The summer is in full swing here in the Midwest of the US, with temperatures hovering over a hundred degrees and it seems like the 100 degree days are lasting forever. Some of our staff has flown the coop and left the high temperatures and are now in the field where it is cooler. We would like to tell you a bit about what they're doing.
First off is Kay Metsger, a board member and area representative from Portland, Oregon. Kay is representing Star of Hope USA in Romania during the Romanian Family Conference. Star of Hope has organized this yearly conference since 2008 in Romania. The conference has a sharp Christian message for the mothers, families, and specialists that work in the field of children with special needs. Most of the mothers have a child or children who need extra help. Of course, this includes their families too. One staff member puts it like this, “We have witnessed how our Lord talked to them personally and these women and men demonstrate the significant increase in self-worth, confidence, and in their value as a person.”
Board member Kay Metsger visiting in Romania
Kay has a very limited internet connection and she reports in a short post, “This year we have 160 parents, 90 children, 50 volunteers, pastors, and guests. The opening session is called ´Broken Hearts, Great Destiny, it is wonderful to be here, lots of praise and singing. Joy in being together in Mamaia, Romania, just outside of Constanta on the Black Sea. The overworked families are invited to rest, renew, and restore broken places in their hearts and exchange for fellowship and a great destiny. Our best is yet to come!”
KAY LAURA PAUL AND OCTAVIO
Kay, Laura, Paul, and Octavio
Laura and Paul Raica our representatives from Seattle Washington are also at the camp. I am sure they will have many great stories to share with all of us soon.
Dan Sheridan from Raymond, Kansas, is a faithful volunteer and has been to Haiti again. Dan visited the new orphanage construction at one of our partners, Grace International. He also visited the Rigaud church and held a short presentation. He also visited the Marigot School where he had the opportunity to help staff with the mass mailing to sponsors across the globe.
This trip is the 7th trip for Dan to Haiti. Most of his trips were Star of Hope mission trips or Star team trips where he made hundreds of school benches, assisted in school construction and disaster recovery missions. Dan also had some rest days, the first time for such luxury in 7 visits, well done Dan, you are awesome.
MARIA ULRIKA LENNART
Maria Presson, our operations chief and so much more, has been in Sweden representing Star of Hope Sweden and the USA for the annual conference. This was the Semi-Centennial conference or the 50-year conference.
Karrsjo Lake from a drone
50 years of conferences
The conference that we produce every year in July is a way for Star of Hope and the Tent Mission to share the results and the stories about what's going on in the field. More importantly, we celebrate Christ as well as all the things that are going on to spread the Gospel in the world.
This year was special as we had visitors from Brazil especially one VIP named Paulo Barbosa. Paulo is important to the Star of Hope story, more on that later.
From a local newspaper Ornskoldsviks Allehanda we read: as the fiftieth anniversary approached the large white tent is set up on the hill down by the lake in Karrsjo. A bit up on the hill is the office and Star of Hope’s Swedish headquarters; an old Swedish estate and there is a lot of movement ongoing. Preparations are underway for the four-day conference.
Maria Presson and Ulrika Kallin
It is time for Tent Mission’s annual conference here at the founder Erik Gunnar Eriksson's childhood farm. “We have the Karrsjo conference every year since 1965, says Ulrika Kallin, manager of Star of Hope International and the daughter of Erik Gunnar Eriksson.
Erik Gunnar with Mother
The event has been a regular feature of the Swedish summer all the way back to the founder's days as a traveling evangelist. The Tent Mission was formed in 1966 in Dalarna, Sweden and Erik Gunnar traveled extensively around Scandinavia with his tent. But it is here, in the courtyard of Karrsjo where the original feeling is strongest.
Because this is the home of Star of Hope and that Erik Gunnar is from Karrsjo, the conference has been here every year, says Maria Presson, who works with Star of Hope Sweden and the USA.
The trips were not limited to the Nordic countries. Erik Gunnar Eriksson was an international person and kept on the move, a man with a mission. The Tent Mission traveled personified by Erik Gunnar the evangelist preaching in several different countries. Towards the end of the 60s, he was in Brazil, and it was there that he met by chance the baby Paulo.
It was the mother who sought him out. She had heard that he was there, says Ulrika Kallin.
Maria Presson and Ulrika Kallin, daughters of Erik Gunnar Eriksson, tells of his father's travels.
Paulo Barbosa's mother appealed to Erik Gunnar to pray for her terminally ill children; she even tried to give Paulo to the foreigner, a stranger who was shocked. Right then and there a thought was planted a tap on the shoulder perhaps, it's that typical “faith in action” you cannot just believe you also have to do something, says Maria Presson.
Erik Gunnar had in that moment turned towards his interpreter and said that he wanted to build an orphanage in Montes Claros Brazil, a project that defied all odds and scope of costs. Even before the construction, there were several obstacles to overcome. Catholic and other religious communities strongly disagreed that a Protestant preaching to over 6,000 people in Brazil and therefore made death threats against Erik Gunnar.
For someone who neither spoke Portuguese or English and who would have to raise a substantial amount of funds to build and run an orphanage on the other side of the earth was initially no bed of roses.
Erik Gunnar Eriksson, with the guitar, was noticed in the Brazilian media after the death threats against him surfaced.
But our father was not just a dreamer; no he also acted very quickly. It was typical Erik Gunnar that once he had decided on a path there was nothing to stop him, says Ulrika Kallin.
Paulo Barbosa, who survived his disease, became the first child admitted to the home.
Forty-seven, 47 years later, Paulo, along with his family and others who grew up in the Brazilian orphanage are in North Sweden, in Karrsjo to participate at the 50th Tent Mission Conference.
I had a nice and happy childhood. When I was little, there were many people from Sweden who helped raise me. And one of these great people were Erik Gunnar Eriksson says Paulo Barbosa. Paulo personifies the fact our whole mission because; if Erik Gunnar had not met him we do not know if there had been any orphanage, says Ulrika Kallin.
The orphanage in Montes Claros was the start for the Star of Hope and soon they expanded its operations and today is the organization in place in over fifteen countries.
Erik Gunnar Eriksson's children, Ulrika Kallin , Maria Presson and Lennart Eriksson who now assumed the reins and run the organization. The siblings are also the twelfth generation family farm in Karrsjo, yes 12 generations in Karrsjo.
The siblings Lennart Eriksson, Maria Presson and Ulrika Kallin now runs Tent Mission and the Star of Hope's activities
“We know that education is changing lives. With many great disasters and events touching our heart strings here in the western world as we see such things destroy lives. There is however, something you can not take away from someone, their education and this can break the chains of poverty”, says Maria Presson.
So Maria was busy at the 50th conference, helping with the guests, praying for the work, reporting about her visits and also cooking for many hundred every day!
We will be posting updates from Kay on Facebook, www.facebook.com/starofhope.org
Want in? Right now we are looking for Lunch Buddies, help us provide school lunches here:I will be a lunch Buddy