Monday, December 7, 2009

The Future of POP?

After returning from Nepal, I searched on line for others out there that were "like-minded" as Playgrounds Of Peace. I met Jim Rosene of "Kids Around the World" on line and followed up with a phone call. It was an amazing conversation! Kids Around the World (KATW) has a project in Nepal (possibly with Women's Foundation of Nepal) and another project in POLAND!!! Both are happening in 2010. I believe this is more than a coincidence. I am constantly amazing how the Lord puts me in contact with extraordinary people in business and those involved in building playgrounds and relationships with a Gospel component. Anyway, I'm going to St. Louis on December 21st to meet with Jim Rosene in person to see what the Lord may have in store for our two organizations. Please pray.

Update on Playground Equipment

I talked with Uttam via Skype and email and it appears that our case has now be elevated to the Nepali Government Cabinet level. This is in my estimation partly due to the fact that the value of the playground equipment supplied to us by BigToys, Inc. The equipment is valued at $7,500 USD which is over a half a million Nepali Rupees! Anyway, Uttam and I drafted a letter for Tim at BigToys to sign and notarized. The original will be sent via Fed Ex to Brother Nepal who will give it to another brother who will deliver it to the Nepali government. Hopefully, the equipment will be released and delivered to Hope Home by Christmas! I'm not "holding my breath" on this development, but it looks real promising.

Friday, November 13, 2009

POP Supporters & Friends - Nepal Trip Presentation Sunday, November 15th

Dear Friends and Supporters of Playgrounds Of Peace,
You are invited to attend our team's formal de-briefing and presentation on our recent trip to Nepal. Also, we will be discussing the future of POP, upcoming trips and prospective playground & relationship building trips.

The event will be held on Sunday afternoon from 2 PM to 4 PM at the East Auditorium of Lee's Summit Community Church.

I hope to see you there.


Mr. Playground

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

POP for Poland 2010

Here are some photos of the Dom Dziecka playground where we will complete the final phase of the playground build we started in 2006. The main composite structure needs to be replaced along with the old swings and the damaged play house (installed in 2006 by our team). With the grant from FRUA (Friends of Russian & Ukrarian Adoptions) we should be able to get the job done....with a little fund raising.

No Word This Week from Nepal on Playground Equipment

I talked to Uttam and his brother (Kishor) and "Brother" Nepal are still trying to working things out through the Nepali government and the help of local people supposedly with some influence. Even with doing everything right....there is still the potential problem with corruption and bribery. Our folks in Nepal have declined further help from the US Embassy for now. They have appealed the case to their Prime Minister's office but with all the political stuff going on in that Country, it will be a small miracle if our little situation is addressed. Keep praying for a that the children can play!

POP a Separate 501c3 Organization?

Dear POP Friends & Supporters:
It appears with the recent financial reorganization at Lees Summit Community Church (LSCC), we are being encouraged to form our own separate non-profit organization and not use the church as a clearinghouse for donations and trip expense payments. Some "extension ministries" of the church have already done this or are looking into it. LSCC is still willing to coordinate the finances for Short Term Missions Trips, but at a 3% surcharge administrative cost. I'm okay with that assuming service for team leaders will improve. My question this for ALL short term missions trips sanctioned or approved by the church or for just more organized efforts like the East Asia Project, trips to the Russian orphanage and Playgrounds Of Peace? Regardless, they (church leadership) needs to post guidelines and steps for facilitating a missions trip and teach potential team leaders how to navigate through the process. Also, POP has been under the "Orphan Care" umbrella for area of ministry. Will this change? We'll see.

Therefore, POP will pursue getting a 501c3 status. We will form a Board of Directors, and probably modify our organizational name to reflect our non-profit status. I'm not sure how it's all going to shake out but I think it will be a good thing for POP. Hopefully, we'll be able to secure the help of many businesses, humanitarian groups and well as the faith-based community to "give the gift of playground to children around the world."

A special thanks goes to SendOutCards for the gift of blankets for the children of Hope for Nepal Children's Home. Blankets were number one on their list of needs this year. Thank you Kody, Leann, Eric and the whole SOC crew in Salt Lake City aw well as the other Distributors who "sent" card to the children of the home.

