Help Needed

I subscribe to a few blogs and get updates when new posts come along. I see and hear a lot of needs across Africa and Central America but one yesterday caught my attention. Tom Davis from Children's HopeChest posted about the food shortage in Ethiopia and Swaziland. He is asking for people to help provide food for the kids. Food will be sent to children in Swaziland along with a container and food will be sent to Ethiopia to Moses' Children Home. Moses' Home is desperately in need of food right now. This one hit me in the gut. This is the orphanage we have been talking about and getting sponsors for children. Please take a few minutes to read Tom's post and pray about what you can do. I have included 2 links. The first is the original post that describes the need. The second is an update from Tom posted this morning.

URGENT! Help Feed Hungry Kids in Ethiopia and Swaziland

February Food Drive: Day 2

Moses Children's House

DSC_0279 As part of Project Ethiopia, the RLC team traveled with Children’s HopeChest to scout out orphan communities in need of help. None of us can solve world hunger by ourselves but you can make a difference in the lives of 65 children living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

After spending just a few hours with the kids of Moses Children’s House, I was ashamed at how stark and boring it is. Tiny. And the bare walls and concrete floors are reflected in the eyes of the children they house. The home is not loveless but it’s the kind of incomplete love you find from a single parent particularly a widower who has lost the woman he loves and is still finding his way. The kitchen is barely adequate and the sustenance it offers falls far short of food for the soul. One of the girls showed us a booklet of her drawings, poems, and favorite lyrics. She dreams of being a journalist, and we talk about education knowing full well that without intervention she’s far more likely to follow the footsteps of the prostitutes who patrol the nearby street corners. My biggest concern with Moses Children’s House is that we will forget it. What church will help us breathe life and inspiration into these walls and these lives?

What they need?

DSC_0250 Family. The children at Moses House need a church family who will offer stability, love them through letters and personal visits, walk with them through life, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. Here’s an overview of Children’s HopeChest’s Orphanage Sponsorship program. Daniel Clark can help with any questions you or your church may have.

The Basics. Serving these orphans begins with meeting their basic needs for survival. Today, right now, the kids at Moses House do not have enough food, and the house tenancy is far beyond capacity. Children’s HopeChest needs to raise $15K immediately to begin providing food and expanding housing facilities while we find a church sponsor.

Help. Children’s HopeChest is hiring in-country staff to oversee and manage these Orphanage Sponsorships and to identify additional sponsorship opportunities. The field team’s role is threefold: 1) point of continuity, trust, and fun to the kids throughout the year 2) point of financial accountability for orphanage leadership and 3) facilitate connections between the sponsoring church and children in the orphanage.

It's Official!

We have an orphanage! Over the last few weeks, I've been working with the guys from Red Letters Campaign (RLC) and Children's HopeChest to find an orphanage that we could be involved with. Right before Christmas we got everything nailed down. We will be working with Moses' House orphanage in Ethiopia. I only have few details right now but I know there are 70 children there in need of sponsors. Right now, we have 11 sponsors and RLC has 20 other sponsors. So we have almost half of the children sponsored!

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please let me know. I have been emailing the people who I know are interested. If you have not received an email from me and are interested, please either leave a comment on the blog or drop me a line using the 'Contact Me' widget on the right side of the blog. I'll be posting more information about Moses' House as I get it. Again, thank you for your willingness to make a difference.

Red Letters

This video gives some good information about Ethiopia and sponsorship from some of the folks at Red Letters Campaign. Please take a few minutes to watch the video and pray about how you can be involved.

Check back in a coupe of days for information about the orphanage we will be working with. The name of orphanage is Moses' Home. I'm gathering information right now and hope to have a new post very soon!

Just Getting Started

I'm sorry it's been a while since I posted. I've been trying to figure out what to post about. I thought I would start out by letting you know where we stand on sponsors. Currently, we have 5 commitments to sponsor orphans in Ethiopia. How cool is that! However, we still have room for more people to be involved. I've added a sponsor tracker on the right side of the blog so you can keep up with our progress.

