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Africa

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Gratitude and Great Anticipation

By Bailey Kalvelage | Mobilization

Reflecting seems to always be part of the festivities of a new year. Whether in the quiet of the morning or between errands, we tend to ponder the past year, retracing steps both large and small. I invite you to journey with me through a few testimonies from World Orphans 2013 partnership trips. Relationships were deepened, kids and families were cared for, and the Gospel was spread…

“One of the events we did was a sports outreach where we took four buses of people to a sports complex. The day ended with testimonies from some of our team and then Jairo Jr. (pastor’s son) gave an invitation to accept Christ. The first girl that came forward was Abigail. She is 8 years old. When she was born, her mom had her dedicated at Verbo Sur (church), but her mom died a couple of months later. Her dad later died, and her grandmother is raising her. Verbo Sur has stayed close to her with the Community Development Center and feeding programs, and she comes to church each Sunday. This is a great example of the church stepping in and helping to raise an orphan right in their community."  – Partnership between Verbo Sur of Nicaragua and Gaylord E-Free of Michigan

“Every day at noon, Eglise de Dieu D’Andullan has intercessory prayer time. What an experience for our team: to take time each day to come together and pray! Oh, how we have things to learn from our Haitian friends! When I first walked into the church, prayer time was already in progress, and it took a little getting used to at first…most people were praying aloud, some quietly. Several were pacing up and down while calling upon Jesus, some kneeled and rocked, some reached their hands toward heaven, and one woman was kneeling and wailing. To me, it was an intimate picture of how we all come to the Lord in a very personal way. Without understanding their language, I could only see their love, their desire for the Lord, their relationship with Him…beautiful!”  – Partnership between Eglise de Dieu D’Andullan of Haiti and Lakewood Christian Church of Oklahoma

“In the afternoon, our team came up to the front of a house with seven young men out back. One team member walked up and shook hands and introduced himself. He started telling them his story, ‘I know what it’s like to be a young man…I want you to know you can have courage and salvation and all the freedom I have in my life. You will still mess up but you know Jesus.’ One young man said, ‘I’m a Muslim, but I’d like to have that Jesus.’ He prayed and accepted Christ. The US team member has prayed for him since then.”  – Partnership between Hope Home Care Cyegera of Rwanda and HOPE 221 of Tennessee

Whether it was hundreds of people being treated and prayed for at a medical clinic or a little boy sharing the victory at his choir concert with his US friends, God’s faithfulness has reverberated throughout trips in 2013. Each partnership has unique stories of salvation, worship, service, and love.

Baileysblog
Baileysblog

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.” Acts 4:32-34a

In 2013, special churches in the US and around the world continued to join in partnership through World Orphans to care for children who are orphaned and vulnerable. This reflecting brings gratitude and great anticipation of what is to come in 2014!

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WO Supporter Experiences the Transition From Devastation to Hope

After taking a World Orphans trip to Kenya, WO supporter Abby said she was struck by "the harsh reality" of poverty and abandonment. On her blog, she wrote:

"Boys will be boys. Amidst the garbage heap surrounding & engulfing this slum, these four boys are being boys.

They are little hams posing for the camera as a mzungu snaps their picture.

But the harsh reality is that these boys are not in school. It was a regular school day, but yet as we walked through the slums it was common to see school age children running around.

The harsh reality is seeing toddlers dig through these trash heaps. The harsh reality is that cattle also dig and eat from the garage and later are killed for dinner.

The harsh reality is behind the patched together metal walls people brew homemade liquors thinking that is how God is providing income (It isn't, trust me). The harsh reality is parents (both moms and dads) are abandoning their children.

As a result of that abandonment, children are vulnerable. Girls as young as 11 find themselves taken advantage of and often become pregnant or a slave to prostitution."

But in the midst of the devastation, Abby saw hope in a World Orphans home.

Abby wrote:

"The truth is we can make a difference. Western churches can make a difference. How? By partnering (or having a relationship with) an indigenous church across the globe.

Indigenous churches around the world are caring for orphans in slum & impoverished communities, often with little to no resources.

