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An Exciting Start to 2016

An Exciting Start to 2016

And a brief look at what God did during 2015

Christian House Sitters has 2 aims.
1. We want to help people all over the world enjoy vacations that they may not otherwise have been able to afford
2. We are part of the Registered Charity TLC Children’s Trust and 100% of our income goes to running a Children’s Home in Kenya.

Last year was often difficult BUT it has been a year with lots of blessings.

We helped hundreds of people to enjoy rent-free vacations.
We provided hundreds of people with someone to look after their home and pets free of charge while they were away.
We made amazing progress with the Children’s Home.

So as we begin 2016 I would like to share extracts from our New Year Newsletter that we sent to all our supporters. If you are interested in receiving these mailings in the future (we normally send about 4 a year) I will tell you how to get on the mailing list.

Here is a copy of our newsletter. You will see it was written by my wife, Marilyn.

Happy New Year.

Praise God Home of Peace is now an officially registered children’s home with the Kenyan Government Department of Children’s Services!

Our Girls in their new clothes

Some of our Girls in their new clothes

The past couple of months have been exciting, hectic, challenging and life changing for the children and staff at Home of Peace Children’s Home and for us back here in the UK.

You will no doubt remember that the authorities suddenly gave us a very short deadline to comply with all their requirements and apply for registration. At the time the task seamed impossible but with God nothing is impossible.

Since then we have built a dining room / study and equipped it with tables and chairs, built an additional 2 washrooms for the children so 10 children can wash at a time, installed a 3000 liter water storage tank and provided the home with 60 chickens so that the children can have a better diet with eggs included. But the really big challenges were having additional new dormitories built and equipped.

Thank you to all who have so faithfully prayed and given to enable this to happen.

There were so many things that we had put in place before we could even apply for registration but God answered our prayers. To refresh your memories here are some of the project that we asked you to pray for and give towards over the past year.

We needed:
To have a qualified Children’s Home Manager. Edward Wata became our manager and works for us three days a week.
We needed 2 new dormitories with staff rooms, a first aid room/ sickbay and a manager’s office/ counselling room. These have now been built and in order to save money they were built as a single complex.
We were required to build a new dining room/study. Once again God provided and this has been built and fitted with tables and chairs.
The authorities required 2 new large washrooms to be built. This has been done.
We had to install a water pump with pipes laid underground from the river to the property which is about 500 meters up to Home of Peace and into a 3000 Lit re water tank. Again God provided and the tank was purchased, the pump was purchased, the pipes were purchased and everything is working beautifully.
We were told that we had to install mains electricity and as we explained in our previous newsletter God miraculously made this possible and we are paying it off in monthly installments.
In the last year we have also had to establish a farm growing vegetables for the home and we had to get 50 laying hens to provide fresh eggs for the children. This has been done and we have employed a farm worker.
We had to have all the buildings and the old toilets repainted. Once again this has been done.
We had to purchase beds, mattresses, blankets, sheets and a single wardrobe for each child as this was a requirement of children services before we could be registered. Yet again God has provided.
We were told that we needed to have a full-time, live in, qualified social worker and a live in house mother. Two weeks ago we employed 2 ladies who are now on trial.

Last week the children and staff had a wonderful Christmas celebration.

Our Boys in their new clothes

Some of our Boys in their new clothes

Thank you to all those you who gave to make this possible and also to the members of Christian house Sitters who we normally approach only once a year with a request to give towards Home of Peace.

As a result of our appeal every child got new clothes.

The staff got new uniforms, and we were able to buy two footballs, two basketballs and also some toys for the youngest children.

In addition we were able to get them some balloons and nice food so they could have a good celebratory Christmas meal.

Showing off their new balls

Some of the younger children

 

As we move into 2016 we do need more sponsors to cover our monthly costs.

 

Prices have gone up steeply in Kenya and this has particularly affected our budget when purchasing food and medical care.

We also need to buy all of our children new school uniforms for their new academic year which begins early in January. A gift from one of our supporters which has gone a long way towards this but prices have gone up so steeply since last year and also now that we are a registered children’s home the children are required to have black leather lace up shoes for school. They used to wear sandals. As result the price of their uniforms for this coming year is double what we expected.

