March 29, 2014

God’s Call Answered

By John Rakis - Sr. Director of Donor Ministry

20140309_175633546_iOS2What would you do if you had a young family and you felt God calling you to do something new? What if that call was to start a church in a place with no other Christian churches but multiple “churches” that worshipped evil spirits?

Pastor Daniel received and answered that call into a difficult, dark part of Port au Prince, Haiti. There were seven Voodoo “churches” and no hint of Christianity. It was hard. His “type” was hated. But God was doing a work in Pastor Daniel’s heart and teaching him that by serving and loving, He would shine through.

Pastor Daniel moved into the neighborhood. He made the area his hometown. He got out of the church building and served where the people were, where he was needed.

By visiting families in the neighborhood, Pastor Daniel’s desire to care for children grew. The people were starting to know and love him. Then … the earthquake happened.

Immediately, Pastor Daniel started caring for those he had grown to love. He took in children who had lost their parents. He opened his doors and his heart even more.

Shortly after the earthquake, World Orphans went to Haiti, met with several Christian churches and pastors, and started our Home Based Care Program. This program is based on a desire for children to be cared for in families, and for the local church to come alongside and help. Pastor Daniel was one of 14 pastors who joined in partnership with World Orphans. Then these churches were partnered with US churches, providing resources and support for ministry to children and families in great need.

One of those children was Wendez. Wendez lost his father before the earthquake, and then he lost his mother on that horrific day. Pastor Daniel cared for Wendez until someone in the neighborhood agreed to take him in. That family had very little income and other children they were struggling to care for. They were not Christians. After taking in Wendez, Pastor Daniel visited them often, helping with food and medical needs. He made sure the children could go to school, and he built a strong relationship with Wendez, helping him deal with his loss.

Wendez needed the hope only Jesus could provide, and he soon became a Christian. It didn’t stop there. Wendez wanted his new family to have that same hope, and he kept sharing the love he had found. God used Wendez to reach his whole family. They all came to know Christ!!

This restoration happened throughout the neighborhood, and eventually all the Voodoo “churches” closed. The people wanted to know the God who Pastor Daniel served, because they saw love. God has worked miracles in this community.

Recently, Pastor Daniel’s US church partner had to withdraw from their partnership. World Orphans is providing support through our Rescue Partner Program until a new partner can be found.

The Rescue Partner Program is designed to help reach more children by supplying resources to support new church partners until we connect them with US church. Or, in this case, to fund ministry through a change in partnership. Ongoing and interim funds are needed to enable pastors like Daniel to provide consistent care for the children in their programs.

Rescue Partners commit to helping monthly through our easy, automated giving. Rescue Partners help to see that children like Wendez will never be abandoned and alone again.

We are grateful for our Rescue Partners.

On behalf of Pastor Daniel, Wendez, and all of us at World Orphans, thank you.

March 29, 2014

The Worship and Justice Tour

by Scott Vair - President

“Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.” John Piper – Let The Nations Be Glad!

We are pleased to partner with Bluetree (wrote/recorded the song “God of this City”) for their Worship and Justice Tour.

Bluetree will be performing at twelve churches in Michigan from April 4–16, 2014, gathering concert-goers to worship with voices and actions exploring together what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ. Aaron Boyd (Bluetree’s lead singer) will be inviting people into a closer relationship with the Father as he leads in song and describes firsthand the work of local churches around the world that are sacrificially serving orphans in their communities.

Aaron is passionate about justice and the hurting in our world, especially vulnerable children. In this video, he explains the story behind the song God of this City:

March 29, 2014

Twins of Ratanakiri

By Kevin Squires - Sr. Director of Church Partnerships 

Cambodia-Woman-Red-Scarf2Tucked away in the northeast corner of Cambodia near the border of Vietnam, the province of Ratanakiri has become a destination over the last decade for missionaries and Cambodian Christians. Widely considered among the least developed and most impoverished regions in Cambodia, Ratanakiri is home to a diverse group of hill tribes and ethnic groups. Still dealing with the lingering effects of the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge, where more than 2 million Cambodians lost their lives, the province has long been an unreached region for the spreading of the Gospel. It is in this setting that we met the twins of Ratanakiri.