On to Poland....or back to Nepal!

Mr. Playground

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our Next Project: Poland Playground Build & Cowboy Bible Camp

Here is the site for the Cowboy Bible Camp where children from the 5N Baptist Church, the neighborhood and from Dom Dziecka "Droga" (children's home) will learn about horsemanship and the loving grace of Jesus Christ. Our Cowboy's and Cowgirl's from America will demonstrate Biblical truths as they work with 7 horses on the "ranch" located outside of Poznan' Poland using natural methods of horse train as promoted by various clinicians in the USA. The "ranch" has stalls, a barn, dry lots, a round pen and several pastures along with a farm house. The house is occupied by a Polish family who work with children at the 5N Baptist Church. This POP for Poland trip is tentatively scheduled for June of 2010.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Still NO Equipment. "Released by the Government"...doesn't necessarily mean "Released by the Government."

The old saying holds true in our situation...."once I figured out the answers, they change all the questions." This continues to be a very frustrating experience. I will post various recent correspondance later, because honestly it is too complicated and painful to try to explain it.

Note the photo above. The site is ready for the playground equipment. The children are waiting patiently. Please pray that the "adults" have compassion and release the equipment so the children can play.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On our Way Home

Our team spent the night at the home of missionary to Sinagpore Tom Estad and his family. They treated us to a nice seafood dinner out. We are now about to board for LAX. Looking forward to getting home. The faces of the children and remembering the view of the mountains from Nargarkot will always be on my mind. Goodbye Nepal at least for now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Visiting Nargarkot Today -Heading for Home Tomorrow

Dear POP Supporters & Friends,
After a relatively productive "relationship building" trip to the Hope for Nepal Children's Home, we returned to Kathmandu on Friday morning. We checked back into our hotel and met our new friend and guide, Ram, who is the driver and "logistics man" for Leeza from Womens Foundation of Nepal and Playgrounds NOW Nepal!. Ram rented a van and driver for us and took us to the large Stupa and we had dinner on the roof overlooking this buddist shrine. Best meal I've had in Nepal considering I was sick a couple of days. Bryce has the same thing but is up and running today in time for our trek to the "high mountains." Viewing the mountains from Nargarkot at sun rise or sunset is world famous. I believe it is on the list of 100 things you should do in your life time.

We went to the WFN cooporative and bought scrafs. The money will truly help the women and children of Nepal. Then we went to a hindu temple and it was very strange. WE are done visiting temples this trip! This morning we are all shopping. At 12 noon we are going to the mountains with our guide Ram.

Needless to say....but I will say it again....we accomplished the relationship portion of the mission of POP but still have work yet to do. The playground continues to sit in storage near the airport and neither us, nor the US Government or friends of the Orphanage staff can make those in control of releasing it to let us have the equipment. We continue to pray and I believe it will have, just now while we are here.

Thanks to all our POP friends and supporters for your financial gifts and prayers. I am looking forward to coming home.

ON to Poland in 2010

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time is Running Out

I am writing this on Thursday morning in Nepal. Even with the help of Karla at Pilot, involvement from the US Department of State and our local efforts, the playground equipment for Hope for Nepal Children's Home still sit in a warehouse near the KTM airport in Kathmandu. Expo Express Services, a sub-contractor of Aramex, the international partner of Pilot Frieght Services continues to hold our cargo for ransom. Of course they won't tell us Americans or Pilot this but they DID try to demand a bribe of $15,000 USD, plus change the Orphanage officials money for a worthless document.

The trip still has been well worth it! The relationships we have built with the Orphanage staff and the children has been fantastic. Had we waited until all the paperwork and dealing with the government been completed BEFORE arriving in Nepal, I honestly believe we would still be in Lee's Summit. We have two of the four documents needed to get the equipment released to the home through normal channels which are the Invoice and the packing list. Now, the Orphanage staff must run the gauntlet of governmental red tape (like Eastern Europe) to get the equipment to the playground site. I am confident at this point that the equipment will be released and transported to the site, but most likely not while we are here.

