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World Orphans

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Just Normal

By Sheri Mellema | Church Partnership

When considering the meaning of the word “normal,” I think we would all agree that it has become a very subjective term. Given the numerous contexts of our world today, what is deemed normal for one person can vary wildly from what another person perceives as normal.  The dictionary actually defines normal as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, ordinary, customary, habitual, accustomed or expected.

Recently, several World Orphans staff members and myself had the privilege of participating in a webinar presented by Dr. George Grant.  Dr. Grant is a historian, author, and pastor who has dedicated much time and research to the study of orphan care throughout the ages. He eloquently described history’s record of orphan care as far back as the Roman Empire. Frankly, I was more than relieved when he finally commented on our century, and for the first time since he started speaking I recognized a name! He mentioned Amy Carmichael and her enormous contribution to orphan care in India! As I listened, my mind began to wonder why it is that effective orphan care has ebbed and flowed through time and how is it that we have come to this present generation in which literally millions of abandoned and vulnerable children have no place to call home.

These questions led me to the recollection of a documentary I had viewed on PBS called “From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians.” Some of the scholars spoke of the distinctive nature of Christianity in that its followers naturally cared for the marginalized members of society. Professor Elizabeth A. Clark from Duke University stated, “Of course there was no welfare system so to speak. In the ancient world, wealthy Romans had given money for programs such as feeding of children and so on. But even such programs that we know of didn’t compare in size and scope to what the churches were doing.” Likewise professor Helmut Koester from Harvard Divinity School concluded that, “Christianity really established a realm of mutual social support for the members that joined the church.  And I think that this has probably in the long run been an enormously important factor for the success of the Christian mission.”

So it would seem that the earliest followers of Jesus set themselves apart by caring for the needy, and in doing so created a legacy that has endured for more than two thousand years.  In fact, I think we could say that their lifestyle was compelling enough to outlast the countless Greek cults that vied for the loyalty of the very same people that Christianity was attracting.

This powerful realization leads back to the word normal. Could we not conclude that the early church embodied the care of orphans as part of their everyday normal lives? They provided for the “least of these” in a usual, typical, customary, habitual, and expected way. Dr. Grant puts it this way, “It’s tragic that in our churches orphan care is just one more issue among a myriad of other issues. When in fact this is just our life together. Part of what we have to do is normalize our care for one another. Instead of approaching orphan care as something that’s sort of extraordinary, we need to make it just ordinary, and the way we make it ordinary is to live it out and integrate it into the whole of the life of the church. Gospel life (should) make it just normal for us to care about the despised and rejected. We need to get to the place that orphan care is no longer a program, an initiative, a new emphasis, or a distinctive of a particular church. It is just the normal life of (every) church!”

Each and every one of us can offer our giftedness as we develop a community of covenantal living in caring for the parentless children of this world. Further, each and every church can become a compelling light in making orphan care just normal, even in the twenty-first century!

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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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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.

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On Understanding Orphan Statistics

See below for link to original article authored by Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). World Orphans proudly partners with Christian Alliance for Orphans, as they seek to answer the call to care by inspiring and equipping the church and the world to act.

This recently published communication provides updated statistics and foundation, as well as insightful explanation for approaching orphan care with competing priorities and sometimes complicating issues.

Their philosophy closely aligns with ours, and they have done well to describe both the big picture and practical ways to approach orphan care, even as an individual, with the last bullet point:

Number of caring adults it takes to make a life-long difference for an orphan:  1

We think you'll want to read further [click image below]...

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Meet The Team - Kathy Davis

Name and position with World Orphans.

Kathy Davis – Director of Holistic Care

What attracted you to your current position?

The opportunity to be specifically involved with seeing the church equipped and encouraged to ‘holistically care’ (spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally) for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Where do you live and who do you live with?

I live in Maryville, TN and I live with my husband of 25 years and 2 of my 3 daughters. (Husband: Keith – Daughters: Amanda, Anna, Amy – the ‘A team’)

If you could give your 18-year old self one piece of advice what would it be?

