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Our Top 5 Favorite Child Stories of 2014

By Bailey Kalvelage | Director of Mobilization

Who doesn’t like to come to the end of a year, look back, and count all the blessings of the past 12 months? It’s no wonder that all the way back in 1863 President Lincoln established an official day of national "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens".[1] In light of the turkey eating and celebrating of last week, I’d like to celebrate with you a few lives that our beneficent Father has transformed through World Orphans partnerships in 2014.

Below are World Orphans top 5 favorite child stories of 2014! These stories are a result of God’s work through World Orphans vision and effort to empower the church to care for orphans – until they all have homes.

1. OLIVIA: HURT TO HEALED!12.5.14_Olivia

Church Partnership: Eglise Baptiste Par la Foi (Haiti) and Harvest Presbyterian Church (Maryland)

"Last year there was a new girl in the Orphaned and Vulnerable Child (OVC) program. Her name is Olivia* and she was five years old. When we first met Olivia she was quiet and didn’t interact much with the other kids...it was very apparent to everyone that she had gone through much trauma in her short life. She didn’t smile, and had trouble trusting people.

One year later, though, it almost seems like she is a different person. She is interacting with the other kids, smiling and as much as we can tell, is happy. One year in the program under the care and supervision of the church was absolutely life changing (she is one of the kids who lives in the Pastor’s house).

But that isn’t the most amazing thing. This year there is another new girl in the program. She, like Olivia the year before, acts and is even treated like an outcast due to a physical disability. Olivia, instead of poking fun of her like the other kids, takes care of her and even defends her whenever she can. Olivia’s experience as an outsider and outcast didn’t leave her jaded or bitter. Because she was shown the grace and love that allowed her to experience healing, she is now empowered to show compassion and empathy to someone who is hurting. At such a young age she is demonstrating the love of Jesus."

– Written by Pastor Walter of Harvest Presbyterian Church

 

2. AKELLO: CHANGED BY SURGERY!12.5.14_Akello

Church Partnership: Father’s Divine Love Ministries (Uganda) and First Baptist Church of Siloam Springs (Arkansas)

“One story [from the trip] that was powerful involves a young man named Akello* who has lived 18 years with a club foot. His mother, Helen, is a mama and a church leader. Through connections with a nurse [at the guesthouse where we stay when we visit], we were able to get Akello enrolled in a program that will allow him to have surgery to correct his foot at no cost to his family or the ministry. They are waiting until a break in the school semester, but he should have the surgery before the end of this year!”

– Written by Scott Vair, President of World Orphans

 

3. SIZANI: ABUSED BUT NOW RESTORED!

Church Partnership: Christian Life Centre (South Africa) and Castle Oaks Church (Colorado) and Families Outreach (Arkansas)

“Christian Life Centre in Chatsworth, South Africa, cares for children that are extremely sick with HIV, and for those that have been orphaned, abused, and neglected. Two-year-old Sizani* is one of those children. Sizani was recently brought to Christian Life Centre by government social workers with bruises, disfiguring scars, a perforated eardrum, and a swollen eye due to abuse. She is now receiving much needed medical treatment, love, and affection as the restoration of this precious child begins. We are grateful for Pastor Siva Moodley and the staff at Christian Life Centre, for their unwavering love for the abused, neglected, and orphaned children of South Africa.”

– Written by Scott Vair, President of World Orphans

 

4. EDGARD: GROWING ONE STEP AT A TIME!12.5.14_Edgard

Church Partnership: Eglise Baptiste Bellevue Salem (Haiti) and Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church (Maryland)

“One memorable story was of one of the Orphaned and Vulnerable Child (OVC) kids named Edgard*. The very first time we met him, he came off as a bit of a trouble-maker and constantly wanted all the attention, but this time around we could definitely see growth. The people that had seen him just last year noticed how much he grew physically in just under a year. Another member of our group told us a story later of how after we had finished up our craft time, she saw him stay by himself and pick up all the trash left in the room, even with no one watching. It was great to see his growth: physically, socially, and spiritually.”

