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Responsible to Steward

By Scott Vair | President Last month I traveled to Guatemala, along with the rest of the World Orphans Board of Directors, to visit our projects and ministry partners. Over the last several years, we have developed an amazing partnership with AMG Guatemala, a Gospel and child-focused ministry located in Guatemala City with whom we have many shared values.

World Orphans Board of Directors with staff in Guatemala
World Orphans Board of Directors with staff in Guatemala

While at the main AMG Guatemala campus, we spent some time with their President, Brian Dennett. For the sake of our board members who hadn’t met Brian or heard the vision of AMG, he shared a bit about their decades of ministry in Guatemala, where they have largely focused on education and medical care.

“We did not start this ministry, but we have the privilege and responsibility to steward it well.”
— Brian Dennett, President AMG Guatemala

Brian explained that he and his staff are not the founders of AMG Guatemala, (nor am I and my staff the founders of World Orphans), but we both have, as Brian stated, the privilege and responsibility to steward the ministries well.

During my nine years at World Orphans, I have seen families pack up their belongings and move to foreign countries to help facilitate our ministry. I’ve seen incredibly talented people faithfully raise personal support from family and friends in order to lend their expertise to this ministry. I’ve seen thousands of donors sacrificially give, from change collected by children to tens of thousands of dollars donated by foundations, churches, and individuals who believe in what we are doing. As a result, thousands of orphaned children, vulnerable families, and refugees have received love and care from the local church.

What a privilege to be part of this.

What a responsibility to steward.

We have worked hard to do just that - to steward well, in a way that honors God and those who have sacrificed much to give, go, and pray for World Orphans.

It is one of the reasons we obtained and maintain our accreditation with the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


“ECFA enhances trust in Christ-centered churches and ministries by establishing and applying Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ to accredited organizations.

Founded in 1979, ECFA provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, transparency, fundraising, and board governance.

ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, drawn from Scripture, are fundamental to operating with integrity.

The ECFA standards are infrequently changed, providing members a steady baseline for consistent application of the standards to members. The standards have been described as simple, but not simplistic. The brief statements included in the standards have significant implications for organizations that pledge to follow these standards. They are not standards that allow for grading on the curve. Rather, they are pass-fail standards. ECFA members must comply with all of the standards, all of the time.”

We take these standards seriously, and we are committed to following them. We trust that in doing so, we give confidence to our supporters that their gifts are being used well, and that we are an organization worthy of their time, talents, and treasures.

"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."  2 Corinthians 8:21

It is a privilege to serve at World Orphans. We pray that our words, our actions, our thoughts, and our plans bring honor and glory to the Lord.



Power To Act

By Matthew Hanks | Director of Advocacy

Have you ever had a strong yearning to help in a situation but have not known how?  I live in Colorado Springs, and a several weeks back, some 500 not-too-distant neighbors of mine lost their homes. Watching the fire consume hundreds of acres of prime real estate, billions of dollars in terms of equity and, worse yet, immeasurable amounts of dreams and memories had me itching to respond with aid. But with each day that the fire roared on, the reality that I could do very little to help sank in. I felt powerless. The only thing I could do to truly assist in this tragedy was to pray.

At the same time of this event, my wife, Amelia, was being told she needed to have a stereotactic biopsy to rule out breast cancer. Again, wanting to do something to help, it was even more in my face that the only practical thing that I could do was pray.

Both of these situations brought on extreme feelings of helplessness. The fire brought on feelings of wanting to help others, but not being able to. The medical procedure, being more personal, brought on feelings of uncertainty and fear; feelings that fit a more typical definition of the word helplessness: unable to help oneself.

Looking back at these coinciding occurrences, I’m reminded of the story of Gideon, where the Lord cuts the Army’s ranks by 90% so that the people would not say, “my own hand has saved me.” Though the courageous army of fire fighters fought an amazing and honorable fight, it was ultimately the directional change of the wind and the subsequent rain that kept it from continuing its path of destruction. A community’s prayers were answered. Prayer again was victorious when Amelia showed up for her biopsy. The concerning mass, that was seen clear as day on the original ultrasound, was no longer there when the technician went looking for it.  It had literally vanished! To God be all the glory.

