Exciting News: New Life Announces Gymnasium/Auditorium Expansion Project!
It has been a passion for NLCS since its inception to provide access to high-quality Christian K-12 education to families who could not typically afford it. This passion extends beyond Cattaraugus and Allegany counties all the around the world, specifically to northeast Brazil and Ghana. It is the desire of the NLCS family to bring as many underprivileged international students here to Olean, NY, as possible while at the same time providing hands on support through our international missions programs.
The first NLCS group traveled to Brazil in 1997 to help various Christian ministries. This group of students and alumni were eager to assist missionaries who, despite limited resources, devote their lives to helping orphans and others in need. This first trip allowed us to meet many wonderful people and helped us establish many relationships that have grown deep over the years. NLCS groups returned to Brazil for month-long missions trips in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
The NLCS community continues to have a tremendous love for the people of Brazil. NLCS students work diligently for a year and a half to raise the money needed for the trip. The NLCS group typically stays at orphanages, serving as a support team for the missionary staff and creating life-long friendships with both the orphans and the staff. Students have always been impressed with the sacrifice orphanage staff members make by working hard year-round with little financial reward. Their focus is on helping raise up quality, productive, citizens who love Jesus with all their heart.
Some of the work NLCS students perform while in Brazil include cooking, cleaning, painting, building, and playing with the children. We strive to lighten the heavy burdens of the staff and to bless the orphanages and the children who live there.
NLCS students have traveled to Brazil during two seasons, the wet and dry. While both are rewarding experiences everyone agrees that the dry season is the most gratifying. The Brazilian dry season takes place during December and January meaning that our group was down there for the Christmas season. NLCS graduate Ben Dodge, who has traveled to Brazil on two occasions, observes, “Some of us were a little apprehensive about leaving our homes and families over such important holidays, but when the trip was over the verdict was unanimous; it was the most rewarding, memorable and meaningful Christmas and New Years ever! Words cannot describe the pure joy we felt after we gave as much as we could to children and organizations with so little. The immense appreciation for even the smallest gift touched all of our hearts.”
New Life’s external mission also reaches strongly towards Ghana. Since spring 2012 NLCS students have been traveling to Ghana in order to help out at Christian schools’ and orphanages’. Perhaps the best reflection of these trips comes from Morris Taylor, a Ghanaian studying at New Life who accompanied us on these trips
After long and tedious preparations beginning at the end of summer, we, the New Life Christian School youth group, solidified plans to embark on a missions trip to Ghana, Africa, my homeland. Many months of work, and strenuous fundraising efforts finally saw the fruition of our journey. Selling corn bags door to door in the dead of winter as we wiped our runny noses on anything available and strutted stiff from door to door after basketball practice and on numerous nights after school all came to an end when we finally reached our fundraising goal to support this trip. This preparation was a distinct contrast to our time in Ghana where we were faced with extreme heat that caused sweat to stream down our faces and bodies whether we were working hard sanding down and painting all of the railings or sitting still and tutoring children. Two extremes of apparent discomfort, but both reaped joy as footprints of love were left in the lives of orphans and God worked in and through us.
As a Ghanaian studying in the United States of America, and being given the privilege of enjoying the “best of both worlds”, my outlook on the trip, as expected, may have been different, but the same sentiment of joy and satisfaction that all participants felt fills my heart when I reminisce on the touching experiences had. For me, the trip was indeed a life changing endeavor never to be forgotten and turned out to be the character building, eye opening, team bonding, out reaching 3 weeks I had anticipated. It was heartwarming to observe and be a part of the interaction between these two nations, cultures, and families, both which I can call my own. Our youth group participants on this trip from America, Ghana, Mali, and Brazil made this a cultural banquet of diversity as differing mindsets, backgrounds and nationalities all worked in unison to prepare a feast of love and to bring glory to God.
Our time was utilized to the fullest as we did all we could to leave the orphanage in better condition than we found it. Our desire was to bless them through our every word and action and bring encouragement to both the children and the staff members whose lives are dedicated to the care of orphans. We organized and cleaned a library, scraped, sanded and painted all the metal work on the entire school, helped with cooking, cleaning, and also some of our teachers took over classes while we supplemented as tutors. After school hours were spent playing with the children, sharing a devotional time together and giving them the attention they so desperately needed. After dark we would head back to our dormitory rooms, exhausted, joyful and fulfilled, hoping to get some much needed rest so we would wake up strong and ready to give all we had to give the next morning.
I think it was a wonderful experience for all the participants including myself. We left behind our comfortable homes and gave up our comfortable lives for 3 weeks of service in an orphanage with other precious little children. We spent our Easter vacation in a country where hardship often accompanies life and poverty is an evident reality yet love and laughter are ubiquitous. From Olean, NY to Accra, Ghana, many thousand miles apart it was all in all a blessing, and I now count myself rather fortunate to be a full part of both, precious worlds.
–Morris K. Taylor – Reflections on 2012 Ghana Missions Trip