Don’t take yourself too seriously but be serious about knowing Jesus and making Jesus known. There is hope in no one else!

List three unique experiences in your life.

1. I’m from TN, my husband is from Alaska – we met in TX and married there!

2. I have run a full marathon and several half marathons. Nope, didn’t enjoy the running part so much - but loved the finish!

3. I would love to say I’ve jumped off cliffs, skydived, bungee jumped, scaled the tallest mountain…but I hate heights.

Other than the Bible [duh] what is the best thing you have read in the last year.

by Tim Keller

One thing you always have on your person is...?

Lip-stuff! (lipstick, lip gloss, blistex, carmex, etc.)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Love where I live – Maryville, TN.

Read Kathy's blog at: www.kathyblessedtobless.blogspot.com

"Meet the Team" is a weekly blog series showcasing the people who make up the World Orphans team. Every Thursday morning, grab a cup of coffee and meet another team member who is using their unique talents and gifts to care for orphans and strengthen churches in the U.S. and abroad.

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Yet I Will Rejoice.

By Emily Hilburn | J117 Coordinator

"Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation." - Habakkuk 3:17

I know this might not be the typical verse you would expect to see on a blog about caring for orphans around the world, but hang with me on this for a second. I’ve read this verse multiple times and my first response was to my current circumstances. I looked at the major thing in my life that I’m trusting God for that He has chosen to wait to provide and said, “Thank you Lord for the reminder that even though I need this, it’s a necessity, and it’s not here yet, I will praise you.” A very normal and good response. But then I got to thinking a little bit more. I began thinking about the recent trip I made to Haiti with one of our Journey117 teams. I remembered seeing where people live, what they eat (if they eat), and most of all, I remembered worshiping with them on Sunday. They get up early enough to be at church at 6:30am! They worship for 3 hours! Their hearts and faces shine with the love they have for their Savior and King! And I was brought to my knees with the meaning of this verse for the Haitians with whom we were blessed to worship.

It might read something more like this:

Though the mango tree should not blossom And there be no rice in my tent, Though the yield of the maize should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the goats should be cut off from the tribe And there be no pigs in the pen, Though my house is currently a USAID tarp and four small tree trunks, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

This church loves their Lord. They exalt Him in a beautiful way. They care for the orphans and vulnerable children in their community, and they were doing it way before we ever showed up on the scene. We were blessed to be invited to come alongside them that Sunday and worship with them, serve these children with them, and hear their stories.

Habakkuk looked around and saw not only physical devastation to his country, but spiritual devastation. He cried out to the Lord and asked why He was allowing this to happen. But he didn’t stop there. He chose to praise God in the midst of it all. He knew his help, his salvation, came from the Lord. These people know this too, and they know it to a deeper degree than I think I ever will. They care for the orphans and vulnerable children in their communities at a cost to themselves. They see God provide for these children through the means He has given them as church members. But then, He continues to provide through church partners who desire to serve as well.

We all serve a God who is the ultimate provider, and watching the way He has provided for these children who are so near and dear to His heart has been humbling. To even be a small part of that provision is awe-inspiring. Today I remember my Haitian brothers and sisters and their love for the Lord. I see their faces “rejoicing in the God of their salvation.”

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Meet The Team - Scott Vair

Name and position with World Orphans.

Scott Vair, President.

What attracted you to your current position?

The Lord has graciously made His call on my life to serve orphans, and specifically with World Orphans, very clear. There was a time my heart was simply broken as I learned about orphans and their plight throughout the world. The Lord called us to adoption and soon after, brought me to World Orphans. Having served as VP of Projects these past five years, my experiences, skills, gifting, and heart for the world are being used in many new ways as President.

Where do you live and who do you live with?

In Castle Rock, Colorado, with my wife Debbie and our 3 daughters, Charlotte, Norah, and Jozie. Our son, Trevor, is in college in San Diego.