The relationship between these two types of “feelings of helplessness” (1. Not being able to help oneself; 2. Not being able to help someone else) often comes to mind when I think about orphan care in the developing world. Obviously, the orphans and vulnerable children World Orphans serves would fall under the ‘unable to help oneself’ definition. We exist as a ministry primarily because of these helpless ‘little ones of His.’ The more exposure to them, their circumstances, stories, afflictions and pains, the more we feel that strong yearning to do something.

World Orphans also exists as a vehicle for you, the church in North America, to respond to that desire to help and to alleviate the feelings of helplessness as experienced in the case of the fire. It is our desire to ‘equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ’ (Eph 4:12-16).  Serving the US church is also at the heart of what we do.

But there’s one more party in the equation of our orphan care model: the “saints” in the countries where the orphan pandemic is out of control.  The feelings of helplessness that we in Colorado Springs experienced for those four days that the fire raged is what they live with daily when it comes to rescuing the orphans in their midst. Where prayer and God’s provision are one piece of our rescue plan, in the US we tend to trust more on things like fire departments and ultrasounds. The needs of our vulnerable are met by government subsidized housing, Medicaid, food subsidies, public schools, and the state run foster care system.

The churches in these developing nations know that if they do nothing, no one will. The tragedy here is that they, our brothers and sisters, often times don’t have the resources to take care of their own children, let alone someone else’s. The desire to help burns in them, yet they know all they can practically do is pray. They feel powerless to act.

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”  -Proverbs 3:27

As I’ve raised support to fund the ministry that the Lord has put in my heart to do, I’m often reminded of how easy I have it compared to those in ministry in the majority world church. I live in a nation where there’s a Christian majority; where we are given a tax incentive to donate to ministry; where we have networks of family and friends with disposable income to rely on. Working in full-time ministry is a luxury that even the head pastors of most churches outside the US don’t have.   Theologically, I’m sure their church bodies would love to meet the needs of their pastor… just like they’d surely love to take in all the orphans in their communities.  They just can’t.

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  -Gal 6:10

World Orphans is committed to rescuing orphaned & abandoned children, strengthening the local church, and impacting communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through church-based, family focused programs.



Here AND There

By Nate Livesay | Director of Advocacy

Last May I made the decision to begin raising support to join the staff at World Orphans. It has been amazing to see all the ways that God has been teaching me and making me new this year. I have learned that God is faithful to provide all that we need and that my wife, Leandra, and I are blessed to have some tremendously generous and loving friends and family.


I have continued to learn that the world is bigger than I thought it was; that the impact of evil people and evil systems is reality; and that if I close my eyes and choose not to be concerned with the impact of the way I use my time, talent, and treasure, I become part of that evil system that exploits the poor and vulnerable and shapes a world filled with injustice and vulnerable children.I have learned that answers are hard to find sometimes. The problems of generational poverty, injustice, and orphan care are complex and multifaceted, and the solutions to poverty, justice, and orphan care are not simple, easy, or quick. The solutions require not just good intentions and a desire to help – they require hard questions, patience, hard work, a willingness to learn and adjust strategies and plans to make the solutions sustainable.


I have also learned that God isn't satisfied with grand one-time gestures. What He wants from us is the routine, unglamorous willingness to die to ourselves daily and be obedient to what He is calling us to do in each moment.I have learned that following Christ is not something that can be taken care of with a single decision – following Christ requires us to pay the price to follow Him each day because we believe that He is enough for us.