Over the last couple of years, missionaries and local Christians began hearing stories about a number of babies in the region being abandoned, trafficked, or killed. One story that caught their attention centered around a local religious belief that involved murdering sets of newborn twins because of their connection to evil spirits. Supposedly a long-standing belief in Ratanakiri, this form of genocide revolved around their fear of curses that would allegedly harm families for years unless the babies were killed.

In response to these tragedies, missionaries and local churches in Cambodia began seeking ways to rescue these children. In the village of Tang Laum, the local church persuaded the parents of twin girls to ignore the religious ritual and to keep the babies.  Today, the girls are 16 months old, healthy, and well cared for by their parents. Just as exciting, the parents both received Christ as their personal Savior in March 2013. Through partnership with World Orphans, our in-country partner – Children in Families (CIF), and the care of the local church, the girls will receive proper nutrition and spiritual guidance as they grow up.

Unfortunately, many other crises affect the orphans and vulnerable children of Ratanakiri. False religious beliefs and extreme poverty wreak havoc on the area. For example, it is a common practice within the region to kill newborns in situations where the mother died during the delivery because of the false belief that a curse will infiltrate the family. In other cases, extreme poverty continues to escalate the culture of trafficking, thereby increasing the rate of orphans.

Jesse Blaine, World Orphans Country Director in Cambodia, notes that in spite of the darkness, the local missionaries and small Cambodian church (only 1% of the population) are rising up to respond to the needs of local families. The church is working hard to connect orphans to extended family members, and in some cases reuniting children with their biological parents. The church is playing a key role in follow-up with ongoing visits of encouragement, gospel sharing, and the distribution of resources and supplies. In addition, church members serve families by helping them to develop long-term plans for savings, education, and development. Some church members also serve as emergency caregivers for children while others search for long-term solutions for each child.

Thankfully, as a result of the power of God and the work of His church, many children have been rescued and families have come to the Lord. Although the darkness is real, it continues to amaze us to hear about God’s work in the region of Ratanakiri. We are constantly left in awe at what God is doing there.

Please take time today to pray for our work in Cambodia and for the local missionaries and churches that are rescuing children, strengthening families, and spreading the hope of the Gospel. Pray for Jesse and Sarah Blaine and their two children as they continue to serve World Orphans in hopes of strengthening the local church to care for children in families. And pray that God’s mighty hand will continue to stir up the Gospel in the unreached areas of Ratanakiri and bring more and more families into His loving and caring arms.

February 27, 2014

Rescue Teams Are Here

World Orphans is excited to announce Rescue Teams!

What is a Rescue Team? It’s doing what you already do to make a difference!

First, pick a World Orphans project from somewhere around the world  that you want to support. Next, sign up to compete in a race, host a sale or a party, give up your birthday, or create your own campaign. Then, invite your friends and family to join you in making a difference!

Check out a few recent testimonials!

“I read a book about raising unselfish children in a selfish world. I really liked the idea of a charity birthday party where people could give the amount they would spend on a gift to a worthy organization. Now that the girls are older, we allow them to help choose their charity. It has been a wonderful teaching tool and puts things in perspective for us as a family. We plan on continuing this every year, and we are excited to see how God uses it in our children’s lives and those they give away their birthdays to!” - Mother of Haley and Jenna (Scott Depot, WV)

“It sounded like a simple idea—get a bunch of folks to donate unwanted items to be sold in a garage sale and give the money raised to World Orphans. My wife and I and a few close friends already knew about the global issue of orphans and vulnerable children. Now, thanks to a simple garage sale event, a whole bunch of people know and care about this issue.” – Anonymous

It doesn’t take much to make a big difference in the lives of children around the world! Be an advocate for the orphan today, doing what you already do!