– Writteny by Jimmy Choi of Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church

 

5. ELSIE: REJUVENATED BY FRIENDS!12.5.14_Elsie

Church Partnership: Mission Eglise El-Shaddai (Haiti) and Daybreak Church (California)

“Meet Elsie*. She is 14. She has a lot of responsibility in the home in helping care for her younger siblings and often has to stay home while her older brothers have much more freedom to go out and play sports. She’s usually really shy and withdrawn, but she opened up to a couple of us about her frustration. We invited her to spend the evening at the guesthouse with us, and her caregivers gave their permission. We ate junk food, played twister, and just enjoyed celebrating life and laughter together. It was a really special time for Elsie and for our team. “

– Written by Kindra French of Daybreak Church

 

I know I said top 5, but I have to share just one more!

6. LYNE: ABANDONED TO ADOPTED!12.5.14_Lyne - Group

Church Partnership: Eglise Baptiste Par la Foi (Haiti) and Harvest Presbyterian Church (Maryland)

“One of the biggest ministries of the church is a yearly missions trip the kids and the church members take to the countryside. They go with the intent of sharing the gospel with the unchurched. It was during the trip this year that they “adopted” a young girl with disabilities into the program. Her name is Lyne*, she is twelve and she has a degenerative eyes disorder that has left her virtually blind. She was left on the side of the road and Pastor Gaston’s daughter and husband felt compelled to take her home.”

– Written by Pastor Walter of Harvest Presbyterian Church

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these profound accounts of God transforming the lives of children through His church. These stories would not be possible without World Orphans partners: Church Partners, Rescue Partners and Rescue Teams. If these stories have inspired you to get involved in advocating for the orphan, you’ve come to the right place.

Please click on the link below or email the corresponding address to get in touch with World Orphans and learn more about advocating for orphans today. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Explore becoming a Church Partner – Email kevin@worldorphans.org

Become a Rescue Partner – Email alanh@worldorphans.org

Form a Rescue Team – Email john@worldorphans.org

 

 

 

*Child names and pictures changed for the protection of children in our programs.

 

 

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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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Ugandan Pastors Ask For Prayer In Light of Kampala Bombing

A recent terrorist attack in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, killed 76 and left the rest of the nation in fear. Two bombs exploded at a rugby club where people of all nationalities gathered to watch the World Cup and anther bomb was targeted at an Ethiopian restaurant.

The July 11 attack was traced to Somali Islamist armed group al-Shahbaab whose leader threatened additional attacks if the Ugandan government continued to supply troops to AMISOM, the African Union military force in Somalia.

"This is only the beginning," al-Shahbaab wrote in an internet statement according to a CNN article.

As an organization committed to the care of orphans, the bombing was a sobering reminder of how many children are orphaned as a result of violence acts.

But even more alarming is the fact that World Orphans has six foster homes within miles of Kampala.

The four churches in Jinja - United Community Methodist Church, Father's Divine Love Ministry, El Shadai, and Nakazigo United Methodist Church, care for 177 children. The Dove Church children's home in Wakiso Town, Uganda cares for another 12 children.

The homes’ caretakers have taken every possible precaution to ensure the safety of the children, but each requested prayer for physical safety and freedom from the fear of an uncertain future.

In a letter to a World Orphans staff member, Pastor David Livingstone Zijjan of Father’s Divine Love Ministries wrote:

“We are very shaken by this attack. Too many innocent lives have been taken prematurely and we are very angry. The nation is angry and we need the grace of God to extend love and forgiveness to the Somali people.”

“Uganda has been a warm nation towards refugees and we hope this doesn't affect that hospitality. At the moment, there is a lot of fear in the population and security has advised me to halt all mass gatherings until security is guaranteed. We therefore have put a halt on the rallies, and movie nights until we are sure. Thank you for your prayers.”

Please continue to keep the people of Uganda and these World Orphans projects in your prayers.

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