my funds and between this and the help and support of my friends families and community I was able to raise enough funds to travel to the U.S.A for surgery, but not to pay for the actual procedure. I was devastated and defeated once again. I was so angry because I tried so hard. I began to give up. I left my home with my children and we bounced from family home to family home searching for help, for a miracle. It seemed that one horrible thing after another was happening until I felt like I couldn’t stand on my own two feet another second I told the sky I was done I give up, I am tired, and I cannot go any further that the bad has defeated my soul. And that’s when it happened. Someone came to me and I now know it was through him. This person also had one horrible thing after another happen in their life and because of one of the horrible thing in particular, this person had extra funds given to them to start their life over. This person being close to the family had watched for almost 2 years my struggle and was severely effected emotionally by my battle and he came to me the day after I told God I give up im in your hands now, and he said to me. “I have the money to pay for your surgery and I want you to have it. Your life is far more important to me then starting mine over and I cannot sit here and watch your disease take you over and not do anything about it.” On this day I fell to my bed and I cried and cried and I thanked God that he brought this person, this miracle into my life and I stood here before myself and the man upstairs with nothing in between but gratitude and I said “ I promise to pay this forward….the amount of support I received and the pureness of love in the hearts of those that surrounded me at my hardest time was so strong that I was vibrating inside and it changed my life.
2 months later while I was sitting in a bed healing from my surgery in another country that gave me my life back again to live with my children, and to be able to keep up with them for years to come, thanking God for such a miracle it came to me, I wanted to help people who are at rock bottom. I didn’t know who, how, where, or what, I just kept being told in my soul I’m to pay it forward. Later that day I signed onto facebook and saw a message in a group chat from some one new and I had a look. It was a man asking for help with children from an orphanage. I saw that this man was not getting a very positive response with regards to his plea for help and it hit my heart hard because I was just in the same position and I knew how it felt to be asking for help when you don’t know where else to turn and my heart broke into a million pieces. So I did some research on Vangrace Compassion Ministries the orphanage this man was speaking about, and I made sure that it was of course real, and once I confirmed this I started to soak in everything presented to me on my screen. I realized that there were many children in the world that don’t have loving parents or the necessities of life, and if my journey of not having my necessities of life available to me like so many of us are accustomed to was so devastating to me, it killed me to think of the harm and stress it would have on a child’s soul. It was this moment I knew what I was being told and I reached out to this gentleman regarding the ministries and I instantly grew a connection with Ivan his wife the ministry workers and of course every single child there, and I knew this is where I would pay it forward! I decided to Sponsor two children at that time, as honestly $24/ Month is very affordable and if I could provide the necessitates of life to two children by eliminating my monthly wants like Tim Hortons Coffee once a day how could I not give this gift to two wonderful children who are also looking for their miracle? And so we did, and a few months later we decided to sponsor another child through Vangrace Compassion Ministries because of how large of an impact Patricia and Jibu had on me and my kids lives and so quickly! And so, we came to meet and welcome Oliver as well. All three children are so amazing! Their hearts are so large and their smiles are so big everytime we see them in videos and pictures I cry., very single time Ivan sends me a message from them im filled with so much emotion, knowing we are making a difference. We have been sponsoring our children for a year now and even though they live across the world from us Ivan ensures that our connection is memorable and personable. Unlike most Sponsorship programs Ivan allows us to send photos and videos to our children, and the children reply with photos and videos of their own. My children write letters to them and we also send out surprise boxes to them and Ivan never fails to send us photos and videos of them opening the boxes and to see the smiles and the laughter and them sharing their gifts with the other children in the orphanage is an experience you would never ever have the opportunity of having anywhere else!
My kids and I watch our videos daily and we plan on going out and visiting Vangrace Compassion Ministries and hugging our children for real and show them that even though we are worlds apart they have a family, brothers, and a mom that love and cherish them so much, and that they are never alone. I have chosen to devote my life to fighting for the rights and needs of these children and this village, and I will continue to sponsor from Vangrace Compassion Ministries and Ultimately my personal goal is to eradicate child malnutrition entirely at Vangrace Compassion Ministries, by connecting with other global social entrepreneurs and like minded individuals to work together and set up a support system for Ivan and the orphanage, and I will not stop until we succeed as this is the path that was laid before me and I will never let these children down, as they are looking to us for their miracle, their next meal, their healthcare, and education, and most of all their safety, just as I was looking for my miracle a year ago. I think so many of us forget that our hearts are one, and we need to fill one another’s hearts with love, compassion, unity, and hope. Because without this what kind of world would we be living in? These Children are our future they are the worlds hope. I have learned something recently it’s a whole new meaning of hope that most have not heard I am sure but it truly hit home with me in my heart and I carry this mantra with me everyday now and I hope you all do as well. When I say I want to give hope or we need your help in giving these children hope this is what we are doing… We are ….HELPING OTHER PEOPLE EVOLVE. And this is what I dream of for the future of Vangrace Compassion Ministries!