If you could give your 18-year old self one piece of advice what would it be?

Look for Debbie Cushing, she will be your wife – it’ll save you a lot of brain damage if you meet her now.

List three unique experiences in your life.

1. I am a Colorado native.

2. I was the quarterback of my high school football team, and played most every other sport, as well as band, drama, and anything else that came up…at my very small high school in the mountains.

3. Adoption, but maybe fatherhood in general (which may not sound unique, except at our house) – our 2 youngest daughters are adopted, one from China and one through the foster system; our oldest daughter, biological; and our son, mine through marriage. Yours, mine, ours, theirs, etc. Our family is a masterpiece of the Lord’s design, as only He is able.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

Time in the mountains - camping, fishing, hunting, hiking. Fly fishing is my favorite way to relax, and I’m a pretty big sports fan, primarily football and baseball. Grilling and experimenting with my charcoal grill and smoker. Debbie and I enjoy cooking together and sharing our table and our home with friends.

Describe yourself in three words.

Busy, busy, busy.

One thing you always have on your person is...?

My phone, and it’s usually on my ear.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m there…Colorado. But, I might choose a mountain town…someday. Or maybe India.

Follow Scott on Twitter at: @scottvair.

Read Scott's blog at: www.aheartfororphans.com

"Meet the Team" is a weekly blog series showcasing the people who make up the World Orphans team. Every Thursday morning, grab a cup of coffee and meet another team member who is using their unique talents and gifts to care for orphans and strengthen churches in the U.S. and abroad.

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WO's First Emotional Care Training Conference Equips African Pastors to Help Kids

Last week, World Orphans holistic care team travelled to Kenya where pastors from projects in Uganda and Nairobi gathered to learn more about emotional care for children. The holistic-care team, which focuses on helping caretakers meet the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental needs of children, spent the last few months developing emotional care materials under the guidance of WOs resident counselor, Erin Musick.

The materials were designed to help pastors and houseparents learn how to better communicate with children on an emotional level.

"The workshop wrapped up SO well.  Everyone was really encouraged, said they learned so much. They said they wished the training had been 5 days and asked when we were coming back," Kate Borders, director of holistic care, wrote from Kenya.

"And in addition to being helpful to their work with children, the participants have been sharing personal stories about how the information is helpful and encouraging to them personally as well.  Everyone is really enjoying time together, it's very personal...people are enjoying learning, sharing, praying, encouraging one another."

This week, the team is traveling to actual project sites to answer individualized questions and help the caregivers begin to implement their new emotional care skills.

Please pray for these caregivers and children as they pursue deeper relationships.

To find out more about World Orphans care model, check out this information about our solution, the continuum of care.

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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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Students step-up in church-to-church partnership

By Mike Krick | Regional Director, Midwest

I have had the opportunity to work with a friend of mine who is in full time student ministry at Blythfield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford, Mich.

I shared with him the countless ways to get involved with World Orphans.

It was amazing to watch God work out the details, as this particular church agreed to partner with a church in Haiti. The unique thing though, is that it is being funded by students!

This is not a typical church to church covenant agreement.   The partnership is happening through the means of nearly 1,000 middle school, high school and college age students.

There is so much excitement within this group. They will be sending their first team down to Haiti in December to meet Pastor Gaston, the 20 children in the OVC program and the Christian nationals that are caring for these precious kids.

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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 jeremy@worldorphans.org.

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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Chinese pastor cares for 76 orphans in Beijing

By age 7, Jacob* was an expert at scouring the streets for food. With both of his parents imprisoned and his grandparents under house arrest, Jacob lived like an orphan, abandoned and alone. But Jacob said he continued to hope in the possibility of his parents’ release from prison.

Even when he was sent to a forced labor camp, Jacob waited for the day when he would be reunited with his parents.

The couple was finally released four years later but shortly after gaining their freedom, Jacob’s father was killed and his mother suffered a mental collapse.

