Viewing entries tagged
orphans

Set Free

Comment

Set Free

Americans are typically familiar with freedom being built into the fabric of our country. We are free to go where we want, eat what we want, live where we want, say what we want, believe what we want, and worship where and how we want. The concept of freedom is an identifying marker of life in the US.

However, when we look at Scripture, we see that our human condition is that of slaves—slaves to sin, the law, death, and dark, spiritual forces. We sin because we are sinful; however, by the grace of God, there is freedom from sin. …

Comment

Stories of Transformation: The Impact of Economic and Family Empowerment

Comment

Stories of Transformation: The Impact of Economic and Family Empowerment

What happens when you invest in the talents of a widowed mother in Ethiopia? Something beautiful happens. What changes when you teach a group of Guatemalan women a new, profitable skill? Everything changes. Who is impacted when a collection of mothers routinely sit down together to share their struggles, learn how to save money, and challenge each other in their business ventures? Entire families, communities, and towns are impacted. 

Comment

The Entire Child: Wholistic Care at Home and Abroad

Comment

The Entire Child: Wholistic Care at Home and Abroad

What does it mean to care for the "whole" child? What does that look like?  It seems counterintuitive in some ways. If we're caring for a child, we're caring for the whole child, right? Roof over her head. Shoes on his feet. Books for school. At World Orphans, we see a distinction between caring for a child and caring for the whole child. We use the term "wholistic" a lot, but what does that even mean?

Comment

When Families Can’t or Won’t

Comment

When Families Can’t or Won’t

In a perfect world—a world we dream about frequently—these words would never have to be uttered. Children would have homes, healthy families, and environments within which to thrive.

Comment

Glimpsing Iraq: An Interview | Billy & Dawn Ray

1 Comment

Glimpsing Iraq: An Interview | Billy & Dawn Ray

We've taken all our cues from the mayor. He's directed us to build the community center. Later on in the story, when the refugee crisis hit, he directed us to help the Shabak Kurds that had just fled Mosul. Later on, he asked if we'd be able to build a school. 

1 Comment

Comment

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!

Comment

2 Comments

The Journey to Flight

By Kathy Davis | Wholistic Care

Yesterday morning my middle daughter brought a cup of coffee into my office, nestled into the couch, and said “Momma, you’re sad.” “Well, maybe a little,” I replied. Later in the day, my youngest daughter passed off her favorite hoodie that I ‘borrow’ from her closet way too often and gave it to me.

Image 2
Image 2

This week marks the closing of a chapter and the opening of another in the life of our family. All three of our daughters are moving out of our home and into an apartment together. My mind is flooded with memories, and my heart is conflicted as I ponder all that has encompassed 25 years of parenting. After all, isn’t this what we have prepared them for? Two of them have graduated with a college degree and are employed with great jobs, and the third is in her second year of college. They are all followers of Jesus Christ and are held in the grip of His grace. What could be more important? I should be thrilled but now find myself gripped with the question, ‘was it enough?’ Are they really prepared?

I suppose it’s all of the little things. Who will notice on those difficult days when their hearts are heavy – that they probably just need a hug, encouraging word, or chocolate brownie? Who will remind them that are beautifully created on days that they don’t feel pretty? Who will encourage them to eat vegetables more regularly than donuts? Who will remind them that they matter and are dearly loved, come what may? Who will tell them over and over again that God’s promises are true, that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and that every day is filled with opportunity to be agents of His grace? Who will take seriously that their holiness is far more important than their happiness? Isn’t this what parents are for?

Image 1
Image 1

As the Director of Wholistic Care for World Orphans, I spend a lot of time thinking about the needs of children and the significance of belonging that is communicated through family. As my husband and I have invested in providing for the essential needs of our children (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally), I am confounded by the immense opportunity that the church has to participate in seeing orphaned and vulnerable children cared for in the context of family.

