Tag Archives: orphanages

Journey117 Director Rants About Orphan Care and Orphanages

19 Oct

Are orphanages a good thing or a bad thing? Aren’t there great orphanages out there that are a good option for children? Should churches and organizations invest in orphanages around the world….or is there a better way to care for the fatherless? Lori Resmer, Journey117 director, recently blogged about orphan care and how she believes the Church is doing it all wrong. Check out her thoughts here.

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A Touching Story from Uganda

20 Jul

Deborah, recent Journey 117 Uganda team member, shares about an orphan that captured her heart and reminded her of when she was 8 years old in a children’s home growing up…..

Safe In His Arms

While on my mission trip to Uganda I was working at a baby home feeding babies and loving on the littlest, sweetest orphans. I wanted to hold them all and just felt like I could have spent the whole 10 days there. A volunteer came into the nursery and asked if one of us could check in on a child that had been brought in that day. She said she was worried about her and felt bad leaving her. I immediately volunteered and headed to the isolation room. They kept them in there away from others until they could be checked out and cleared by a doctor. What I saw when I got there broke my heart. This child was in a dark room crying so hard she was hyperventilating. The sobs where gut-wrenching. I immediately picked her up and tried to console her. She clung to me with a death grip and continued to sob. I tried rocking her in my arms and rubbing her back and softly saying, “It’s ok, it’s ok.” The sobs kept coming and my heart kept breaking for her.

As I was turning around in this small room I saw the sign on the door that read “Isolation.” I was taken back by that because when I was 8 years old I was in a children’s home in an isolation room for three days. It was one of the hardest times of my life, and to this day I tear up when I think about it. I was traumatized more by that than any abuse I had ever endured. After the second night there I was at a breaking point. I thought I was going to go crazy if I didn’t talk to someone. So I cried out to GOD. I said, “If you are real, please come. I need you now and I can’t bear to be alone any more.” In that moment of desperation I felt HIS presence. It was if peace entered that room and I felt that HE wrapped me in HIS arms and instantly my tears stopped and I fell asleep singing “JESUS loves me” to myself. I have never doubted if GOD was real in my life because I knew from that moment on that HE was real. Continue reading

I’m Merely a Vessel

7 Jul

Blog post by Christina D., Team India 2012

Ever since a young age, my heart had an interest in those who are orphaned. As a 12 year old, I apparently had found nothing else more interesting than returning home from school to plop on the couch and watch TLC’s show Adoption Stories.  Something about the reality of seeing children in America and various parts of the world who were never cradled by their birth mother and father was gut wrenching for me, and also the long process for couples to finally meet with their adopted child. My heart was stirred. I wanted to have every single orphaned child from infant to teen in my home. I wanted to scoop them up and hug them, love them and be their new mom….at age12. Hmmm not a realistic dream for a 12 year old, but what I did know from that point, is that one day I wanted to adopt children of my own. As I saw it at the time, why would I be selfish enough to bring more children in the world when there are so many in need of a home and so few who choose to adopt. This is where my heart for the fatherless began.

Throughout the years, God only continued to provoke my heart to compassion for orphan children. I was able to serve one day in high school in an orphanage in Guadalupe, Mexico and it amazed me how loving they were despite their circumstances and how eager they were to be loved in return. Living in the border city of El Paso, Texas during college opened my eyes to the poverty and orphanages just across the border in Juarez, Mexico. This stirred my heart even more.

My view today, at 25, is still the same. I wholeheartedly desire to adopt at least one of my children someday. Till then, it does not by any means, mean that my passionate, God given heart for the orphaned has to refrain from acting now. My love and yearning heart for orphans has burned inside me and while that is great, that is just where it stayed, inside me. Which leads me to my journey to India. I cannot even begin to explain how eager I am to serve the Lord in this way with my team and to finally put actions to my God given desire. I do not want to continue to let time waste away while I yearningly stand back. I want to understand the burdens of this culture and how God is at work there; to know their needs and how we can meet them.

I am filled with satisfaction knowing that it is God’s desire and His compassionate heart and love for the fatherless that fills me. His business of caring for the needy is reflected in scripture in Psalm 10:18, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” And my personal favorite 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.”  This is the Lord’s passion given to me, His heart! I’m merely a vessel that has been given a great opportunity. I can’t say I know how or what God is going to lead me to do in the future, I hope to always serve the Fatherless in any capacity. Right now I know that this is the next step in uncovering more of His heart as a Father for these children. This is my journey.

Christina resides in Texas and will be serving with Journey117 in July on Team India. 

He Had Other Plans

30 Jun

Blog post by Mark M., Team India 2012

It started for me in December of 1996. As my sister and I watched a news program about the orphan crisis in Romania, I felt God tugging at my heart. By September 1997, I had contacted a missions’ agency, raised support, and was in Romania working at an orphanage and also at a local school coaching boys and girls and basketball. After my first year in Romania, I prayed that God would allow me to stay another, but He had other plans. God sent me to Seminary in Jackson, MS. There, while taking classes, I worked in the inner-city of Jackson with the impoverished children and teens there. Again, upon graduating Seminary, I asked the Lord to let me stay. Again, He had other plans.

I would get married shortly after leaving seminary, and my wife and I would end up fostering 27 children. Today, my own son is 14, and I would like him to see what the life of an orphan is like. I want his heart to break for their condition, to see how blessed he is to have a family, and to live in America.