Click here to pick a project

February 27, 2014

Seeing the Bible Come to Life

by John Rakis – Donor Ministry

DSC_0124Have you ever been stuck on a bible verse? I have been looking at Matthew 5:14-16 for a few months now. I just seem to keep coming back to it and asking God to let me fully understand it. Well, I feel like a slow learner. This time with the verse has been great, and I feel I have come to see some interesting ways of thinking about it.

But, today I realized the truest meaning I have seen yet, and it is very simple. I have been trying to make it complicated or more insightful than I should have. Here is the verse:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” - Matthew 5:14-16

Photo taken by World Orphans-Ethiopia

As part of my work here at World Orphans to share with you what God is doing through our ministry, I have been reading our church partner quarterly reports. As I was reading one this morning, I saw this verse come to life in a very real and amazing way. The following is an excerpt of a report from a church in Ethiopia:

“According to my evaluation, my church, in general, has been grounded in wholistic ministry. The surrounding community has been influenced by our ministry. Through the last three months, we have seen God’s empowerment in our preaching, teaching, visiting, and supporting ministries. We have seen amazing impact in the orphan ministry, as well. For example, two unbelievers came by themselves to our church. When we asked them how they were influenced, they said, ‘Your love and practical support for the poor make us want to come to Jesus.’ These two individuals recently gave their lives to Christ and are now attending our church. This is a very encouraging thing!”

WOW! Two people saw the members of the church out working in their community. When they looked closer they saw how they were caring for the poor and orphaned and were moved by that to visit the church! They saw the people, and then they saw the good works. Just like Jesus told us would happen. The result was also exactly like He said – bringing glory to God!

Please know that your support is doing great things. God is working to restore orphans, reach communities, and even enlighten a slow learner like me. I am very blessed to be able to hear what God is doing through World Orphans and my prayer is that you are too.

February 27, 2014

Answers to “Most Asked” Questions

Two of the most frequently asked questions we receive at World Orphans are “Where do you serve?” and “Are there any openings for partnerships?” Currently we serve in 12 countries – Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Iraq, India, China, and Cambodia. As for opportunities for partnership, here’s a glimpse into a few of our openings…

Ebenezer Bible Church – Temba, South Africa

Located in the midst of one of the most concentrated outbreaks of AIDS/HIV in South Africa, the church has a heart for the people living in the darkest of circumstances. Years ago, while brainstorming ways to rescue orphans and vulnerable children, the church leaders felt called to open a family-style home that serves as a transitional care house for children who are in the process of being reunited with their families.  Today, through their partnership with World Orphans, the church is providing a safe home, food, education, and godly counseling for 20 children.

Lebu Kale Heywet Church – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Planted in 2007, the church has grown to over 600 people. Through their passion to love God and serve others, the church leaders began visiting orphans and vulnerable children during the early stages of their church plant. As a result, many people in the community came to Christ, the church body was strengthened, and the local Muslim community was in awe of the church’s love for non-believers. Today, they are caring for 20 children through the World Orphans Home-Based Care model. The church oversees the wholistic care of the children by providing them with food, education, medical care, and counseling.

Iglsia Jesucristo Rey – Guatemala City, Guatemala

For a small church, they have an enormous heart for outreach. Their 50 members primarily consist of widows and orphans, yet despite dealing with difficult circumstances, they have partnered with World Orphans and AMG Guatemala to care for 20 orphans and vulnerable children through our Home-Based Care model.

Iglesia Mision Cristiana Dios Con Nosotros – Guatemala City, Guatemala

With a heart and passion to care for those in the violent “Red Zone” of Guatemala City, the church consists of 250 people devoted to helping rescue the drug and alcohol addicts and bringing peace to an area torn apart by gang violence. Their huge vision to see their community transformed and lives saved, led to their partnership with World Orphans and AMG Guatemala to care for 20 orphans and vulnerable children through our Home-Based Care model.