World Orphans Home Based Care program is a beautiful illustration of how this is being accomplished through the church. We would love for your church to engage in this great work where churches are partnering together from across the globe, children are being restored, and communities are being transformed by the Gospel of Christ.

Find out more about Church Partnership

My home is quieter this morning. I am wearing my new hoodie, and I am considering that in all of the years I have strived to care for and ‘see’ my children, that they are now ‘seeing others,' to include the tender heart of their Momma. It is the close of a chapter but an ongoing reality that the best Father of all, Jesus, will continue to guide them, remind them, and will not let them go. Children are truly a heritage and a blessing from the Lord.

KD Fam
KD Fam

2 Comments

Comment

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!

Comment

Comment

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.

Comment

Comment

World Orphans Prayer Quest

Join us to pray... Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

It is our desire at World Orphans that each of us would realize that apart from Christ, we are orphans in need of rescue, and that in Christ, we are adopted children of God, forever rescued, redeemed, restored, renewed, and found in Him.

Along with our friends at Christian Alliance for Orphans, we are promoting Orphan Sunday this coming November 4th.

In honor of Orphan Sunday, we are asking you to join us on November 5th for 24 hours of dedicated prayer for all of the churches, children, and communities who are a part of our ministry.

When you sign-up to pray, we’ll send you a list of ways you can pray for our church partners and the orphaned and vulnerable children in their care.  At the heart of our desire to pray is that all would understand the Fatherhood of God.

Through Orphan Sunday, we will honor and pray for adoption, foster care, and global orphan care.  Both here in the US and internationally, the growing passion for adoption within the church is exciting.  Yet at the same time, the number of orphaned and abandoned children in need of care is still great.  We are so grateful to our church partners around the world who are committed to caring for children in their communities and reflecting the love of Christ and the hope of the Gospel to all.

Please join us in supporting and honoring our church partners by participating in our 24 hours of prayer on November 5, 2012.  Sign-up to pray

And, please help us spread the word! Once you sign up, it’s easy to send an email or post on Facebook or Twitter.

We thank you for your partnership in ministry and in prayer.

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”  Ephesians 1:15-19

Comment

2 Comments

Caring for children

By Kate Borders | Director of Mobilization & Holistic Care

I nurse my four month old daughter and she gets into a comfortable state somewhere between awake and asleep while she contentedly eats. After awhile I pick her up to burp her. With her head on my shoulder she realizes that she is no longer comfortably eating and lets out a quiet cry of protest. I pat her back and gently tell her, "don't worry, there's more".   She quickly quiets down, burps and then settles in to finish eating.

Each time I say, "don't worry, there's more" I find myself overwhelmed with gratefulness that I can say that to her, humbled by and thankful for God's provision. Recognizing all provision is from God's hand, at the moment I'm able to say, "don't worry, there's more" because I have enough to eat and drink so my body is producing the nourishment that she needs. Lord willing, as she gets older I'll be able to say that because my husband and I will work hard to provide for her.

For over 10 years now my heart has been breaking for children who don't have enough food to eat.  But now as a new parent I find myself thinking of parents who struggle to provide for their children. My heart breaks for the moms and dads who desperately want to care and provide for their children yet poverty, drought, sickness and other challenges prevent them from being able to.

I have to admit I don't understand why. I trust God's goodness and His sovereignty, but don't understand why I find myself in a position to be able to provide warmth, shelter, protection, and food for my baby girl, while so many parents would give anything to be able to do the same and aren't able.

As I wrestle with these questions that don't have answers I find myself yet again thankful to be part of the ministry of World Orphans as we work through local churches around the world to strengthen communities, so families can be supported and encouraged, so parents are able to work and provide for their children.

One very specific way we go about this is through our Home-Based Care Programs. The objective is to assist the church in their desire to provide much needed spiritual, emotional, physical and mental care for households in their community with orphaned, abandoned, or vulnerable children who are being cared for by single mothers, extended relatives, neighbors, friends, or church members.

