In Derry, Northern Ireland, Brian Somerville and Cornerstone City Church dreamed big and purchased a 40,000 square foot abandoned building, believing that one day it would house their church. After numerous challenges, they were finally able to sign the paperwork and received the keys in June of 2014. Convoy of Hope Europe has partnered with Cornerstone City Church for years through their annual community outreach program, and also wanted to commit to assisting Cornerstone into their new building. Bringing five construction teams from four American churches over the course of the past two years, much of the renovation work has been finished. The church offices are open, and two large spaces have been finished to a point where they are usable for events. Now in the second phase of renovations, Pastor Brian approached the owner of the parking garage next to the building and started a dialogue about renting the garage during their Sunday service to help meet their new parking needs. The owner, who didn’t want anything to do with the church or with God, was hesitant. After persistence, prayer, and building a positive relationship with the owner, Pastor Brian received a breakthrough. Not only did the owner finally agree to allow Cornerstone to rent the space, he further agreed to provide it to the church for free! This decision was made right before our most recent team from Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois arrived. The Naperville church sent their second team to Northern Ireland in June, and were able to give the parking garage a much-needed facelift. The future is huge for Cornerstone City Church and we are honored to walk alongside of them and see this dream become a reality, even bigger than expected!
From July 11th- 18th, 2014, Bethany Church of Wyckoff, New Jersey, and Bethlehem Assembly of God of Valley Stream, New York teamed up for a week of service in the adopted community of Dicanesti, Romania. Dicanesti has been sponsored through the Adopt-a-Community program by Bethany Church in partnership with Calvary Lighthouse of Lakewood, New Jersey. This was our fourth and final joint trip. Throughout the week, the team engaged in several days of children’s programs that included songs, dancing, stories, face painting, balloons, puppets, and other games. We also cleaned around the local community center and rebarred iron pillars on the roof. While this was going on, other team members were helping with the installation of water pipes that now bring fresh clean water from the town to the Roma settlement, some 600 meters (656 yards) away. The team played an integral part in making this happen as they dug trenches and installed pipeline. This is the first time that this community has had running water. Thanks to the support of this project, we will also be able to bring electricity to many homes in the village later in the year. Thank you to Bethany Church, Bethlehem Assembly, and Calvary Lighthouse for your support and the hard work invested into this project. The compassion and care shown for the people of Dicanesti over the past few years is immeasurable and will have lasting effects for years to come. Stories from previous trips can be found here, here, and here. To donate to this project, click here.
From July 2nd-9th, 2014, COHEU took its fourth Adopt-A-Community trip to Biesti, Moldova. Biesti is a community that has been adopted in partnership with Mission Impact of L’Église Protestante Évangelique de Tubize of Belgium, and Agape Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands. This time, we were joined by a team from Mission Impact. On previous trips, we have worked to build a relational foundation with the people of Biesti through several community projects. We have done home improvements, built a playground, distributed food, and even handed out 18,500 KG/40,000 lbs of coal before Christmas so families could stay warm through the winter. On this trip, we continued community development by building a fence around the local kindergarten. This helps us to forge a connection with the local education system, which is always a priority for Adopt-A-Community projects. We were also able to help out a local woman who is responsible for supporting her adult daughter with mental and physical disabilities, as well as her two nephews. With very little resources, this woman bears a heavy burden for her family. We were happy to be able to help by making refurbishments around her house, painting, cleaning, and installing insulation under her flooring. Additionally, we held two children’s events with about 165 kids in total. The children around town were invited to a “Special Kids” day where they could play games and sports, do crafts, make bracelets, and even plant a bulb in a pot to take home as a special memento from the day. There was also face-painting, singing, and quality time interacting with these kids giving them a rare treat just to show compassion. We then visited with several local families handing out food and demonstrating to the townspeople that we care and are invested in making their community a better place for them. Thank you to Mission Impact for your dedication and sacrifice for the people of Moldova. Thanks also to Agape Church, Amsterdam for your partnership in Biesti. Stories of previous trips to this community can be found here, here and here. To donate to this project, click here.
From August 12th-19th, 2013, Convoy of Hope Europe, in partnership with Cornerstone Church, Bowie, Maryland, USA, took its final Adopt-A-Community trip to Glinjeni, Moldova. Over the past three years, we have seen many goals accomplished beyond expectation in Glinjeni and this trip was no different. In one week, the team worked to paint the houses of 6 families in need, including repairing the steps and walkway of one house. We also rebuilt a stove for another family. Last year, COHEU and Cornerstone contributed to the building of a well on the local church grounds. Previously, there was not enough water in town and people had to go to neighboring villages to meet their needs. Now, there is a well in Glinjeni available to all and we performed maintenance on it this year so that the locals can have access to their own water supply for years to come! This small act has had such an impact on the community. Throughout the project, the team developed a love for a local man named Alik who lives without the use of his legs and crawls around on hands and knees as his only form of transportation. Last year, the team performed many renovations on his house and supplied him with new furniture. This year, they paved a sidewalk from his house to the street and built him an outhouse that is accessible for him. In addition to all this, a member of Cornerstone who specializes in bicycle design worked the past year to construct a unique tricycle that Alik can navigate by himself. For the first time ever, this man is able to get across town without dragging himself along the ground. The look on his face was priceless and the effects that this project and Cornerstone have had on this man’s life alone have made the whole endeavor worthwhile! Throughout the week, the team also interacted with the people, holding events for children and youth, playing games and soccer matches and even having a bouncy castle. We also visited people in their homes as well as having a pampering day for the women, who could come get massages, manicures and be made to feel special and beautiful on this rare occasion. At the end of the week, we handed out over 300 backpacks to the children with materials according to their grade level in preparation for starting school. We cannot thank Cornerstone Church and Pastor Mark Lehmann enough for the tremendous work they have done in Glinjeni the past few years. This has been one of our most successful Adopt-A-Community projects to date and it has been such a joy and a privilege to be involved. We will never know the true measure of the impact made in this community, but we are humbled to see the change effected here and look forward to seeing it continue into the future. For more information on this Glinjeni, click here To donate to this project, click here
For the fourth year in a row, Convoy of Hope Europe has partnered with Cornerstone City Church in (London)Derry, Northern Ireland for their annual “iHeartDerry” city outreach from July 1st-7th, 2013. This year we joined 80+ youths and university students from across America, along with volunteers from the local church. The week opened up with a high energy “volunteer rally” which set the atmosphere for the week to come. Volunteers were then broken up into teams and sent out to four locations; Donemana Primary School, Lisnagelvin Primary School, The Gasyard Centre, and New Pin Centre. Every morning teams held energetic, children-friendly programs which included games, songs and dance, sports, and storytelling. While this was going on, the team at New Pin Centre painted the facilities inside and out, replaced water gutters, restored the garden and installed a playground. In the afternoon, teams participated in street clean-up throughout the city. There was also a mobile medical station for blood pressure and blood sugar check-ups, and coffee/tea stations were set up as well. On July 6th, the playground at the New Pin Centre was officially opened by the Chairwoman for Development of Derry City Council. At the three locations that hosted the children's programs, an average of 243 children participated in the iHeartDerry program. We are excited to have had the privilege of seeing this project develop over the years and look forward to seeing how this year’s events continue to encourage this fantastic community!