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Why Do You Love Me So Much?

By Lori Harry | Guest Blog | Haiti Trip Team Member "WHY DO YOU LOVE ME SO MUCH?" I can't get these words out of my mind. This question was posed to me by Resien, a beautiful Haitian woman, and her question is one I can easily ask God.

When I went on my last trip to Haiti, I took printed photos from my previous trip with the hope that I would see some of the same people again. I'm sure many of these Haitians had never seen themselves in a printed picture. Faces quickly lit up as my simple gifts were passed around for friends and neighbors to see.

On our first day at the church, I briefly saw one of the ladies I'd met previously and I remembered I had a photo of her and her children.love2 I was busy organizing something, and before I could give her the photo, she was gone. Each day, I looked for her again, but she never came back to the church.

On our last day, I asked the pastor if he would take me to her. As we walked down the path between the dwellings, she was sitting in an open space with a few other women. Our whole team, surrounded by all the Haitian kids that were following us, approached the group of women, and I handed her the photo. We both found ourselves smiling during this brief conversation. As she motioned me toward her home, a one-room concrete structure, she said, "WHY DO YOU LOVE ME SO MUCH?" I easily answered, "Because Jesus does!" and I gave her a hug. But as I have been sharing this highlight of my trip since I've been home, the deep meaning of her question has pierced my heart.

love1I am a "doer" - always busy, always on the go, and always seeking more to do. It's no different on the mission field. Even though the culture is more slow-paced and not organized in ways that are customary to me, I often feel like I can do more . . . building projects, programs, street clean-up, teaching, etc. . . . But, World Orphans focuses on relationships. Trips with World Orphans focus on encouraging families and staff, spending time with the people in the community, and praying for God's touch in their lives.

The way this lady felt because I chose to love her mirrors the way we should feel knowing how much God loves us. It is often difficult for me to accept that I am special in God's eyes, and my friend, Resien, not only reminded me of God's love for me, but also reminded me of the importance of relationship. If for nothing else, I know that God took me to Haiti for that one moment!

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Responsible to Steward

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a privilege to be part of this.

What a responsibility to steward.

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

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

ECFA-Seal
ECFA-Seal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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South Africa with Journey Trips: A Guest Blog

HannahEBy Hannah Edington | Journey Trip Team Member Special thanks to Hannah for her willingness to share her words with all of us. May you be encouraged by her faithful, tender, available heart. And may we follow in her footsteps. (Previously seen on Hannah's blog on 9/8/15.)

 

In just over a month I will finally see the fruit of a process I began over a year ago.

I had been searching online for organizations that had mission trips going to Ethiopia. I was specifically looking for anything with a focus on orphans or economic development, as both of these are passions of mine and are things I hope to see as a part of my future.  I had begun an application with Journey Trips, a ministry of World Orphans, but for some reason or another, I never completed it. In December of last year I received an email, which was right around the time I felt a huge push and desire to get out, GO, and make some disciples!

A lot has changed since then. Not only am I not going to Ethiopia, but in a way, I am getting a second chance. When I was thirteen my family took a vacation to South Africa. We did a ton of amazing touristy things and had a blast and spent way too much money and I quietly prayed as we drove past the shanty towns, small huts made from tin, so I could ease my conscience. After all, praying puts it in God’s hands and He can do more than I could ever dream, so really I did the best thing possible…

But now I have to ask myself, what if this is God answering my prayers? What if He is saying, “Hannah, you prayed that they would be okay. That they would be looked after. That I would show them I love them. I will. I’m sending you.”

I want to cower in fear because who am I to do God’s work? How can I stare an orphaned child in the face and tell them I love them when a trip to Ulta costs me what they live on for a number of months? When I got a massage last night and they got to ignore hunger?

I don’t know what situations I will face. I don’t know if I am going to see children who are in clean clothes and receiving education but are fatherless and alone, or if I will see children who are struggling to survive in the most basic ways.

I’m tired of seeing sensationalized visions of poverty and I’m tired of the lies that it can’t really be as bad as the media shows us.