I am excited about what God has in store.

 Mark resides in Pennsylvania and will be serving with Journey117 in July on Team India. 

What Will You Do?

28 Jun

Blog post by Saundra P., Team Ethiopia 2012

Many years ago I sponsored a dear, orphaned child named Adeline who lived in an orphanage in Haiti. Adeline was 15 years old. But she looked to be much younger as she was so small. As a result of the sponsorship, Adeline received food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and went to school. I exchanged letters often with Adeline and I was also allowed to send her a small gift package. One day I received a photo in the mail of Adeline pictured with the gift of a Barbie, shoes, and hygiene items. Adeline had the biggest grin on her face. It touched me to see how much God loved her. That was my first experience with an orphaned child.

Adeline from Haiti

“Happy is the generous man, the one who feeds the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9  

Since that sponsorship, I always wanted to go to Haiti and I never went until last year with Journey 117 Team Haiti. My second experience with orphans was while serving in Haiti with children and families who were living in extreme poverty and in such suffering that no person should ever have to witness. Starving children. Lack of clean drinking water. Poor living conditions. Sickness and death from easily prevented diseases. The lack of concern by a government that does not care about the wellbeing of its citizens. In spite of the terrible conditions in Haiti, orphans flourished when placed in loving homes or orphanages. The children had access to food, clothing, shelter, medical care and received a Christian education. Since returning from Haiti, not a day goes by that I don’t remember the smiles and laughter of those happy kids. The kids that are our future; a future made possible because God opened the heart of someone for the fatherless and the widow. Continue reading

Everyone is Precious to Him

20 Jun

Blog post by Hayley A., Team Ethiopia 2012

God started really stirring my heart for orphans about a year ago. I was very close to graduating college with a teaching degree when I started to intentionally think about orphans and working with them. I mean, before that, I had always said that I wanted to adopt kids one day, just because it is the right thing to do. God took that idea and transformed it.

Last summer, I went to Peru with a group from my hometown, and we went to an orphanage for a few days. While we were there, God really began to open my eyes to the struggles that orphans face on a daily basis that we tend to overlook. The kids were starved for attention and they would act out to get it. The orphans I met knew that they had been abandoned and the idea of that definitely haunted them. I heard them say things about not having anyone to love them, and several of the kids wondered what having parents would be like. In that moment, I started thinking about how these babies did not have parents to nurture them and love them like I do. I realized that sometimes I take my family for granted and that something had to be done for these kids!

I went back to school in the fall for my final semester, and I really wanted to go to Ethiopia with a group from my university to share the God’s word with the people there. I didn’t end up going because there was no way I could raise the money needed in such a short period of time. I was crushed because I felt like God put Ethiopia in my heart for a reason.

Fast forward about a month, and I discovered this opportunity to work with orphans in Ethiopia with World Orphans. I was reluctant to fill out the application at first because doubts were flooding my mind. I prayed about it a lot, and I ended up submitting my application, believing that God would prepare me in every way for the trip and provide the funds for me to go. During the application process, God reassured me in several different ways. At church, we were going through the book of Acts, and we were reading Acts 8 that week. I opened my Bible to Acts 8 to discover that part of the chapter was about Phillip and the Ethiopian. Another time, several people who had gone to Ethiopia with my college gave their testimonies about what God did in Ethiopia while they were there. All I could think was “Okay, God, I get it. I am going to Ethiopia.”

All of that to say: I know God has called me to go to Ethiopia to work with orphans this summer. I am so excited to go on this journey, and I know that it will be a life-changing experience for my team and I, but also for the people of Ethiopia. I know that God is going to do great things in and through the orphans of Ethiopia because every single one of them is precious to Him.

Hayley resides in Texas and will be serving with Journey117 in July on the Ethiopia Team. 

Modern Day Slavery

14 Jun

Blog post by Cathleen Brown, Team Iraq 2012

“And, sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?” 

William Wilberforce stated these words while fighting for freedom for slaves in 1781, in England in front of the British Parliament.   He believed it was the job of ordinary men, not just political leaders to stop the injustice of slavery.  In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing anyone held as a slave.  The end drew near for the African slave trade due to persuasive words, incessant ambition, and continual conviction from God by these God fearing men.  Little did they know, the slave trade would still continue more than 200 years after Wilberforce and 150 years after Lincoln.  It would occur again, and not openly accepted, but just as heinous as before;  hidden, with less acceptance in culture, yet driven by money hungry pedophiles and ordinary men.  These men are not dissimilar to the men of the past.  It is human sex trafficking, the second-largest organized crime in the world.

It is estimated that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year in internationally and between 50 and 60 percent of the children are under the age of 16 (UNICEF).  Human trafficking of orphans internationally and domestically is driven by pornography and greed.  Winfrey defines child sex trafficking:

Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.

Orphans are vulnerable to trafficking as they are emotionally, mentally and physically not able to defend themselves, they have no one to stand up for them them and due to poverty, are often sold by family members so others may have food and shelter.  In order to prevent the trafficking of orphans, there must be a place for the children to go that is an alternative to the deplorable option of trafficking life where they are loved and cared for.  The communities need education, prevention, strict justice for the traffickers, and rehabilitation for the children taken out of the sex trade. Continue reading