Friday, July 23, 2010

Dollar Days!!!!

TARGET Dollar Aisle!

OK folks, literally with just a dollar you can help us out. The dollar aisle at your local Target store is LOADED with great school and education supplies right now! Please take 20 minutes out of your day to go and stop by your closest Target. We would love anything you could purchase! There are great puzzles, flash cards, dictionaries, thesaurus, pencils, and coloring books.

The school supply aisles also have great bargains right now! Crayons are a major need as well as markers and pencils.

We will gladly pick up your purchases (if you are in Austin, San Antonio, or Dallas)!!

OR if you are too busy or would rather have a personal shopper for you than
DONATE TO THE SCHOOL SUPPLY FUND and we will purchase for you!

- Alissa on behalf of Arise Africa

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Benson

Meet one of our team members, Benson. When I was in Africa for 4 months in 2008, Benson was my right hand guy. Benson spent almost every minute with me working on a photography book project (it is in the publishing phase don't worry you will know when it is released!). His job was to integrate me in the culture and pretty much convince them to accept me so I could take photos. This is not an easy task, to show up with a white girl and huge cameras and not only protect but convince people to accept me!! We traveled to remote villages where he had never visited but had no issue having people accept and like us after talking to Benson.

We laughed ALOT those 4 months! We talked about culture, both of our dreams and God's plan in our lives. Benson taught me patience, how to interact with his culture, what was right and wrong, and most importantly how to love. I saw Benson's true heart and spirit for the kids we were working with daily. And I saw how much he desired to be a part of the changing force in Africa. You see, Benson steps up, and makes more happen than you think you can. He takes a task and the resources and makes it work. He is passionate about leading kids in the right direction and promoting education. He can play games with the little ones, and get through to the teenagers. I watched Benson interact with many people some of whom he had never met and he has a natural connection with people and they feel comfortable with him. This is how I was able to do my job. He made it happen. Benson is a listener and slow to speak until he has the facts (something else I learned!) Benson learned about how picky I was when it came to eating, or how to work on my computer and download images for me, he learned all about the video camera, and how to read a map! He saw elephants and monkeys for the first time. He saved us from a dead smelling rat. And he took a 4 wheeling trip through Vic falls. Most importantly I saw how God works through Benson with his interaction with everyone we met.

Benson at Vic Falls

Benson is currently attending college through Arise Africa's Scholarship Program.

You might ask how much it costs to go to college in Zambia and his tuition is around $2,500 annually. He is getting his degree in social work with hopes of continuing his career in changing the lives of the people in his country. As Benson attends school full time, he works for Arise Africa and gets a small stipend to cover his living expenses. This means everyday after school he does what we need him to. He disciples kids and goes out into the communities on the weekends. He literally works almost 7 days a week. About a week ago I texted Benson at 4AM his time, thinking he was asleep and would get the text in the morning. But he was up studying for his exams that are this week.

Benson is the type of person we love to work with. He is passionate, serving, and ready to do a job. He loves his country and culture. We cherish the opportunity to work with our brother, Benson.

I want to help pay Benson's Tuition

(This will direct you to a secure online donation page, please click on the "African Team Scholarship Fund" when it asks you where you want your funds directed. You can put Benson's name in the comment section.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Beginning

Well here is our first blog post... I can't even describe what the past few weeks have been like for all of us involved with starting this non profit ministry. I think I can say we are all overwhelmed at the amazing support we have received.

Let's just highlight a few of the past week's awesome developments:

  • We have had 20 laptops donated to us, 20!! Thank you David Hornberger and Vinson and Eklins law firm!
  • We were able to purchase over 120 books for $1 each at the DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) bookstore. AND when I arrived Greg (who had called and gave me the heads up about the great sale) had somehow managed to get them to give us 530 Bibles. GIVE US 530 BIBLES people. Do you know how crazy that is?? Now we need to figure out shipping! hmmm... anyone wanna drive a boat full of books to Zambia for free?? Here is a picture of the poor girl who had to check us out and Greg holding one or our receipts.
  • We have an incredible group of people ready to go to Africa at the beginning of 2011 to help us build a classroom and paint a current school. In accordance to this we have had many teachers donate school supplies, posters, wall art, and children's books for this trip. Please read our material donations page to learn how you can help us too!
Our African Team is pumped and moving forward very strong! Between juggling jobs, school and doing things completely voluntarily for us until we have profits to hire them, they are sacrificing SO SO much for the people in their country. I'm so proud of them and can't thank all of you enough for your support!!

So here we go, let the games begin!!

Thank you for your support in all the ways it has come!

- Alissa Hollimon on behalf of Arise Africa