I know things are tight for a lot of families these days and I'm not saying you should take food off the table to be a sponsor but please pray about what you can do to help. Brea and I have talked about how much we can do. Right now, we are considering sponsoring 5 children. After a lot of prayer, we have decided to re-allocate some of our tithe to support orphans. I'm not saying that anybody else should do this but it is what we feel God wants us to do. All we're doing is giving back to God (whether it is to our church or to His work in Africa).

As we get closer to Christmas, please take a few minutes and ask God what He would have you do to help those in need. When you're trying to decide what to buy for the person on your list who has everything, take a minute and think about what you can give to a child in Ethiopia who has nothing. Even a small gift will make a huge difference in an orphans life. They deserve to have someone who cares about them. Someone who will pray for them. Someone who will write them letters. Someone who will love them. YOU can be that someone.

What Next

I wanted to clarify how things will work for everybody. I am just trying to determine if there is enough interest to get this sponsorship off the ground at a small orphanage. Then I would help coordinate things between us and Children's HopeChest. We would be partnering with Children's HopeChest. All payments would be made to them via auto draft or by physically sending them a check each month. The sponsorship would not actually get started until late December or early January at the earliest. There are a lot of details to get worked out and exchanging of information that needs to be done. Right now, we need at least 25 commitments to sponsor children to get the ball rolling. That could be 25 people sponsoring 1 child each or 5 people sponsoring 5 children each. I need to now pretty quickly if we have enough interest to sponsor 25 children. You can either leave a comment on the blog or use the Contact Me form on the right side of the page to send me an email (my button broke over the weekend so I have a form instead).

I appreciate everyone who has taken time to visit the blog and give me feedback. I have included an overview of Children's HopeChest to give you a little more information about them and what they do. I've also included a Franciscan pray at the very end of this post. Please take time to read that before you leave.

What Is Children’s Hopechest?

Children’s Hopechest is an international ministry to orphans, both during their time living in orphanages and as they transition into independent life. This means that Hopechest goes beyond ensuring that children without families have the basic needs of today to preparing these children for productive adult lives.

How Does Hopechest Do It?

To do this, Children’s Hopechest recruits and trains U.S. churches to care for an orphan community. Hopechest is enabling its partner churches and their members to be the hands and feet of Christ around the world. Hopechest, itself, does not operate orphanages, nor is it an adoption agency. Instead, the organization brings proven experience and resources to churches who want to develop a long-term, community-based orphan ministry.

What Does A Church Sponsorship Look Like?

Churches that work with Hopechest agree to:

1) Pray for the children regularly

2) Recruit individual child sponsors ($34/month financial contribution) for all the children

3) Plan an annual missions trip with the staff and sponsors of children

What Does the $34/month Go Toward?All sponsorship funds are combined to provide direct assistance to the children, spiritual discipleship and teaching for the children, Christmas parties, and administrative expenses. You can review the financial stewardship of Children’s Hopechest at Charity Navigator (link).

Franciscan prayer
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world so that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

More Details

I have received a few requests for more details so I thought I'd give more of what I know right now. I have attached a video where Tom Davis of Children's HopeChest explains in detail how sponsoring works and what all is done for the children. In the video, he refers to the church sponsoring children multiple times. I want to give you 2 definitions of church for you to ponder as you listen to this video.

1) a body of Christians worshipping in a particular building or constituting one congregation: She is a member of this church.

2) a collective group of Christians, caring about the poor for the same reason that God cares about the poor.

I believe the church is God's people not just a building we go to worship on Sundays and Wednesdays. So the church can and should care about the poor. WE should care about the poor and needy. We don't have to wait for our local church to start the process before we get involved. We are called to minister, period. Not to wait until the church tells us to minister. I'm not trying to bash the local. My family and I attend a local church that we love being involved with. I just don't believe God said you can't do something if it is not sponsored by your local church. Enough on that. If you want to talk more about that subject, feel free to drop me a note.

I've put a 'Contact Me' button over in the right sidebar if you want to contact me for any reason. If you want to sponsor a child or children, either drop me message from the 'Contact Me' button or post a comment. I will be contacting people over the next few days who have expressed interest in sponsoring already. As I said in the first post, all we need are 20 commitments and we can begin making a difference in the lives of these children.

Please watch the video and pray about what you can do to help.