I have learned that serving God cannot be classified by a concern for people "here" or for people "over there."  For many years I used concern for the people "here" as a way to ignore what was happening "over there."  On a Journey 117 trip to Ethiopia in December of 2011, God broke my heart for what breaks His. He showed me that I couldn’t continue living a life consumed by what was happening to me and my family and my community while ignoring the reality of what was happening to millions of orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable children being ignored or treated as commodities instead of valued children made in the image of their Creator.


I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to play a small role in what God is doing through World Orphans and the churches we are partnered with. I am thankful for the opportunity to share what World Orphans is doing by speaking to churches and leading Journey 117 teams to Haiti or Ethiopia.


I am thankful for the growth of the Sumter Rescue Team and for their hard work and dedication in raising awareness and funds for World Orphans projects from right here in Sumter.


For me the danger is now reversed - I can't allow my work on behalf of the fatherless we serve internationally to justify not having an obedient concern for the fatherless right here in South Carolina. There is some necessary tension here - I don't have the answers, but I know that this tension is making me choose much more intentionally to use my time, talent, and treasure with an attitude that recognizes that all I have was given to me by God to be used to advance His name. God is using this tension to make me into the man He wants me to be and drawing me closer to having the heart that He wants me to have for the fatherless both here and there.



World Orphans Rescue Run

Rescued to Run…Running to Rescue Hebrews 12:1-3:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Endurance, perseverance, strict discipline, and training all mark the life of one who is striving to win a race.

1 Corinthians 9:24:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.

The Lord speaks to me when I run. Many people enjoy running. I never have. The aches and pains, shortness of breath, and the simple reality that I would rather be doing about anything else often keeps me from the focus and discipline that are needed to move beyond this stage.

I have run a marathon, several half marathons, and many 5K’s.  I can say with all of them, that I have never run in such a way as to get the prize. Running the race in such as a way requires more than motion; it requires submission, earnestness, focus and zeal. My desire for ease and comfort are often in direct conflict with the manner in which I am called to run.

Paul reminds me to consider Christ as I run. Christ ran against the greatest opposition of all (sinful man) and he ran all the way to the cross. He submitted Himself to the process for the joy that was set before him and the race was certainly not easy.

My sinful life has been rescued and I have been rescued to run. I have been set free to run the race of faith for all that my journey will include.

On October 13, 2012, runners across America will have the opportunity to link arms and take action with The Rescue Run, a national race series that raises global awareness and funds to help rescue orphans and break the cycle of poverty, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, prostitution and slavery in developing countries.

The Rescue Run is not just any race; it is a way to engage and participate in the rescue of orphans and grant even more opportunity to proclaim the eternal hope of Jesus Christ. Join me as we zealously run against fatherlessness, abandonment, and abuse.  May we run this race in such a way and may we together ‘consider Christ’ so that we do not grow weary or lose heart.



'The Jesus Storybook Bible' For Orphans In Haiti

Updated 10/28: We've reached our funding goal. Thank you! We have a unique way a church or individual can partner with World Orphans work in Haiti.

Many people don't know that French - not Creole - is the primary written language taught in most schools in Haiti - including at our OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Child) partner churches. As we continue to build into and provide resources to our partner churches and their schools, we've been looking for resources that can be used to teach French, engage children, and share the Gospel.

Vice President of Projects, Scott Vair, uses "The Jesus Storybook Bible" written by Sally Llyod-Jones in his home.  For those who are not familiar with the book - it does an outstanding job of communicating the Gospel to children (and adults) showing how Bible stories (particularly old testament stories) whisper the name and coming of Jesus. It demonstrates that each individual story is part of a larger story that is the Gospel. You can read more about it here:

Here is a paragraph from that website:

Every Story Whispers His Name…

Written for children ages four and up, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the one story underneath all the stories of the Bible and points to the birth of a child, the Rescuer, Jesus. Complete with 44 Bible stories, The Jesus Storybook Bible paints a beautiful portrait of Jesus and invites children to see that he is not only at the center of God’s great story of redemption—he is at the center of their story too. Children and adults alike will be captivated by the beautifully written narrative and the original and unique illustrations by accomplished artist Jago. Lloyd-Jones’ powerful gift of storytelling draws the reader into the greatest adventure of all time in an exciting page-turner that kids (and adults) find hard to put down.