We will also need to pay school fees for our children as we do every January and this is going to cost us approximately £700 which we do not have.

This all does seem rather overwhelming as we are a very small charity and we do not have reserves of funds that we can draw from. Every penny we receive goes to Home of Peace. The trustees cover the cost of running the charity themselves.

The last couple of months we have been short of the amount needed each month to pay for food, wages, etc. and Ray and I had to cut down on our personal living expenses, just buying the essentials, so that we could take this money and give it to the children. We would not normally share this but we feel that the Lord wants us to share with you as our supporters and Christian friends.

If you would like to support the work please CLICK HERE and you’ll be taken to the page on our TLC Children’s Trust charity website where you will be able to make the necessary arrangements.

From that page there is also a link in the menu to be added to the mailing list

If you can’t give and you can’t promote the work amongst your friends or your church please will you at least pray. We believe God honours prayer. We know that He in control and we believe that He will once again provide what is needed as His children faithfully trust in Him.

Ray and I are exhausted. It’s been about four years since we had a real holiday but once again God has provided and we will be housesitting (through Christian House Sitters) in Southern Spain from the 4th of January until the 7th of February. This is a wonderful answer to prayer as house sitters we will get the use of this home, which looks beautiful from the photographs, rent-free and the owners have kindly made their car available for us to use whilst we are there. We are really looking forward to this. Thank you once again for your love, support and prayers.

God bless you,
Love in Jesus,
Marilyn.

 

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

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Exhausted but Blessed

Sleeping wrinkled dogSorry that I have not posted anything for a couple of weeks but life has been really hectic.

Naturally this is a time when Christian House Sitters can become rather hectic with people looking for a last minute vacation, or for someone to look after their home and animals while they are away.

I have no idea why but so many people only seem to realise that they need something in the final 2 weeks before Christmas.

Still it is a blessing to be able to help (most of) them.

With Christmas fast approaching there are also so many things that we needed to organise for the Children’s Home that we run. Their new school year starts in January so on top of the normal we have had to sort out 52 new school uniforms, sets of books, etc. Plus arrange Christmas for our 52 children plus the staff and their 20 children. We have also just appointed a Social Worker and a new House Mother for the children.

The result is that Marilyn and I are exhausted!Exhausted

But the good news is that in January we will be off to Southern Spain for a much needed vacation.

We very seldom take advantage of the houses made available through Christian House Sitters. Our last real vacation was about 4 years ago. We prefer to make the houses available to our members instead but we felt God wanted us to have a break and so we booked this house sit for ourselves.

It sounds fantastic. Southern Spain near both mountains and lakes yet not far from the sea. The house itself looks fabulous in the photographs that we have seen. Once we are there I will no doubt post pictures and tell you all about it.

Vacation scene

We thank God for this provision. Without Christian House Sitters we could not have afforded a vacation but now we get to stay in a fabulous house, in a lovely area and it is rent-free.

If you would like to benefit from our service please have a look at the website. CLICK HERE.

God bless you,
Ray

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

Thanksgiving Day

Today the USA celebrates Thanksgiving Day
Happy Thanksgiving

For those of us who do not live in the USA here is a very brief background to this special day

Thanksgiving Day can be traced back to the 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the religious refugees from England known popularly as the Pilgrims invited the local Native Americans to a harvest feast after a particularly successful growing season. The previous year’s harvests had failed and in the winter of 1620 half of the pilgrims had starved to death.Luckily for the rest, members of the local Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, beans and squash (the Three Sisters); catch fish, and collect seafood.

In the UK we do not have anything like this special day where we are reminded to stop and give thanks to God for His provision. I love the idea although I do realise it has been overtaken by many commercial interests.

As we all stop and give thanks to God for His provision may I ask you to prayerfully consider being a channel of provision to very vulnerable children.

We run a children’s home in rural Kenya. As Christmas approaches we would love to provide the children with some new clothes, underwear and sandals which they really need as a Christmas gift. We have 52 children at the home and 17 staff children and it will cost approximately £10  ($15) per child so if you are able to contribute towards this and you feel that this is something God would have you do that would be a great blessing. We would also like to give them all a special meal on Christmas Day.A Day to share

Even if you can’t support us on a regular basis would you  consider a one-off gift, no matter how small.