Iglesia Senderos de la Cruz – Guatemala City, Guatemala

Located near the “Red Zone” of Guatemala City, the church constantly faces the threats of gang violence, drug abuse, extreme poverty, and child abandonment. Nonetheless, they have been a beacon of hope for many people looking for a speck of light in the midst of seemingly unending darkness. Despite 50% of the community battling teen pregnancy, child abandonment, and addiction, the church has grown to over 300 members as they continue to care for the deepest of needs. Their vision to serve the least of these opened their hearts to partner with World Orphans and AMG Guatemala to care for 20 orphans and vulnerable children through our Home-Based Care model.

As you can see, each of these churches are on a relentless journey to care for those in need, but each of them can only be half of the partnership! The other half consists of churches across the United States, yet to step up…churches that not only have resources to share and the knowledge to train, but also have the humility to receive and the heart to learn. Please prayerfully consider talking to your church today about the opportunity to partner with World Orphans, so together we can empower the church to care for orphans – UNTIL THEY ALL HAVE HOMES!

January 28, 2014

Abounding in the Work of the Lord

by Nicole Leeper

IMG_1565“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

At World Orphans, we have the privilege of watching many friends who first hear about God’s heart for the orphan transition into “abounding in the work of the Lord.” One of those friends is Sharon Roesler.

In 2010, a neighbor of Sharon’s went on a Church-to-Church trip with World Orphans to Kenya. Sharon and her husband made a donation toward the trip. This was her first connection to World Orphans, but not her last.

Three years passed, when Sharon visited the World Orphans website and found our volunteer opportunities. Now we enjoy seeing her smiling face weekly, as she helps us administratively at our home office in Castle Rock, Colorado.

We may have come to be friends through a donation, meeting at a conference, or on a World Orphans trip. However we met, we are thankful for you. And like Sharon’s story, we anticipate that God will continue to use you in new ways. It is our desire to provide a place where gifts can be shared and where relationships grow, until they all have homes.

To learn about new ways to get involved, click here, or to volunteer, simply reply to this email. We welcome your friendship and the opportunity to serve together.

January 28, 2014

To Be a Brother Like That

by Kevin Squires 

school40“A partnership is a complementary relationship driven by a common purpose and sustained by a willingness to learn and grow together in obedience to God.” – Daniel Rickett

In his book, Building Strategic Relationships, Daniel Rickett recounts a partnership story in action…

A man walking to his car saw a young boy hanging around it. Suspicious of the boy, the man asked, “What are you doing?”

“Studying this car,” the boy replied.

Yeah sure, the man thought. So, he began to quiz the boy. “What kind of car is it?” he asked.

“A 1999 Mercedes Benz,” the boy said.

“What color?” the man asked.

“Metallic burgundy,” said the boy.

sam and kimAfter a few more questions, the man realized the little guy knew his stuff, and they began to chat.  The boy asked how much he paid for the car. The man replied, “Nothing. I had a need, and my brother gave it to me.”

“Man, I wish…,” the boy started to say.

“… that you had a brother like that?” the man interrupted.

“No,” said the boy. “I wish I could be a brother like that.”

school34At World Orphans, we equip, inspire, and mobilize the church to care for orphans and vulnerable children. We want to see churches across the globe engaged. We want to see children restored.  We want to see communities transformed by the Gospel of Christ.

One of the ways we do that is to partner with US churches who are willing to say, “I want to be a brother like that.” Why? Because in that brotherhood, we find opportune ways to engage our community to truly serve the servants of God.

Take, for example, John and Kim Silverberg from Calvary Chapel in Troy, Missouri. On a World Orphans trip in 2010, the Silverbergs found the failure rate of orphans aging out of secular orphanages to be quite alarming. Kim knew through Scripture that God has called the church to care for these orphans. As a result, John and Kim convinced their church to partner with World Orphans. In late 2010, they stepped alongside Pastor Sam Magumba and his church in Jinja, Uganda, to care for orphans and vulnerable children. As Kim states, the driving force behind all of that is that “God gets the glory when His followers are obedient to His calling to care for those in need.”

john kim sam prossyIn hopes that others would see it as a partnership of brotherhood, the Silverbergs recently created the 1,000 People Project to spread awareness to the plight of the orphan and to raise funds for a primary school near Pastor Sam’s church. “People need to be shown this reality and invited to participate, or they will never leave their pews,” Kim believes. The funding goal of the Silverbergs’ 1,000 People Project is for their local community to raise $55,000 (average of $55/person) for the Ugandan school to educate the orphans and vulnerable children. “Perhaps of equal importance,” Kim says, “is that we feel God working through this ministry so much that we want to show others what we have discovered since we decided to journey outside of the four walls of our church.” To date, over the last few months, the 1,000 People Project has raised over $10,000 and expanded their brotherhood throughout their community.