We've been in contact with Sally Llyod-Jones and her publisher about the book, which has been translated into French. Due to their generosity in waving royalties, we are able to purchase 500 French copies of the book for only $1,855 which is less than $4 a copy. We will then distribute them to our 11 church partners in Haiti for use in the churches, schools, and homes caring for orphans.

And if you don't yet own a copy of this book for your home - get one - it's awesome.



Eight-Year Old Creates "Ade for Aid" Lemonade Stand

MarlowEight-year old Marlow is enjoying her summer like every other kid who welcomes a break from school. But she's using some of that free time to help other kids through World Orphans. Marlow opened up her "Ade for Aid" lemonade stand with all the proceeds benefiting World Orphans.

Marlow's dad has seen the work of World Orphans first hand when he traveled to Uganda with a group from their church in 2009. Their church partners with Father's Divine Love Ministries in Jinja.

Marlow raised about $60 in two days and plans to do it again.

We love seeing kids work and give generously to help orphans!

Thanks Marlow!


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Grace, 7, Sells Eggs to Help Orphans

When Grace, 7, was given the choice between a pet cat or a pet chicken, she chose the pet chicken because of it's ability to lay eggs. Grace immediately recognized that if she sold her chicken's eggs, she could help others in need. Now her chicken coop has grown and Grace has donated $180 to World Orphans "Shoes for orphans" and "Help orphans not get sold as slaves" funds.

Find out more about how you can help Grace on her website and watch this short video.

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Kids Get Creative To Help Orphans In Haiti

kids-with-alanSince learning about the ongoing effects of the earthquake in Haiti, five Dallas kids decided to make a difference. By selling homemade jewelry, lemonade and cookies, Mackenzie Gray, 11, Katie Gray, 9, Madison Gray, 6, Grace Harkins, 11, Sam Harkins, 8, raised $86.72 to help orphaned kids in Haiti.

The group gave their proceeds to World Orphans bridge fund which directly impacts hundreds of children overseas.



Spend Time With Friends, Change a Child's Life Through a Home for the Holidays Party

This year, you along with your closest friends can make an orphaned child's holiday wish come true. By hosting a "Home for the Holidays" party, you can celebrate with friends, discuss the orphan crisis and directly impact a child's life Every year, millions of children around the world share a single holiday wish. Instead of hoping for the latest toy or most popular game, these children long for something deeper, a home.

That is the focus of World Orphans and our church partners around the globe. Through the Continuum of Care model, the indigenous church is able to provide small family-style homes to hundreds of orphans in China, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and around the world.

We are grateful for your part in helping these children's dreams become reality.

We also know that there are thousands of people who are simply unaware of the global orphan crisis and do not know how they can help.

This holiday season World Orphans is launching "Home for the Holidays" - a fun and easy way to host a party with friends, family, co-workers,  and neighbors where you can share your passion for helping orphans.

We'll supply you with printed invitations, a Party Planning Guide and we'll even arrange to have one of our advocates come and speak at your gathering. Your Home for the Holidays party can be a simple dessert night or themed night centering on a specific country.

By hosting a Home For the Holidays party, you can help meet the needs of children around the world and give them the greatest gift, a home for the holidays.


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WO Update From Southern California

By Jeremy Handysides

I’m excited to say that God has opened some really cool doors recently. I stopped by a surf shop to talk to the owner who I’ve had the honor of knowing and showed him a flyer about World Orphans.

He immediately got excited and said he had been praying for an opportunity to donate hundreds of shoes he’s had  to orphans. Please pray that this will happen. World Orphans has a project in Guatemala that provides shoes to orphans who work in the trash dump. Kids there literally die or can become seriously ill due to infections from stepping on sharp, contaminated objects, so a simple pair of shoes can save their lives.