The program is designed to ensure that the children receive: spiritual care - through discipleship during home visitations and participation in a weekly children’s program at the church; emotional care – by providing ongoing counseling, group activities, and home visitations; physical care – in the form of food, access to clean drinking water, and access to medical care; and mental care – by ensuring access and support of education.

As I feed my daughter and lay her down to sleep, faces of dear brothers and sisters I have met through World Orphans partnerships flash through my mind. My heart aches knowing there are grieving parents putting their children to be hungry.  At the same time I am very humbled by how hard parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, community members and church bodies are working to care and provide for those children.

As we seek to care for children, whether it be children under our roof or children around the world, may we never lose sight of the greatest need we all have, for our relationship with God to be restored.  Praise God that He has met that need, through the Gospel of Christ.  As we meet physical needs, may we never cease to point one another to the Gospel.

Currently World Orphans has Home-Based Care programs in Haiti and Ethiopia. Click HERE to read more about Home-Based Care and click HERE to start a campaign to raise money to support orphan care ministry around the world.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing... - Psalm 68:5-6

2 Comments

Comment

A True Family-Care Model for Orphaned & Abandoned Children in China

Go to video on Vimeo.

China has one of the largest orphan populations in the world. Many of these children are abandoned due to physical disabilities, because of China's one-child policy, or simply because they are girls. Although the Christian church is not able to have a physical presence, our network partner is reaching out to these precious ones with the help of local house churches.

Watch our new video to see how World Orphans is helping provide biblical family care for 76 children at the Bejing Training Center - children who are not eligible for Chinese government assistance under their strict guidelines. Without the center, these children would be left to indifferent family members or forced to survive on their own.

The Training Center is located in a former school that has been renovated to form 10 apartment-style homes, a central eating area and the training areas. The children are divided into families of eight who live with carefully selected Christian house parents devoted to providing the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental care they need.

Comment

Comment

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.

 

Comment

Comment

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.

Comment

Comment

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.

Comment

Comment

Home Based Care Initiative Introduced In Ethiopia, Prayer Needed

As World Orphans strives to meet the needs of orphaned and abandoned children around the globe, our primary goal is to provide family-based orphan care. Whether that is in a World Orphans home or with a neighbor who took responsibility for an abandoned child, World Orphans wants to help these caretakers through the indigenous church.

"Many children orphaned around the world have been taken in by extended families, friends and neighbors. Orphans are being cared for in families! Unfortunately, many of these families are barely making it and the children are highly vulnerable as a result," said WO Vice President Scott Vair on his blog, aheartfororphans.

So World Orphans along with local churches world-wide are taking a step toward helping these families.

"The challenge before us is to support these families as they care for orphans, preventing them from being abandoned or dropped off at orphanages as resources continue to be stretched thin and families struggle to make ends meet. We call this Home Based Care," Vair said.

The initiative for Home Based Care started earlier this week in Ethiopia as East Africa representative Lameck offered training for pastors.

The training will continue through the next few days and Lameck asked for prayer as he introduces this valuable concept and tool to Africa.

Comment

Comment

Thai Church Cares for Orphans

For 15 children in Thailand, The Prachinburi Church foster home supplies more than just food, shelter and medical care, it provides the love of a family. Through counseling, education and spiritual leadership, these children have the opportunity to escape the life of poverty, drugs and prostitution that most Thai orphans face.

With 1,300,000 orphaned children in Thailand, the government is unable to care for them all leaving many vulnerable to abuse.

Though the situation seems hopeless, The Prachinburi Church is making a difference.

The congregation and Pastor Chalermchai Chaisombat have been running a Compassion International project for many years and  provided food and clothing to orphaned children in their community.

But the need was so great that they did more; they took in several children to live in a home next to their church.

World Orphans is currently providing funding to the home, but a U.S. church partner or advocacy group is still needed to support this ministry.

Comment