Bono once said, “Distance does not decide who is your brother and who is not.”

Are you hoping to expand the walls of your church?  If so, consider forming a partnership with World Orphans, and pray about whether you are ready “to be a brother like that.”

January 28, 2014

Affirming Our Vision and Looking Ahead

by Scott Vair
President
World Orphans Management Team

World Orphans Management Team

World Orphans Management Team gathered a couple of weeks ago to look back at 2013 and plan ahead for 2014. It was a time of worship, prayer, unity, fellowship, laughter, strategy, and planning.

John Rakis, Sr. Director of Donor Ministries

John Rakis, Sr. Director of Donor Ministry

It was a time of looking back at our history and passion of partnering with churches and affirming our vision to empower the church to care for orphans – until they all have homes; a time of reflecting on why we exist – because we believe what Scripture says about the church, the orphan, and the expansion of the gospel; and a time of commitment to our mission to equip, inspire and mobilize the church to care for orphans and vulnerable children. Churches engaged, children restored, communities transformed by the Gospel of Christ.

Jeremy Resmer, Sr. Director of Projects & Kathy Davis, Director of Wholistic Care

Jeremy Resmer, Sr. Director of Projects & Kathy Davis, Director of Wholistic Care

It was a time to celebrate our core values of dependence on God, passion for the local church, and commitment to partnership; a time of championing our aspirational values – those characteristics we are striving to achieve – we value relationships, humility, grace, family, the wholistic care of children and our staff, and the desire to do ministry with excellence.

Spending time in prayer

Spending time in prayer

It was a time of significant prayer for our staff, our supporters, our volunteers, our international church partners, our western church partners, for the children we serve, and a time for God to shine through it all as our hope in this world.

There is much excitement at World Orphans. We are glad 2014 is here – there is much before us. As we race ahead with our vision, goals, and plans, may we do so with great love, being ever-mindful to give praise and glory to the One who loved us first.

November 26, 2013

The Great Reward of Worship

by Nicole Leeper

Haiti Worships 1World Orphans believes in equipping the church to care for orphans, but what does equipping mean in it’s most complete form? Is it providing money? Is it meeting physical needs? Would you feel fully equipped if you were never encouraged? And how is one really encouraged?

Haiti Worships 5Earlier this month, World Orphans sent a different kind of trip to Haiti. A Worship Trip. This was the first of its kind. We gathered 14 worship leaders and musicians from across the United States, and spent a week worshipping. We visited several of the World Orphans church partners in Port au Prince. The team took tangible gifts for the churches like instruments and sound equipment, as well as hygiene packets for families. However, these were not the greatest gifts of this trip. The most abundant blessing for both the churches and the team members, was time in the presence of God.

Haiti Worships 7In our time together, relationships were built, laughter was shared, games were played, songs were sung, and worship was in it all! We visited school children in some of our church partner programs, and even got to interrupt class time to worship with them! What a delight to hear and see their young voices and hands lifted to the Lord. Our team learned alongside the churches that a lifestyle of worship is a life of sacrifice. And it is in this sacrifice that God Himself becomes everything we need.

Equipping churches goes far beyond just meeting physical needs. Wholistic care is only truly complete when we are worshipping God with everything we do, and allowing His presence to provide the things we are not capable of. God shows us in His word that He…all by Himself…is the Great Reward of worship. And He is everything we need.

In Numbers 18:20, the Lord told Aaron, “You will not have an inheritance in their land; there will be no portion among them for you. I am your portion and your very great reward.”

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