I’m going on this trip because people matter. Children matter. Orphans matter. I live in the conflict of “me” and feeling that I’m important and then loathing myself for thinking I am. The web of pride and the chase for humility (which, when false, is pretty much pride hiding behind self-deprecation) are all consuming when I let them be.

So I’m asking God to take me back to His heart. I’m asking Him to remind me of November 4th, 2013 on Orphan Sunday when my firm choice to never have children first began to waver. I’m asking Him to take me back to when I signed up to sponsor Ablavi in Togo who lives with her grandmother because her father died and her mother abandoned her. When I sponsored Tariku in Ethiopia who lives with his uncle after both parents passed away. I’m asking Him to take me back to when I read Kisses from Katie and my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach for her passion. When I heard about the suspended exit visas in the DRC and about little Ben dying before he ever made it home to his parents in the US and when I watched a woman in my church weep as the pastor shared about her wait for her son. I’m asking Him to take me back to Hosea 14 when He reminds me that it is in Him that the orphan finds mercy.

I’m going because God’s commands and our desires should always be united.

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Join us! If your heart beats similarly to Hannah's, consider joining us in 2016 on a Journey Trip to Ethiopia, Guatemala, or Haiti. Click this link for details and registration information. Or contact our Journey Trips Mobilization Director, Amie Martin, at amie@worldorphans.org.

 

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Amazed in Affliction

By Kathy Davis | Director of Wholistic Care The question is universal. When tragedy strikes and comfort seems a million miles away, where is hope found?

An Annual Trip Like No Other

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As a member of River Oaks Community Church (ROCC) in Maryville, TN, and a staff member with World Orphans, every summer I experience the joy of leading our annual partnership trip to Fountain of Hope Church (FOH) in Nairobi, Kenya.

I recently returned and much of our itinerary looked the same as in previous years. We visited widows and families in distress. We spent valuable time with the precious vulnerable children we have come to know and love, all of them being cared for through the ministry of the church. We facilitated and served in a church-based medical/dental clinic where over 500 impoverished people were physically treated and spiritually encouraged. Souls were saved. Teeth were extracted. We worshipped. We prayed. We laughed. We shared meals.

And, this year, we wept.

Previous to our arrival in Kenya, I received tragic news that a family member, who is part of FOH's Home Based Care (HBC) program, was severely injured in an automobile accident. His arm was severed at the shoulder, yet we were informed he was in stable condition. We were scheduled to visit and pray for him.

Profound Reflections from a 15-year-old Team Member

One of our team members, Ella Pearl, recounted this experience. She eloquently writes about our team’s most impactful moment together, the moment where sorrow’s sting intersected the beautiful hope of Jesus.

Ella Pearl Evans, our 15-year-old team member.

My name is Redeemed, and I have been born again. 

I believe in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and have grown up in a strong Christian family and church body.

I believe the entire Bible is God’s Word, which as a result is inerrant and infallible. But that doesn’t mean I lack confusion or gain context in every verse. I am human. I make mistakes for which I’m forgiven through the blood of His Son, but this isn’t a story about my life or my accomplishments. It’s a story about what the Holy Spirit has worked in my heart to see, and He has given me the ability to write it down.

Every year since 2010, my church has held a youth event called Mission 1:27, a twenty-seven hour fast to raise money for the medical camp we help facilitate with our sister church in Kenya. Mission 1:27 was taken from the passage of scripture, James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  

Ella assisting her Dad during the dental clinic.

Previous to my trip, two of my closest friends traveled to visit with FOH for our annual partnership trip. Both were captured by their experience and exclaim, even to this day, of their desire to live there. I had never quite believed them until my dad and I felt led by the Holy Spirit to join this year’s 2015 partnership trip to our sister church. The team leader (a close family friend and World Orphans staff member) has asked my dad to come for years because of his heart for the vulnerable and his dental expertise. He had previously declined, but this would be the year that the Holy Spirit would say 'go'. I was very excited, for I had only been to Honduras on family mission trips, and yearned to meet our church family in Kenya. I would be my dad’s dental assistant yet again.

We had worshipped on Sunday, and now we stepped into Monday with a bit more rest than the days before. 

Our schedule had been to visit a dentist in Nairobi to discuss the equipment we would need for the clinic, eat a quick lunch, and then continue to visit some homes involved in FOH’s Home Base Care program. 