The  Grombomb Surf contest to benefit World Orphans projects in Haiti is coming up on Oct.30th. I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the community here in San Diego about it. We will have artists creating live art and surf-product raffles. If you or your business want to donate items to go in the raffle, contact Jeremy Handysides at

It is my prayer that events like this will stir people’s hearts up to get involved with World Orphans in one or all of the following ways:

1. Going a mission trip to see the need first hand and to get to meet the people they are supporting

2. By donating money to a World Orphans project

3. By volunteering time to help orphans & widows in need

4. By encouraging our Western church leaders to partner with indigenous churches that need our support.

There are more than 143 million orphans in this world.  Everyone reading this can make a difference.

Some people just need a chance, an opportunity to get out of poverty. There are already so many awesome stories of orphans who were literally dying of starvation, victims of sex trafficking, abused by drugs or people, but through the World Orphans ministry were saved off the streets.

They are now healthy kids who went from these completely desperate situations to getting all of their spiritual, physical, emotional and educational needs taken care of by  Christ-centered people who love them. Now they are going back into their communities and bringing light and hope to where there was none before.

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'Night of Hope' in Tenn. Benefits WO Home in Kenya

We kicked off our new C2C partnership with Fountain of Hope last week by providing a coffee house at River Oaks Community Church in Maryville, Tenn.  It was a delightful and special evening!As people entered into our time together, they came through and experienced a typical home visit in the slums of Kicheko in Nairobi, Kenya.

It was family night at River Oaks, complete with children sitting on blankets on the floor, small groups seated together, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filling the air.

This was a great opportunity for the team who went over in July to share more specifically about the individual children of FOH as well as unpack the specific logistics of how

the partnership will unfold between our two churches over the next five years.

We ended with suggested ways of contributing to this great cause by as simple an idea as one less pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks a week.  We realize that the smallest sacrifice will grant school fees and basic care for one of the children.

Most importantly, we prayed, asking that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we would be gripped by God to consider the rescue of the orphan as we do this one child, one church, and one community at a time through our new partnership with FOH.

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WO Church Partner Takes Support A Step Further

After sending a group to a WO home in Kenya, River Oaks Community Church in Maryville, Tenn. is taking their support a step further. Since their partnership with Fountain of Hope church in Nairobi, Kenya is relatively new, the church is hosting an entire evening dedicated to educating the congregation about the partnership and raising funds to support the project.

"Join us in hearing about our new partnership/relationship with Fountain of Hope in Nairobi, Kenya this Sunday night. It's going to be a sweet time in the Lord! 'Disciple making is not about a program or an event but about a relationship'-Radical-David Platt," wrote Kathy Davis, River Oaks member and WO staffer.

The evening will have a coffee-house feel and will include interactive exhibits about slum-life in Africa and stories about the summer trip to Kenya.

"Team 1:27 of River Oaks invites you to A Night of Hope. Join us as we see & hear amazing stories of 16 kids in Kenya. Enjoy coffee & dessert with us & be given the opportunity to share hope & love. Dessert & coffee served at 5:30pm with the time of sharing at 6:00pm," according to a public facebook invite.

A Night of Hope

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: 1220 Brown School Rd, Maryville, TN


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A Need in Haiti, Guest House Lacks Generator

I've been to Haiti 6 times since February. We've started a new program at 10 churches caring for 200 orphans through a home based care program. We've partnered those churches in Haiti with churches here in the U.S. to provide the funding, and to go and serve. It became apparent to me along the way that we needed to open a guesthouse so the teams from the U.S. would have a consistent place to stay. Lodging is a bit tricky. So I rented a house, bought some furniture, hired some staff, and presto – you got your guest house.

Now we've found a couple that will raise support to move to Haiti to serve as the guesthouse managers, which will be a huge relief. In the meantime, I manage it from afar.