Feeling truly alone, Jacob saw suicide as an escape.

It was at this desperate time that he met a Christian woman who told him about Christ.

Suddenly there was a new hope, a new reason to live.

Today, Jacob is a pastor who inspires hope in Chinese orphans at a World Orphans facility in Beijing.

The facility houses 76 children who are not eligible for Chinese government assistance.  Due to strict government guidelines, these children are not adoptable because they are not considered "true orphans."

Without the Beijing Training Center, these children would be left to indifferent family members or forced to survive on their own.

In order to continue this effective ministry, we are looking for one or more church partners to provide the financial resources and encouragement this project needs.

The training center is also available for 10 orphan advocacy groups to provide funding for the facility's 10 apartments.

*name changed to protect the pastor’s identity

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WO Team Travels to Ethiopia, Worships With Church Partners

By Mark Gumm

A World Orphans team is currently in Ethiopia visiting our partner churches and children's homes there. For updates and trip reflections, stay tuned to the WO blog. 

Yesterday I had the joy of attending the International Evangelical Church in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.  It was incredible to look around the room and realize we were joined together in worshipping God with believers from every continent – over 61 different countries – while not EVERY nation and tribe and tongue was represented, it brought to mind how beautiful and wonderful it will be one day.

It was amazing to me that in this city of millions of people, some 10,000 miles from my home, I would “happen” to run into 6 different people, including 3 Americans, that I have met in various different places in the past 2 years.  It made me think of the multitude of people I will one day be reunited with for eternity together.

Revelation 7:9-12

9After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.

 

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New Church Partnership in Haiti Brings Hope to Orphans

Two California churches, Daybreak Church and Generations Church, recently partnered with a World Orphans project in Haiti. Through the partnership, Pastor Pierre of the indigenous church will be able help 20 orphaned and abandoned children in his community. He will also be able to reach out to families whose lives were devastated by the earthquake.

To celebrate this partnership, a group from Daybreak Church and Generations Church traveled to Haiti to meet Pastor Pierre. This short video shows some of their favorite memories:

To find out how you or your church can get involved with World Orphans, click here.

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Trip to Ethiopia & Kenya Changes Lives

After traveling to Africa with World Orphans this summer, Alisha Bowker said she will be changed forever. "There are a number of stories I could share, each that had an impact on our team and myself, but a specific day will easily stay with me for the rest of my life," she said.

During the 11-day trip, the group visited children's homes in both Ethiopia and Kenya, but the day that deeply affected Alisha was when the group walked the streets of the the Mathare Slums in Kenya.

"Being my first trip I did not really know what to expect, aside from the simple fact that this is one of the largest slums in Kenya-home to well over 500,000 people. As we began our journey deep into the slums I was met with speechlessness," Alisha wrote after the trip. "I cannot even begin to describe to you the horrific conditions these individuals are living in."

Alisha described the living conditions for men, women and especially children as "a place so dirty, crowded, unsanitary, chaotic and forgotten that no human should ever have to call that home and yet hundreds of thousands do."

While visiting the slum, the group met with four families.

"I had the privilege to sit in peoples homes and listen to them tell their stories, I witnessed families being torn apart by disease and realized how important good health is to the survival of a family in the slums. I heard a woman tell of her difficult decision each month to choose between paying rent to keep a roof over her family's head, or paying the school fees in order to invest in her children’s futures," wrote Alisha.

"As we walked to each new home the local children would run up chanting their hellos and hoping for a smile, a photo or simply a touch. It took all that I had to not break down into tears; there was such innocence in the simplicity of their requests."

But in the midst of the devastation, Alisha still saw hope. Through World Orphans, the local church is able minister to families in the slums by helping them care for the children they have. And many children in the Fountain of Life children's home in Nairobi, Kenya are rescued directly from the slums.

Other programs, like vocational training, give teenagers and adults the opportunity to rise out of their circumstances and care for their families.