Terrible traffic, a late lunch, and general mishaps delayed us.

After lunch we were told that the father who had experienced a terrible accident had suddenly passed away leaving behind three children and a very sickly wife.

We were invited to visit and pray for the new widow (Veronica) and to attend the youngest daughter’s (Mercy) discovery of her father's death. I felt sorrow, but nothing compared to their grief at his loss.

We made it through a Holy Spirit filled afternoon visiting other families with the bluntness of poverty thrust in our faces and the power of Christ’s family encouraging our souls.

Due to all the delays, we weren’t able to make the trip to the grieving family until late in the evening. We were soon lost on the dark roads weaving through the community. Eventually a young boy was invited into our van, giving us directions with a proud, straight form. The widow greeted us outside with a melancholy countenance.

She led us into her faintly lit home, a stark contrast to the dark alley entrance.

A tiny living room with a middle aged woman and young girl met our foreign eyes. They stood, allowing us to squeeze our party of nine into a very small space. When we were settled, a quiet presence engulfed the warm air.

An Aunt turned to Mercy. Although she spoke in the complicated tongue of Swahili, we knew what she was saying.

We watched Mercy become orphaned in front of our eyes.

Praying for Mercy as she learned of her father's passing.

My dad rarely ever cries, but he and the rest of the team joined me in silent tears as we witnessed a ten-year-old girl’s heart shatter.

In the background Veronica’s close friend wept. 

Our team leader sat with the widow, for she had known this family ever since the partnership had started. Veronica’s head rested on the kind leader’s shoulder, and our leader spoke in a soft tone to the widow.

“We have informed our church of what happened, Veronica. They are all praying for you.”

Veronica opened her eyes, her raspy breath and weak body reflecting the pain inside.

“They are all aware?” Came her reply in a barely audible voice.

“Yes. They are all aware.”

Our team leader couldn’t see the widow’s face, and I don’t know if the rest of the team saw what I did. 

A picture of the Mboya family (Veronica is in blue; Mercy is in pink).

Veronica’s countenance, despite the grief-filled eyes and worn soul, changed. Relief flooded her face. This relief represented that someone knew, and was praying to an almighty God for her.

That feeling stemmed from the relationship sowed by many years of communion between our churches. I knew then that this wasn’t about going on a mission trip and changing the world. It wasn’t my proud American sacrifice for a good cause. The partnership was about the honorable privilege to pray and encourage a fellow believer in the midst of sorrow.

To be a part of the Body of Christ and obey his words no matter what the cost.

“...To visit the orphans and widows in their affliction…” Not to gain some shining medal or mark for my good sacrifice, but to sacrifice and gain nothing in return. And why didn’t this sink in before? I understood in part, but never knew until I experienced the context. Suddenly I had a face and life story. 

Could some of us be afraid to reveal God’s love and the awesomeness of His plan? 

Cannot we, those privileged with an abundance of wealth, give our love and prayers for those afflicted?

Can we defy the cultural barrier, the flames that could burn, and become a warrior of faith and brother to a brother? 

Or are we like the people of old, who turn on brother and sister for personal gain?

Visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and keep oneself unstained from the world.

There is so much left to imagine.

I never could have thought of the ten-year-old girl weeping for her dead father would be witnessed by a fifteen-year-old American girl with her father beside her, alive and well.

And I never would have dreamed that American would be me.

I am blessed by the hand of the Holy Spirit to become a witness of affliction through a Church Partnership in the body of Christ.

Special thanks to: Fountain of Hope Church, World Orphans, and River Oaks Community Church. 

"Bwana asifiwe!" (Praise the Lord)

- Ella Pearl Evans

When Suffering Has A Name

The Christian response to suffering engages human emotion where Church Partnership brings us face-to-face with suffering and tragedy. It is an honor to hold one another in grief and weep compassionate tears in loss. Jesus, who suffered and is sovereign, is our greatest living example of compassion and hope.

World Orphans wholistic approach to ministry sees the orphans’ need for food and education and, most importantly, recognizes the power of the Gospel as the greatest help and hope, both in this age and the age to come … until they all have homes.