They are providing home based care to keep kids united with families, providing small family like homes for the most vulnerable children, providing feeding programs, providing care, support, and micro finance loans to widows and families whom are HIV+.

How it works is pretty simple. The organization, World Orphans, facilitates relationships between Western churches and indigenous churches.

Western churches provide financial support for orphan homes or home based care (via World Orphans) with the goal to become self-sustaining, thus eliminating an atmosphere of dependence on the Western Church. The Western Church also visits the church partner, serving alongside them in ministry. Both are mutually edified.

From my own personal experience I can say that I came away from these trips encouraged to be more involved in my own community (future blog post answering the question "Well what about the poor here in the US?). I learned so much about sacrificial living from the people that I served with in Kenya.

There is hope. We can't do everything, but we can do something. Multiply people & churches doing *something* breaks the orphan cycle, the number of orphans decrease, communities, churches, and lives are changed. And you just might find yourself changed in the process.

You have one life. Do something."

Though this WO home in Kenya is fully funded, there are a number of children's homes around the world that still need financial support.

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WO Staffer Visits Church Plants In Ethiopia

By Mark Gumm

I often hear a phrase that goes something like this “Church is not a building – its a body of believers”.  While I certainly believe most pastors and Christians believe this theologically, I often wonder if we REALLY believe this at our core, or if its just a cliche’ we use.

Would we choose to go to church if it wasn’t comfortable and convenient? If we had to walk several miles to get there and there was no praise band playing our favorite christian music, no video screens, no air conditioning, no comfortable seats?

Would we show up to these churches walking through and standing in several inches of water in the middle of a field, with no chairs to sit in and listen to our pastor preach and sing praises to God with just our voices for 2+ hours?

The people of these churches in Ethiopia REALLY believe that the church is not about a building…  I have the mud covering my shoes and pants, and the memory of hugs and tears of joy to prove it:)

Let us continue to strive to be a faithful church that displays good deeds and is dependent on God to provide as we use our resources to help meet the needs of those who are really in need like the early church did.  Let us not be a lukewarm church that is rich and not in need of a thing.

Revelation 3:14-22

14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

To read more about Mark, click here to visit his blog.

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Kenya Children's Home Gives Emma New Life

On a recent World Orphans trip to Kenya, one of our new staff members, Kathy Davis, met 10-year-old Emma. Emma seemed like an ordinary outgoing child who loved to laugh, play and make new friends. She was a natural leader and inspired confidence in the 11 other girls at the Fountain of Hope girls' home.

But Emma's childhood was anything but ordinary. Growing up in the slums of Kicheko, next to Fountain of Hope, she was accustomed to going days without meals when her mother spent the last of the family's money on alcohol.

Her father abandoned the family when Emma was young, leaving her to care for her younger brother who had a leg impediment.

In a world that felt hopeless, Emma and her brother struggled to survive until Emma found the courage to ask for help and began going to the Saturday feeding program at Fountain of Hope Church.

One Sunday she decided to attend a service.

After the sermon, Emma tiptoed to the front and asked the pastor, Bishop Julius, to pray that her brother would be healed. Nothing happened. Though other children might have felt discouraged, Emma was determined.

For six weeks, she and her brother faithfully attended the service and walked to the front for prayer. Finally, on the seventh week, God gave Emma a miracle. Her brother was healed.

Shortly after, the girls home opened at Fountain of Hope and Emma was one of its first residents.

Through counseling and the love of a house parents Antony and Doreen, Emma has learned how to be a child again.

She still helps to care for her brother and continues to believe God can spiritually heal her mother.

Through the church-to-church partnership of River Oaks Community Church in Maryville, Tenn., the Fountain of Hope girls' home is a thriving ministry that cares for orphans like Emma - physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

How You Can Help

Bishop Julius and his wife, Phides, want to extend their reach into the community by starting a home-based care program that would reach out to at-risk families and help prevent the orphaning and abandonment of more children like Emma.

To do so, World Orphans is looking for a church or group of individuals who are willing to commit to providing monthly financial support of $500-1000. For more information on how you can partner in this way, contact Alan Hunt (alan@worldorphans.org).

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