"We then headed back to the church and had the opportunity to speak to a group of teenage mothers who are part of a new ministry the church is starting. The women will be learning skills in jewelry making and sewing, with the intent to sell their products to gain financial support and stability," Alisha wrote.

"I was made aware that for many of these women this new ministry is their second chance…Their moment to get back on their feet despite past mistakes that left them in such a low and forgotten places."

The vocational training program in Nairobi and the Fountain of Life children's home are only two outreach projects out of hundreds around the globe that World Orphans has made possible.

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Despite Loss, 8-Year-Old Eunice Is Not Orphaned

In March 2007 our team was in Nairobi, Kenya visiting several projects. During that trip our leaders went out into the Mathare slums with Fountain of Life, one of our church partners, on their home visits. It was there that we first met Mary. Last week our in country director let us know that Grandma Mary Wanini passed away. She leaves behind her 8 year old granddaughter, Eunice.

"Mary was a kind and gentle woman, with much love and hospitality for anyone who met her," said Mark Gumm, regional director of advocacy who met Mary on several occasions.

Mary and Eunice serve as a good example of World Orphans model of Continuum of Care. Over the last 3 years Pastor Gideon's church has been engaged with Mary and Eunice during their regular home visits, ensuring their basic needs are met and that Eunice is able to go to school. Now that Mary has passed away the church is able to make sure that Eunice is being cared for by her Aunt.

Pastor Gideon also reports that through the generosity of church members and others, Mary's funeral expenses have been covered.

While we mourn the loss of Mary we rejoice knowing she is with her Savior and that Eunice has not been orphaned but is being cared for by her Aunt and by the church.

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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 Staffer to be Featured at Together for Adoption Blogger Meetup

By Julie Gumm

The Together for Adoption conference announced the Featured Blogger Meetups that are happening Friday and Saturday during lunch.

On Friday the meetup will feature Jamie IveyAmy BottomlyAmy BlockZach Nielsen, Courtney Girwood, and Jody Landers.

Saturday’s meetup features Kristen HowertonMary OstynAngel WeirLorraine PattersonTroy & Tara LivesayChris MarlowTom Davis, and YOURS TRULY.

(Updated: Tom Davis was on Friday but had to switch to the Sat group due to scheduling.)

I feel like one of the cool kids :-) Totally kidding.

Of course I’m just as excited about attending the meetups as I am being “in” one of them. Some of these people I’ve followed online for years. I think Angel and Mary would qualify as my “oldest” online reads back when adoption was just a glimmer in our eye. Amy and Jody are a close second. Some I’ve only recently started following but am already learning so much and FEEL like I know them.

So if you’re going to Together for Adoption, sign up for the Blogger Meetups and come have some fun with us!

To read Julie's blog, click here.

For more information about the Together for Adoption conference or to register, click here.

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WO Helps Orphans, Empowers Churches

If you saw a big water tower leaking, how would you respond?  Get 1000 buckets, and keep filling them up endlessly?  Or would you work on figuring out how to plug that hole? Most of the areas in the world where we work present this type of situation.  Building orphan homes is like finding a bucket to catch water spewing from a massive water tower.  The conditions that go into creating the orphan problem are so large – corruption, poverty, disease, culture – it almost seems hopeless.  It’s impossible to serve the orphan as an isolated case from the larger outside causes.

This is why we work with churches (community based organizations) to develop an appropriate “continuum of care”, which includes prevention, foster care, housing, training, and development.  On community and neighborhood scales, these programs work to both stop the leak, and provide “buckets” for immediate support.

In Moldova, the local church is highly involved in anti-trafficking campaigns with the governmental orphanages (the main source of trafficked children).  This teaches them to be on guard…gives them a real understanding of how the outside world works, and shows them that they can trust these “church types” when they are out of the orphanages.

This church-to-church model is designed to empower the indigenous church while working toward self-sustainability.

 

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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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