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Mental Miracles: 24 Kenyan Children are Defying Odds

by Kathy Davis | Director of Wholistic Care Reuniting! Wholistic educational impact! Quality family time! Are we there yet?

Summer is in full swing and in less than four weeks, River Oaks Community Church (ROCC) will embark on their 6th annual partnership trip to Fountain of Hope church (FOH) in Nairobi, Kenya. What began with willing hearts and a common goal to care for orphans and vulnerable children has become a significant friendship and family bond between two churches from across the globe. It is precisely what we hope every one of our partnerships become.

6.24.15_IMG_5555I have had the joy of participating with a team from ROCC, which happens to be my home church, every summer. Our short week together is a personal highlight and a deeply anticipated family reunion. The icing on the cake is found in the time we spend with our beloved brothers and sisters. Christ’s love, and willingness of the church, is impacting the development of precious children who began with a deep need of rescue, nurture, and care. I love my Kenya family. I love their love. And today, as I anticipate this trip, I can’t wait to see their faces.

So, you may be curious, “What is happening after six years of partnering with a church in Nairobi? What difference does church partnership actually make in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children?” I'm so glad you asked!

FOH has been extending their arms and hearts to 24 vulnerable children, and their persistent love is making a difference. Any given day will likely include both laughter and tears, as caregivers seek to understand how to most effectively care for the ongoing needs of the children. The restorative development of orphaned and vulnerable children, through the church, is continually empowered by the Holy Spirit and the loving commitment they demonstrate every day.

One of the wholistic provisions of Church Partnership is education. FOH provides a loving and safe environment for the children to heal, grow, and learn. Precious young lives are continuing to be encouraged with the truth that their past does not have to determine their future. The remarkable result is that four children passed their primary exams last year and another eight have passed this year!

How significant is this? It is nothing short of miraculous! Half of the children have surpassed the statistical odds and have gained entrance into secondary school.

A little more background: the Kenyan education system is similar to what we have in the United States. The system is referred to as an 8-4-4 system of education. Primary school lasts for 8 years. Following primary school, there are 4 years of secondary school. Then, there may be 4 years of university for those who can afford it and have high enough grades. Sadly, enrollment drops dramatically after the primary level. Secondary schools, unfortunately, are not as well attended as primary schools, mostly due to the high cost of tuition and selective admissions process.

After primary school, children are required to take a national exam (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) in order to progress to secondary school. Only those with high enough scores are admitted to the government’s secondary schools. These schools are boarding schools and the score of each child’s exam determines the selection of the school for each child.

6.24.15_509As a result, the children at FOH will often be found studying in the middle of the night as they realize how significant education is in regards to breaking the cycle of poverty.

You see, what is extraordinary is that all of the children who entered the program have come from heartbreaking circumstances. Some have experienced physical and sexual abuse. Most have suffered abandonment and neglect. Every single one of them has obstacles to overcome.

And this is where we come in. World Orphans wholistic approach to ministry seeks to care for the whole child (spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally) and the development of the 'whole' child is of great value, including a child's ability to learn.

2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

"Studies about early childhood development indicate that the brain develops in response to experiences with caregivers, family and the community, and that its development is directly linked to the quality and quantity of those experiences. The brain develops at an incredible pace during the early developmental stages of infancy and childhood. Meeting a child’s needs during these early stages creates emotional stability and security that is needed for healthy brain development. Repeated exposure to stressful events can affect the brain’s stress response, making it more reactive and less adaptive. The following are some of the possible effects of child abuse and neglect on a child’s mental health: Anxiety, depression, dissociation, concentrating, academic problems in school-aged children and adolescents, withdrawal and/or difficulty connecting with others" (Psychological Trauma and the Developing Brain, Stien and Kendall).

6.24.15_IMG_5512Clearly, it is no small victory that the first 12 children who have tested for the National Primary Exam have passed and gained entrance into secondary school.

Last year we spent a day traveling to all four of the children's secondary schools, hug their necks, and visit with them for a few minutes. This year we’ll do it again! I can’t wait to pile in a van, bring a picnic lunch, and trek across the countryside to celebrate the turning of a new page with the brothers and sisters I love.