We did get the loose-fill, safety surfacing (sand) containment border completed on Wednesday with much needed help from the older boys here at the orphanage. This IS essential part of the mission of Playgrounds Of Peace. Our men working side-by-side with Nepal youth. It's just like working in the back yard with your "POP." You could tell from the looks on their faces that they were proud of THEIR accomplishments and the confirmation our men gave them was water to soul and self-esteem.

Last night our hosts and the children treated us to a concert and performance of traditional Nepali dances. They love to sing, praise the Lord and dance. We should be so happy ourselves! This is a beautiful place with beautiful people!

Our two teachers have been given the opportunity to teach the home-schoolers (younger children) all week. Our Registered Child Psy. & Play Therapist has had a wonderful time working individually with the children and teaching the home parents about child development issues. Duane, our builder, has had a ball building the bamboo containment area for the playground. Bill "Papa Bill" Helbling, has had a blast just showing the love of Christ to and praying for the children. There there is me.....Mr. Playground. I was sick for the past day and a half but doing better today. I am just taking it all in and making notes. I am finding out even more that kids are the same every where. Play behaviors are the same the world over! I got a real kick out of the little ones playing under the old slide and bringing me an array of "food and beverages." It is just confirmation in my mind that God has given me the mission of "bringing the gift of play to children around the world." It all starts with a playground...although in this case the playground will come later. I AM MR. PLAYGROUND.

Even More Photos of Hope for Nepal

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Photos from Nepal

Update from Nepal

After a very long series of airline flight, we finally arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal. We spent the first night at the Hotel Excelsior in the Thamal area of the city. It is full of narrow streets, shops, people and uncontrolled traffic. We were all glad to leave the city and head for the rural area of the valley where the Hope for Nepal Children's Home is located. We were great with song, flowers and hugs from all the children. This moment made the hard journey and fund-raising all worth it!

The major problem has been we have not been able to get the playground equipment. It is being somewhat held "hostage: by the sub-contractor of the international partner of our shipping company and "red tape" of the government. Not knowing what else to do, we decided to clear and prepare the ground for the new playground. Like in Poland, we needed to use what was readily available in terms of materials and tools. We cleared the land by using small hand tool type hoes. Now we are using bamboo to build a retaining wall and safety surfacing (loose-fill) containment area.
Karla, who works for our shipping company, is doing her best to have the equipment release in time for us to build the playground. She has contacted the US Department of State and has tried to make sense of the confusing process of getting donated equipment to the home.

This is an absolutely beautiful place and the orphanage is better than we expected. The Orphanage staff and kids have been great to work with. They are wonderful hosts.

Please pray for our team's health and for us getting the playground equipment.
Thanks again for everyone's support.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Letter from David Richardson - Moldova Orphanage

Moldova time; Thursday 9/24/09 7:45am - US. Central time; Wednesday 9/23/09 11:45pm
Here are some of the kids that are in my group, their are also a few babies that are only 1-2 months old. The last 2 pictures are the girls that I volunteer with, live in the same flat with and Vica loves there with us. The girl in my cowboy hat is Ruth, she is 18. The girl on the swing is Jessica, she is 19. We all have a lot of fun playing with the children and outside the orphanage. Both of the girls are from England, they met online while planning their trips to Moldova. They emailed each other for 7 months before meeting for the first time here at the airport in Chisinau, they get along smashingly well for never having met before and the are so funny.
Well I need to get ready to go, I am going to visit a boarding school and sit in on a lecture that Vica is giving today.
in Christ,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Fund-raiser Opportunity Through SendOutCards...the "SOCBox"

Greetings POP Supporters and SOC:

If anyone has been looking at SendOutCards yet felt they could not afford the $398 to get involved. There is a new option now that was just announced at the convention in Salt Lake City called the SOCBox .....

We will be able to market a Party Plan Package as a product it will be a $50 commissionable
sale. We will be able to expand our market through those who want to build SOC through a Party Plan model (Note: Nothing is changing with out current MLM Comp plan). As a SOC Affiliate you will be able to enroll people who want to market SOC through the home party model.

Retail Affiliate Plan
Low cost entry for the Party Plan Model

SOC has made a package called the SOCBox which includes a DVD Presentation
and from that DVD they have a business in a box and account for SOC. Includes
credits to send 10 Greeting cards and access to our card editor Picture Plus.