The power is inconsistent at best. During my last visit it was hot, very hot – and humid, very humid. The guesthouse doesn't have A/C, it has oscillating fans. Unfortunately they don't work so well when the power goes out.

So…we need to buy a generator, and we need some help. We've found a donor that will pay for half so we need to raise the other half - about $1300.



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WO Supporter Finds Creative Way to Raise Funding

For her 30th birthday, a World Orphans supporter set a life-changing goal. Instead of asking friends and family for gifts, she asked for donations to help support the World Orphans transition home for girls in Moldova. "So why is this post titled "THIRTY"? Well, I'm turning 30 this month and to celebrate I'm going to do something a little crazy in my "old age" ;) This may be a totally embarrassing flop but I'm going to do it anyway," According to her blog, burgessbasecamp.

"I am setting a goal to raise $900 for World Orphans towards vocational training supplies for girls rescued from the sex trade in Moldova. That is 30 people giving $30, and we need to do it in 30 days."

"Girls in Eastern Europe age-out of the orphanage system there on their 15th birthdays. They are set loose on the streets, with little money and no friends or family to go home to. They frequently think they are applying for a job or housing and are instead tricked into a life of slavery as a prostitute. They are trafficked all over the world as prisoners, beaten and abused with little hope of escape. They disappear into this hell and no one misses them."

"For the price of a dinner out, a pair of shoes or jeans, a family trip to the movies-- give these girls a chance to have their dignity back."

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WO Staffers Raise School Funds for Uganda Project In Less Than 24 Hours

In less than 24 hours, World Orphans staffers Mark and Julie Gumm raised enough money to send 20 Ugandan children to school. They didn't host a formal dinner or a WO video viewing, they created a fundraising campaign on the MyWorldOrphans site, used their blogs  as a marketing tool,  and committed their own resources to jump-start the process.

"Because of God’s blessing we want to pay it forward and one of the ways we’re doing that is to help these beautiful kids at one of World Orphans projects in Uganda go to school. Education is a VITAL piece in breaking the cycle of orphaning and abandonment," Mark Gumm wrote on his blog on Aug. 12.

"There are 20 kids. School fees are $62 each. So here’s the challenge…We’ll match every dollar you guys donate on our campaign page until we reach the goal ($1193) and all these kids school fees are paid. If you donate $36, we’ll donate $36 and that’s one child educated.We’ll match any amount $1, $5, $100. Because no challenge is any fun without a deadline we’re going to give you ONE WEEK!," according to Julie Gumm's blog.

In just one day, the Gumm's blog  followers and Facebook friends donated enough money to send 20 children to school for a year.

"Thanks to all who contributed to help these kids-more opportunities to come :)," wrote Mark.


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Jewels for Justice Creatively Raises Funds

On Tuesday, August 17th, nearly a dozen women gathered in their friends home for a Silpada Jewelry show with representative Kym Erickson. What made this show unique was that Erickson donated her profits to World Orphans.

About a dozen women gathered in the home of Tara Webb in Grand Rapids, Mich. As part of Erickson's presentation World Orphans Advocate Randy Phillips was able to talk about his recent trip to Kenya and share the story of one family he met on his journey that especially touched his life.

The guests then had time to peruse the jewelry and place orders through Erickson. Not only was it a fun night but approximately $200 was raised and one of the guests signed up to host her own fundraiser party. The hostess can choose which World Orphans project she wants her party funds to go toward.

"It gives me a purpose to be able to help those who have so little when we here have so much," said Erickson.  "I'm bringing joy to women here in America by making them look pretty and feel good about themselves while enjoying a night out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With a small purchase of jewelry they can help out with medication, education, and food for a family."

Host Tara Webb, Randy Phillips, Jen Phillips and Silpada Rep Kym Erickson stand in front of the jewelry display at Tara's home.

Erickson is a great example of how advocates can use their existing business and/or hobbies to support the orphan and the widow.