 

My heart skips a beat as I ponder the descent into Nairobi and land into the loving embrace of the family we love and the partnership we share. Please pray for our trip, for FOH, ROCC, and for the amazing 24 children in Kenya.

#untiltheyallhavehomes

Enjoy "meeting" the children from FOH and seeing a few photos from previous years trips...

6.24.15_the FOH group

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He Became and I Become

By Kathy Davis | Director of Wholistic Care

The question is often asked of children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember my well-meaning grandfather asking me this question, hoping I would dream big, work hard, and achieve everything I ever desired. I pondered various opportunities like becoming a nurse so I could take care of sick people or a flight attendant to serve others while seeing the world. I wanted to make him proud. I wanted to becomesomebody. Individual success was marked by the professional path I would choose and how hard I would work to become all I could be.

Success that is marked by what I might becomehas at times taken me down a path of discouragement and disillusionment where the fundamental question of my identity and purpose go unanswered. Understanding God’s story and His intent for my life has been paramount in addressing the fundamental questions about why my life was purposed and what it is to become.

“I, Yahweh, have called you for a righteous purpose, and I will hold you by your hand. I will keep you and appoint you to be a covenant for the people and a light to the nations” (Is. 42:6).

World Orphans addresses the fundamental question of its mission and purpose with the Biblical view that we believe what Scripture says about the church, the orphan, and the expansion of the Gospel. I’m honored to share a recent example with you.

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Wholistic Care (a function of World Orphans Projects and Church Partnerships) just returned from hosting their first Haiti Orphaned and Vulnerable Child (OVC) Caregiver Training for more than 270 precious men and women who have graciously welcomed vulnerable children into their homes and hearts.

Wholistic care for children (spiritual, physical, emotional and mental) recognizes that mankind has value, dignity, and purpose because we are created in the image of God, and for God. We learn from scripture that we all begin on the same playing field. There is no distinction between nations, races, education, or economic status. There is no one who is righteous, no one who does good, and we are all in need of forgiveness that we do not deserve and that we cannot earn.

None is righteous, no, not one
— Romans 3:10
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World Orphans President and adoptive father, Scott Vair, began our training together by encouraging the caregivers with the biblical view of orphans and adoption. Scripture teaches that we are brought into God’s family through the blood of Jesus Christ, resulting in forgiveness of sin, spiritual adoption, and eternal inheritance. Scott taught that we do not love in an effort to earn God’s favor but we love others because God first loved us. The outflow of our love pours from the love that has graciously been poured into our hearts. Following this message, six caregivers responded and accepted the gift of salvation and invitation to become a part of God’s family! This tender moment still brings tears to my eyes. It was a joy to welcome six new sisters into the family of God.

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“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).

The caregivers willingness to provide for orphaned and vulnerable children in the context of family is a beautiful metaphor of God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

"In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose…” (Eph. 1:3-7).

The practical components of this training bridged the divide of cultures and degrees of suffering because the righteous acts of Jesus specifically address the heart of human suffering and need. The degrees of suffering from nation to nation are marked by great contrast, yet the hope for every heart remains the same since hope’s remedy is not marked by status, nationality, or degree of hardship; rather, our boast is in the Lord who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

“Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” It is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us--our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

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The OVC Caregiver Training included:

- Identity in Christ - The Biblical View of Orphans and Adoption - My Hope (a children's workbook designed to help caregivers shepherd the hearts of their children, work through difficult places, and find healing and hope through Christ) - The Biblical Premise for Child Protection - Physical and Sexual Abuse Awareness and Detection - Grace-filled Instruction and Discipline - The Significance of Oral Hygiene

Willing caregivers who have taken children into their homes are greatly commended. These men and women are engaging in the hard work of daily tending to the hearts and needs of defenseless children who were far from protective love and care, but are now brought near.

“It is not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

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What an absolute joy to participate in bringing the ultimate hope of Jesus and practical encouragement to the work they are doing through the living word of God. I, along with my beloved brothers and sisters in Haiti, are continuing to discover what it means to be created for a righteous purpose.