For further details about how you can give please click here

God bless you,
Ray

 

 

 

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

LUNDY. Something different

Something Different.

I received an email from one of our Registered Home Owners who frequently makes her lovely house available to our sitters. Her request was unusual.

Here is what she wrote:

Just to let you know that last summer I took 12 people for a 4-day retreat on Lundy Island, and this worked so well that I’ve stepped out in faith and booked the same house again for next September.  All I now need is people who’d like to join us there!  It occurred to me that anyone who goes might need a house sitter… so on that basis, I wonder if I could put a notice about the Lundy Experience on your blog? 

All best wishes and thanks for all you do

God bless

Ali

As most readers will know we help people all over the world to enjoy a rent-free vacation and we also help people who need someone to look after their home and animals while they are away. Again free of charge. But this sounded like a lovely idea so although we have never promoted anything like this before I agreed.

Here are the details she sent to me:

~~~~~~

A LUNDY JOURNEYL1
6th-10th September 2016
A special retreat on a unique island
You are invited to experience with us the natural beauty, rich wildlife, quiet and stillness of this remote granite outcrop in the Bristol Channel.

Our 4-night stay will be based in the splendid Millcombe House, built in 1836 for the island’s owner, and overlooking the coast and sea. It is managed by the
Landmark Trust.

We will allow the inspiring features of the island to help us explore an inner path of self-awareness  and personal growth, with opportunities for solitude  and silence, and also for community. Come prepared to walk, meditate, sing, cook and eat
together and enjoy the creativity of a shared retreat, whatever your personal spiritual path.

Lundy is a fairly rugged landscape so you will need to have a good standard of fitness to fully enjoy the retreat.

Cost: £375. (This does not include the cost of transport to and from the island.)
There are 12 places available at Millcombe House.
For further information and an application form, please call Ali on 07855 470069 or email alig9@btinternet.com.
L2
SUE GLANVILLE has many years of experience teaching religion, philosophy ad meditation. She has been a minister of an independent church. She is a qualified life coach and spiritual director and has led various courses and retreats, as well as seeing people individually. Sue loves wild and sacred spaces and has previously led trips to places such as Bardsey Island, Dartmoor and the Himalayas.

ALI GREEN is a priest, educator, author, traveller and spiritual director with many years’ experience in leading retreats, workshops and pilgrimages and in
individually accompanying people on their spiritual journey. A co-founder of a thriving ecological consultancy, she finds inspiration for creative expression in natural history, landscape and wildlife both close to home and across the world.

~~~~~~

So although this is not anything to do with Christian House Sitters I am bringing it to your attention. If you want any further details please contact Ali Green as I do not know anything more.

If you are going on this trip or indeed any vacation and we can help you find someone to look after your home and pets while you are away remember it is free. Have a look at our website www.Christian-housesitters.com

God bless you,

Ray

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

USA The No‐Vacation Nation

I was commenting to a friend (yes i do have one and he is not imaginary) that we have members all over the world but the USA, the largest English speaking country in the world seems to have the lowest number of people joining Christian House Sitters.

My friend kindly sent me a paper called “European Economic and Employment Policy Brief” By Rebecca Ray and John Schmitt ISSN 1782‐2165 published by ETUI-REHS which is financially supported by the European Commission and the following is an extract

Average annual working hours are substantially shorter in European countries and elsewhere in the world’s advanced economies than they are in the United States. One important reason for the difference is that workers in the United States are less likely to receive paid annual leave and paid public holidays, and those U.S. workers that do receive paid time off generally receive far less than their counterparts in comparable economies.

This report reviews the most recently available data from a range of national and international sources on statutory requirements for paid leave and paid public holidays in 21 rich countries (16 European countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States). In addition to our finding that the United States is the only country in the group that does not require employers to provide paid leave, we note that almost every other rich country has also established legal rights to paid public holidays over and above paid leave.

Members of the European Union and other European countries analyzed here all establish a legal right to at least 20 days of paid leave per year, with legal requirement of 25 and even 30 or more days in some countries.

Australia and New Zealand both require employers to grant at least 20 paid-leave days per year. Canada and Japan mandate at least 10 paid days off.