$25 Wholesale $49 Retail ($100 Bonus if you sell 10 boxes Thats a total of
$340.00 in commissions once) 30 day activation for the 10 boxes.

(This product has been being tested with some of the leaders in SOC with home parties
for several months with a huge success!)

In a nutshell people can come into SOC through the party plan model and those
people who do this will qualify the business builder commissions and bonuses as
the Home Party Model grows.

If you want more information just email me at


Mark White
Playgrounds Of Peace

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FRUA gives POP $5,000 Grant for POP for Poland 2010

The FRUA Board decided to support your playground build in Poland with $5000.  I tried to push for more than this amount, but was unsuccessful.  I am hopeful that this can be the beginning of a relationship between FRUA and Playgrounds of Peace.  Maybe in subsequent years, if you are building a playground in Eastern Europe or Russia, FRUA will provide an even higher level of support.  I will be drafting a formal letter with this amount, but wanted to let you know as soon as possible.

When do you head off to Nepal?  How many individuals will be on your volunteer team on this build?  I know you are super busy with your preparations for this build. 

I am sending you positive energy for your upcoming build in Nepal,

Note: This letter is from my good friend and POP advocate Adele Raade.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9.11 NEVER, NEVER Forget!

Message from David Richardson - POP for Moldova

I have borrowed a camera till I can get mine operational.
A few days after I arrived, Vica and I went through some of the stuff that I bought in Chicago, we organized and separated it to take to a couple of different orphanages. In some of the pictures you will see where we took some of it to "Save the Children" orphanage for the kids.
We also went to a boarding school outside of town the next day, I took pictures of where they slept, ate, played and of the kids. The best picture and story is of a little boy named Mihai, he had a degenerative eye problem and about a year ago they said if he does not have surgery soon he will go totally blind. Vica raised the money to have this procedure done, he is blind in one eye and can only see partially out of the other, but at least he has some vision. You can see them in the last two pictures, you will see a grateful little boy and a bond between him and Vica that goes beyond words.
I am looking forward to the rest of the week. I keep all these children in my thoughts and prayers, I get closer to the children everyday and it becomes a little bit harder to walk away each day. One little boy that I take outside each day ( his name is Mishka ) he has discovered he can walk backwards, so when we first go outside, we walk backwards everywhere. I will get a picture of him soon and show you.
It is late and I need to get to bed, it is 10:00pm my time and 2:00pm your time, but next time I will tell you about and get pictures of Maxium. He looks to be about a 3 or 4 month old baby, anyway, I will tell you about him next time.
in Christ,

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quote of the Day for Play

"We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." - Unknown

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Playground Equipment from BigToys

Okay, so we're going to build the playground where a corn patch and small hen house currently resides. As long as the they can grow food else where on the property, I'm fine with THEIR selection of a site of the new playground. The piece selected won't fit anywhere else. Please pray that the ground will be prepared as much as possible before our team arrives and that we can get enough sand and border containment material (wood timbers, bricks, rock, etc.) to keep the sand inside the safe use zone. Of course we need concrete and hand tools as well. Thanks again to Tim Madeley, President of BigToys for his help with this project and the generous donation of equipment!

Playground Site Selection - Equipment Shipment is Pending

Monday, August 17, 2009

All Seven Team Members are Going!

Through some miraculous events last week, all seven team members for from Lee's Summit Community Church are going to Nepal in October! The flights have been booked and tickets purchased. Thanks to all our contributors and prayer support people.

More Photos from the Build Site

The last set of photos were actually of the current basketball court. The current playground (which we didn't know they had) is located next to the basketball court, across a small wall. The playground consists of swings (1 bay, 2 seats), a see-saw and a slide. Surfacing is gravel and dirt. The size of this playground and current configuration may prevent us from installing the BigToy play structure in this area. Also, there is a utility pole located inside the playground. The alternative as explored for us by Leezsa of WFN is currently a corn field and chicken coop. Here are the photos of the old playground and possible new site for the BigToys equipment.

Photos from Build Site

The above photos were taken by another American currently in Nepal and working with the Womens Federation of Nepal. I met Leeza through KaBOOM. She is coordinating efforts to build playgrounds in Nepal as well. Thank you Leeza!