People often ask me why do I waste my time sponsoring children from Africa. What could I possibly get out of this transaction? Besides changing a child’s life and showing them they are loved and not alone, besides changing your perspective on life all together… besides expanding your family, and watching your child grow and prosper right before your eyes, and seeing what amazing things are happening with your contribution and the lives you are saving, or the love and bonds you build with your child daily, here are some reasons why my family sponsors these amazing children;
Your not just giving money, you are giving hope- its not just money that makes a difference. The feeling these children have knowing that there is someone in this world that is investing in them is significant! We all have the right to feel like we are loved and knowing that they are not alone gives hope to these children.
Your not just saving one child. Yes when you sponsor a child you are helping that particular child, but it goes further then that you are helping an entire community evolve one person at a time. This may not feel like a significant impact individually but when we have sponsors in numbers its very easy to see how the entire community is impacted. I always remember a saying when I think of this and that’s “it takes a village to raise a child” in order for that village to raise that child we must help support that village in numbers, and those numbers will grow one sponsor at a time. You are helping increase those numbers by sponsoring just one child.
It helps teach your children about compassion and equality. I know most moms are like me and when their child does something so heartfelt we take lots of pictures and launch them all over social media of them singing silly songs or when your child give their change to a homeless person outside of the coffee shop. When you sponsor a child, and include your entire family you have these moments daily. I have found that my children have a whole new perspective on life and what social expectations our society has laid before them are right or wrong. My children having a connection with Patricia Jibu and Oliver are questioning at a young age the way the world runs and they are constantly brainstorming on how to help their brother and sisters at Vangrace. In fact, they recently had boxes of their own toys packed and I mean everything from their bedrooms in boxes ready to send it away I sadly had to explain that mommy couldn’t afford that big of a package to be sent out and that we will come up with a more efficient way to make an impact for their siblings and they are right back to the drawing board. I have found that not only has this experience helped me learn who I am as a person but it has also helped my children find their passions and what part of their life path is important to them. My youngest son has already decided that when he’s old enough he will be traveling and helping as many children as he can like his brother and sisters at Vangrace, he says he will give all he has to those who need it more then him and to know that he could someday change the world because of our decision to sponsor these three amazing children impacts my heart in so many ways and I am forever grateful to of been able to give my 5 of my children an opportunity to learn from one another, and for me to learn from all of them.
Its very affordable, and you see on a regular basis where your money is going and how you are helping your child. You are looking at a $1 a day per month to give a child a whole new life and help create a rippled effect creating the same outcome for many other children, and your payments never increase. I have seen personally numerous times how just 1$ a day can save a child’s life, in the end your experience with Vangrace Compassion Ministries will prove to you that the impact these children have on your heart and your life is in fact priceless.
If I had an opportunity to meet the members and CEO’s of Vangrace Compassion Ministries, first of it would be a honor, secondly I would give each and every one of them a huge hug and express my gratitude and commend them for what they are doing and creating for these children. These amazing people put the needs of these children first every single day and they work day in and day out to do everything in their power to ensure that each child is properly cared for and feel loved even at their worse of times. And in my opinion that is the definition of everything pure and everything good. The love I hold for them and their work words cannot express, and if every person in this world carried the same love, devotion, and core values as this ministry does, the world would be a much better place!
Thank you Vangrace Compassion Ministries for giving me and my family an opportunity to be a part of your family! Through thick and thin we will always stand beside you and your vision.
I hope that this encourages everyone to join us, and take action regarding an important global issue, and that our story helps you to decide to get out there and be the change you wish to see in our world.
Sending love from our family to yours, and to our sponsor children Patricia, Jibu and Oliver
Jennifer Atlee & Sons