Author Archives: Touch A Life

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Remember When | Dear Mark

Summer 2009 Dear Mark, If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that time goes too quickly. Before we know it, in a blink of an eye, or an irregular heart beat, everything we have can be gone. Without warning. Without a chance to even say good-bye. So I’m writing you this letter, just as I sometimes do for my other children, so you always know exactly where you stand. I will never forget how I first met you, in a color photograph in the New York Times. Seeing how you looked then – your dirty t-shirt and your scarred skin and that fear in your eyes – I was so saddened for you, and filled with a desire to help you. I thought at the time that that just wasn’t possible. You seemed so far away. You seemed so foreign. I couldn’t even locate the country where you lived on a map. It’s strange now to think about that. You’ve become such an important part of our family. It’s almost like I can’t remember a time when your artwork wasn’t hanging on our wall, the first thing I see when I walk out the door to take […]

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Remember When | Quilts

I remember ten years ago when two of my dear friends Lisa Bloecher and Stacey Young made all the Touch A Life kids a quilt of their own. They worked endlessly together customizing all the colors, names, and scriptures to bless each child’s personality. I will never forget watching the kids wrap up in their new blankets, owning something for the first time with their name hand-stitched in love. Almost a decade later, the faded and tattered quilts are neatly folded at the end of our teenager’s beds. I feel that those quilts represented a spiritual covering and protection for the children in our program when they needed it the most. I am forever grateful to all of my friends that have walked this journey alongside me and stood in the gap for the trafficked and exploited children of Ghana. I am humbled and amazed as I reflect back on the village of friends that have helped us raise these awesome kids. Never underestimate how your gifts and talents can bless others in this world and remind them they are special. -Ma Pam  

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Remember When | Sophia

I remember when I first met Sophia about five years ago. She along with her two younger siblings were brought to the Touch A Life Care Center to live. She immediately caught my attention with her infectious smile and energetic personality. I pulled her aside one day to engage her in a private conversation asking all the usual questions.  We chatted for a few minutes and I was pleasantly surprised how well she spoke English since she hadn’t been attending school regularly. I then grabbed a few books and of course she was an excellent reader not missing a word. I later asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said, “I want to be the Director of Touch A Life. I want your job. I want to wear high heels.” I busted out in laughter and immediately fell in love with her. Oh my sweet Sophia, I look forward to the day when I will gladly pass you the title of Director along with a brand new pair of red heels. Every trip I take to Ghana the staff and kids know there will be a full day of cleaning and organizing so they have […]

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Remember When | Back to School

I remember preparing for my first trip to Ghana back in 2006. I only had to buy clothing and gifts for seven children. Thirteen years later I find myself packing and preparing back to school items for close to one hundred children. Box after box of bright colored clothing has been arriving from Amazon because we have so many awesome donors who are committed to the cause. I will never grow weary of packing and weighing trunks for the Touch A Life children in Ghana. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the village of supporters who make all this possible. This month we will be highlighting the students who will be returning to college this fall. I am so proud of their accomplishments and how they are maturing into well respected leaders. Currently we have twelve students who are on a college track and last year was a learning experience for us all. The biggest lesson we learned was the need to add a full-time staff position to mentor and offer support while this group is navigating their new adventure. I am happy to announce Esther Yankyera has been hired to be the Mentorship Director for the college students. […]

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Remember When | Breaking Ground

I remember when Touch A Life was looking for land to buy in Ghana and the search was brutal. Our organization had been working and partnering with other NGO’s on the ground for several years and we decided it was time to build our own care center. I was super excited to start this new journey of acquiring land which I thought would take only a few months. I quickly learned that I would need extra measures of patience and faith to acquire the perfect plot of land. Months turned into a two year journey as our team worked tirelessly surveying and negotiating for a clean land deed. I will never forget the day when our van pulled off the long and winding Lake Bosamtwe Road and headed down a bumpy lane toward a hillside of African bush. We got out of the van and started exploring the property as a couple of men with machetes were clearing a path for us to walk. I was trying to listen to the voices in my head and trust my intuition when all of a sudden I noticed butterflies around me and wild birds chirping. This beautiful lush hillside was gently whispering […]

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UN Day Against Human Trafficking

A Touch A Life child, Millicent, along with Sophie and Freeman spoke at a UN Against Human Trafficking event on World Day Against Trafficking, July 30, 2019. Below is her speech that she read before the Minister of state and many foreign dignitaries.   It is a great honor to serve as the voice for our fellow children in exploitative labour. I am happy to see this day where issues of child rights is the topic for discussion. Let me express our profound gratitude to Government and our leaders for educating our community about the dangers of child trafficking, child labour, child abuse and teenage pregnancy. Child trafficking is where parents are deceived and they give their children out to slave masters to use them for their own gain. Many children have been given out to traffickers and they have used them in fishing, farming, cattle herding and many others. Child trafficking and labour continues to be a major concern to us the children since it robs us of our childhood. Ladies and gentlemen, in as much as we want to learn and take over business in the future, we are saying give us education first and we will be […]

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Remember When | AJ

I remember the first time I traveled with Andrew Johnson (aka AJ!) to Ghana. He was a young college student with tons of energy and he hit the ground running. All of the older boys in our program immediately gravitated to the cool dude who knew his way around the soccer field. Soccer is the universal love language for most boys in Africa who daily live and breathe the game of football (sport using your foot to kick the ball, duh). AJ was always easy to spot because he would be the goofy American making everyone laugh. Still to this day the older boys in our program will ask our Development Director, Rachel, about her brother, Andrew, because he made such an impression on them, so much so that they consider him to be a good friend of theirs. What an inspiration he continues to be as they follow his latest adventure devoted to raising education funds on his trusted bike, Ferdinand. Today, I don’t know how to put into words the gratitude I have for AJ and his vision for Cycle For The Future. Who is this person who willingly is giving up half of his summer to bike […]

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My Heart Felt At Home

Where do I begin? “We were made to be part of a great adventure. One that is SHARED. We want it not merely for adventures sake but what it requires of us FOR others.” Art plays a huge role in my life and is constant thread in my own story. Three years ago it led me straight to my current job as a kindergarten teacher and to my friend, Nan Deal. As our friendship grew, she shared stories of her son, Connor Lee Deal, his passing, their grief, and the creation of the Connor Creative Art Center in Ghana. In an effort to understand my sweet friends grief on a deeper level, I devoured Pam Cope’s book, Jantsen’s Gift, and I was hooked. I wanted to go, serve alongside my friend in honor of her beautiful boy and wrap my arms around those kids. So, the question is – how can you condense a Grand Canyon type experience into a 500 word or less blog post? The answer is – you can’t. I do know that the Lord wants us to DREAM big, which was our art theme for the week. I think when we DREAM, it is like a love […]

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On the Edge

  I am on the edge of something that demands my attention. Have you been there? The edge is an uncomfortable place. It requires a leap of faith or backing up, because living there isn’t a viable option. When I was asked to prayerfully consider taking a trip with a select few on a vision trip to visit Touch A Life’s Care Center in Ghana, my heart leapt at the opportunity. This would be something that would fulfill a 13 year dream: going to Africa and searching out a calling I’d felt at 16 years old. However, my reality told a different story. Due to recent changes in our family’s dynamic, my team leader insisted I seriously consider raising support for my travel expenses, which was the LAST thing I wanted to do. She shared something that TAL’s Co-Founder Pam Cope had said to her in the beginning conversations: “You just need to get your feet back on African soil and watch what God shows you there. He provides big time. Just go, you’ll see.” With these words on replay in my head, constantly shuffling through my day, I strategically began sharing my story. I told of my hopes and […]

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