The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid leave.

The gap between paid time off in the United States and the rest of the world is even larger if we include legally mandated paid public holidays, where the United States offers none, but most of the rest of the world’s
rich countries offer between five and 13 paid public holidays per year.statue-of-liberty-weeping-crying

That is really shocking!

There is so much solid research showing the benefits of a vacation. Benefits to both the employer and the employee. I will not repeat it all here but if you are interested please refer to some of my previous posts such as

Help Yourself Get A Promotion

Live Longer & Happier

Why You Need A Vacation

Health Benefits of a Vacation

Wherever you live and work we can make your vacation easier to afford.
Some of the biggest costs associated with a vacation are the price of accommodation and the price of having someone look after your own home and pets while you are away. Through Christian House Sitters these are made available FREE OF CHARGE.

take_Vacation-750x422

Have a look at the website for further details. CLICK HERE

God bless you,

Ray

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

Protect yourself. Avoid this danger.

Sick at work Are you guilty of Presenteeism?

I have just read an article put out by the Press Association commenting on research carried out by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

In their research they identified a significant problem with what they refer to as ‘presenteeism’ which they define as staff going in to work even though they are ill.

The study found that workers were more likely to go to the office while sick if long working hours were seen as the norm, or where operational demands took precedence over employee wellbeing.

Almost 60% of organisations reporting an increase in ‘presenteeism’ have not done anything to discourage it, said the report.

The problem was worse in the public sector amid pressure to deliver services in the face of austerity cuts, said the CIPD.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “This is the fifth year in a row in which employers have reported an increase in employees coming in to work when they are ill”.

This is dangerous.No sick days for 15 years

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said “Companies where workers go to work ill were more likely be hit by stress-related absence among staff or mental health problems.”

To my mind this problem is closely related to another problem that I have highlighted in this blog on numerous occasions. Staff do not take their full vacation entitlement.

People seem to be afraid to take time off work when they are ill or even when they are due their annual vacation.  But as the research quoted above shows this can have a long term serious effect on your health and indeed your ability to keep working in the future.

I have previously mentioned the findings of research on missing your vacation. If you missed it you can reads about CLICK HERE

Do NOT fall into either of these traps!

You are not doing yourself, your family or your employer any favours!

All you are doing is building up major problems for the future.

I can’t do anything to help you take time off when you are ill. That is something you will need to do for yourself BUT I can help you to enjoy your vacation.

Through Christian House Sitters we can do the following:

  1. Help you find a reliable Christian to look after your home and any pets while you are away. FREE of Charge
  2. Help you enjoy a RENT-FREE vacation. We have homes available all over the world.

To find out more please visit the website and if you have any questions feel free to use the contact form on the site to contact me personally.

God bless you,
Ray

Christian House Sitters is part of the registered charity
TLC Children’s Trust
UK Charity number 1156786
www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

 

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

Pets Left At Home Alone

I love animals and always enjoy a good laugh so I was delighted to get a few pictures showing what animals can get up to when they are left alone.

I can’t credit the photographers as I have no idea who took them.

Dog at computer
I would like to say that they were emailed to me by a dog who was complaining that his family had gone on vacation and left him behind.

Yes a paid sitter pops in twice a day for about half an hour but according to him that is simply not good enough. He says he is part of the family and feels unloved and confused by being ‘abandoned’

I thought you were never coming home

As a result when his owners get home they could expect something like this.

Destroyed kitchenCat drinking through straw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cow on roof

Yes you do deserve a vacation!
No it is not always suitable to take your pets with you.
Yes being at home is normally less stressful to them than being dumped in kennels or a cattery.
But it can still be stressful.
So what is the answer?

One easy answer is to use our FREE service. Wherever you live in the world we will be happy to try to arrange for a reliable person to come and stay in your home, look after the home and your animals. Yes that is right it will not cost you anything as i said it is a free service.

Likewise if you would like to travel but find accommodation too expensive we can help you find rent-free accommodation looking after other people’s homes and pets while they are away and so enabling you to travel and have vacations you may otherwise not have been able to afford.

For full details have a look at our website www.Christian-housesitters.com

God bless you,

Ray

Christian House Sitters is part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

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