Understanding that Jesus became sin so that I might become the righteousness of God continually informs my identity and purpose as a woman of God and compels me to live in light of this reality. Jesus, who knew no sin, bore our (my) sins that we (I) might become the righteousness of God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

My purpose and identity did not result in becoming a nurse or flight attendant (although I have great respect for both of these professions). I am continually deepening in my understanding that my ability to become anything rests solely in the righteous One who ‘became’ for me what I could not earn and did not deserve. I have been created, formed, redeemed, and named.

“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Is. 43:1).

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My boast is the Lord and the grace He continually gives to those who believe. I am so grateful for the caregivers in Haiti who are strategically placed by God to bring children into their families and care for their needs.

Truly, they have been created for ‘a righteous purpose’ and this love reflects the heart of our Father in Heaven.

“But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24).

And now you!

What are your thoughts?

How do you answer the question, What is my purpose?

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Why Go?

By Bailey Kalvelage | Director of Mobilization 

There is an ongoing debate of whether short-term mission (STM) trips are helpful or hurtful.  Are these trips “spiritual tourism” or do they in fact leave a lasting impact to the glory of God?

As a sending organization of 30-40 STM teams each year, World Orphans has much invested in the answer to that question.  Additionally, as the Church Partnership mobilization director, whose job is to intently focus on equipping teams for travel, I personally have much invested in this question, as well.

It’s a question that cannot be ignored.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, …”

This statement is not an option or something Jesus gave to His disciples to consider, it is a command.  As Jesus’ modern day disciples, we, too, are to go into our communities, our country and our world to teach, spread the Gospel, and make disciples.

World Orphans is honored to mobilize 36 US churches to “go” and serve alongside their international partners.  Why do we send these teams?  We have a heart to mobilize the church to care for the orphaned and vulnerable.  World Orphans understands that STM trips are a bridge within partnership, the connecting piece for God’s global church to unite in doing His will.

In January 2014, Daybreak Community Church visited their Haitian church partner, Mission Eglise El Schaddai. Alongside Pastor Pierre, the team united with their Haitian brothers to hold two medical clinics and children’s camps, enabling them to draw more than 500 people into the church to hear and feel the love of Jesus. It brings a smile to my face thinking that because of God’s work through this team, children and families were cared for and heard the Gospel. Praise Him!

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“…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”

As I consider if it is best for STM teams to go, how they go must be equally deliberated.  Jesus’ disciples are called to baptize, teach and obey. He calls His disciples to engage in relationship.

As World Orphans mobilizes the church, the emphasis is not on work projects or task; the emphasis is relationship.  While medical clinics and outreach events are planned and implemented, all are done within the context of relationship.  Of utmost value to World Orphans is the US and international churches connecting to fellowship, pray, learn and serve with one another – to build relationship.

The same church, Daybreak Community Church, spent New Years Eve with their Haitian brothers and sisters.  Over a pot of Blessing Tea, they sang, danced, praised God, and prayed together.  In their time together, whether being serious or having fun, both churches were equipped and inspired as one united body to care for children, each other, and their community.  What a beautiful picture of the hands and feet of Jesus reaching across the nations!

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“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Last, as Scripture teaches, Jesus is with us as we go.  With Christ as the cornerstone of C2C partnerships, teams travel with a heart to make Him known.  All clinics, seminars and outreaches are done under the umbrella of the local church, allowing the church to minister to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of each person.  As immediate needs are met with the help of the short-term team, long-term relationships amongst the community are established for the international church to nurture the love of Jesus.

Jesus, our Savior: where would we be without Him?  I certainly never thought that I would be helping people travel around the world from my little house in Michigan. When we surrender our jobs, our families, our churches, and our STM trips, He takes them and makes them a beautiful work for His glory.

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When the church is actively caring for the needs around them, Christ is glorified.

World Orphans will continue to send STM teams in 2014 to nurture relationships and care for children, to the glory of God.  You can join with us in sending these teams by praying or going.  Specific ways to pray for our teams include: deepening of relationships within each partnership, sensitivity to the culture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, humility to love and receive love, and safety.  If you desire to join us on a short-term trip this year, click here.

What are your thoughts about short-term mission trips?  Do you believe they are helpful or hurtful?

 

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