Saturday, March 26, 2016

Miracle in the Desert

In 1954 Reverend Jim and Vera Dingman had a desire to give their lives to caring for children who were hurting and who had faith that God would provide all they needed. Today, Sunshine Acres still is a place of hope for children. No matter the reason why children come to Sunshine Acres – parents in prison, a parent too ill to care for the child or homelessness – they can count on this miracle in the desert for a safe place to call home, food, clothing, activities and, most importantly, love. No child is ever turned away for financial reasons.  

Since 1954 Sunshine Acres has been home to more than 1,600 children and still today children will not be turned away for financial reasons. They do not receive government support for the children and though they are donor funded, they do no fundraising or solicitation for themselves. Many friends, businesses, churches and volunteers contribute and host fundraising events on behalf of the home, and God is still working miracles!
The Dingman's out of pure faith bought 150 acres in the desert of Arizona for $125,000. On Thursday I decided I wanted to drive to Sunshine Acres to find out more about their mission, how many children were currently being housed and how I could help.  As I entered the front office I was greeted with a friendly smile.  I asked if it would be possible for me to assemble easter baskets for all the children.  The happy sweet lady said "Of course, the children will love it."  There are 70 children currently housed, 40 boys and 30 girls.  
Last night I told Frenchie what I was doing, he was surprised I had chosen Sunshine Acres because the builder he works for, Jeff Blandford has donated a boys and girls home on the property and is currently building another boys home.  He asked if he could come to help for a little bit.
This morning I arrived at Sunshine Acres around 9:30 and began to assemble the baskets.  When Frenchie showed up a sweet peace was in the room where we  began to place love into each basket.  He could not stay long but I appreciated the time I had with him.
I am Blessed

I wanted each basket to be perfect, as if it were for one of my own children or grandchildren.  Some of these children have been abandoned, when they arrive it is reasonably difficult for them to open up and trust.  They have been so hurt and disconnected from a real home.  Sunshine Acres is a shield of protection for them.  They teach the children how to be happy, no matter the circumstances. Yes, it is hard, most definitely lonely at times but soon they begin to understand no child is so damaged that they can't change.  They learn that God will always provide a way.  Eventually they discover they are loved, they have purpose and that they do have something to give to the world.  I see Sunshine Acres as a healing place.  From the very beginning it was all about loving a child.  When we give a child love it will change hearts.  We have the power within us to help change the next generation showing them their potential and purpose in life, stopping the cycle of abuse and neglect.
Entrance to the boys home

The Petting Zoo

Donation from Jeff Blandford

Girls Home, named after Jeff Blandford's
mother Bonnie

One of the canvas pictures in the Girls room

The Kitchen storage area

The beautiful kitchen

All the neighborhood children were hanging
out at Bonnie's today!!

Sunshine Acres is solar powered, and what a beautiful view

The front of Bonnie's girls home

The entrance to the church where
every child attends on Sundays

I love that everything including the Church
is on the property.

I was able to take a tour of Sunshine Acres, I was not allowed to take pictures with any children but I can tell you they are happy!!  I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness of each home, and the polite lovable children I met. Today was a great day, I decided my family will all be included next time; a new family tradition.