Tag Archives: World Orphans

Aligning Paths for Service in Haiti

15 Sep

Blog post by Amanda F., Team Haiti 2012

If someone asked me a year ago where I would be today, I would have never dreamed that this would be the answer. I am so thankful for the series of events that have lead me to the most exciting and rewarding experience of my life. The road to this place in life has been rocky and broken in places but, in the end, God has always shown himself.

I was raised in a Christian family and grew up going to church every Sunday. It was the norm for our family and I went because it’s just what we did. Throughout life I had the basic foundations of Christianity instilled in me, but I never had a real relationship with God. Around June 2011, six months after graduating college, I kept hitting roadblock after roadblock as I was trying to get jobs and move onto the next step of my life. I finally realized I couldn’t do life alone.  My brother and sister-in-law, whom I was living with at the time, are very strong Christians and sat me down one day to stress how badly God wanted me. For once, I listened. I began going to The Rock shortly after and have been growing more and more in my faith ever since.

Shortly after I started attending The Rock, I decided to start the Foundations courses to learn more about the faith I had claimed for so long. I had been praying and praying for God to make this giant church seem smaller and to help me gain strong Christian friends. It was the final day of the four-week course and, although I learned a lot, I hadn’t yet found the answer to that prayer. At the end of class a girl my age came up to me and introduced herself. She said that she held a small group at her house and, after hearing part of my testimony, she felt God urge her to invite me. She felt we had a lot in common. I was elated! After joining the group and becoming closer to this girl, she revealed to me that talking to a complete stranger was completely out of her comfort zone and the only reason she had the guts to talk to me was because she felt lead by God. Continue reading

Following My Heart to Haiti

13 Sep

Blog post by Andrea H., Team Haiti 2012

Putting my journey into words is a difficult task for me because I feel as though I could write a novel about it. I have been through many different life experiences to bring me to where I am today.

Since I was very little I have always had a passion for children and youth. As I have grown up I have continued to surround myself with children working with youth sports, babysitting and volunteering for many different city youth events. When it came time to make a decision on what I wanted to major in and choose as a career for the rest of my life, I chose teaching. I always dreamed of being a teacher, and a few years down the road in college I realized that special education was the specific area that I wanted to focus on. I realized I wanted to work with children with special needs because during my volunteer hours that I had to do to receive my bachelor’s degree, I became aware of the vast need for teachers and advocates in this area of concentration.

There are so many children and families that are overlooked and not helped in the way they should be. The more time I spent with these children the more my heart started to melt for them. I truly have a special place in my heart for all children but more importantly those children that are in desperate need of help. Continue reading

The Rampage of Disease

18 Jul

Blog post by Saundra P., Team Ethiopia 2012

An orphan is described as a vulnerable child under age 18 who has lost one or both parents. What would cause a child to lose their parents you ask? One orphan causing issue is diseases that lead to death like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and water borne diseases. Many of these diseases are preventable.

HIV/AIDS is a worldwide epidemic, in which the largest cases, around 22.9 million, occur in Sub-Sahara Africa. AIDS is spread through child abduction, prostitution, and slavery. Orphans are especially vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS because they lack the basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. A desperate, abandoned child may turn to prostitution to provide for themselves. A poor, widowed mother may sell her child into slavery to provide for her other children.

Malaria is a disease we do not hear much about in the United States, largely because it was eliminated between 1947 and 1951. In developing countries, Malaria is a prevalent disease that puts 3.3 billion people at risk, which is about half the world’s population. About 90% of deaths caused by malaria occur in Africa among children who are less than five years of age.

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I Took One Step, God Multiplied it to 9,000 Miles

13 Jul

Blog post by Sarah O., Team India 2012

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really have a Story. Like, with a capital “S”. I just have a story, with a little “s”. I’ve had no great adversity, no real struggle, no dramatic motivating factors. I was never really outgoing, never really smartest or fastest or best at anything in particular. I was just a quiet child, younger of two, with an ordinary upbringing and four loving parents (divorce can sometimes be a blessing). When I was about twelve, I decided that was all there was to me: just sort of an indoor girl who didn’t like confrontation. It wasn’t until I was maybe around 17 that I finally decided that if I was going to sit around and wait for an external factor to make my life meaningful, I was going to be waiting forever. My life is what it is, and I have plenty to be grateful and proud of. How many punch lines my story had was ultimately irrelevant—it wasn’t about what I brought to the table, but what God was going to do with it.

Everything I have in my heart for orphans comes from God. I’ve never been truly abandoned, never been truly hungry, never been truly alone, and I cannot fathom what that must feel like. My life has been blessed. I don’t see any possible way for me to ever be content with what I have when I know someone somewhere has appallingly less and I can do something about it. My desire is to bring some good into the world, to put more in than I take out of it. How can anyone not want to pick up another human being who’s fallen down?

Every human being deserves a normal childhood where they don’t have a care in the world, and I want to be a part of an organization like World Orphans that helps to alleviate some of their hardships, provide for them their basic needs, and let them have back a few precious moments of carefree childhood. Children are the future. Maybe there is literally nothing that can ever be done to change the hearts of the greedy, the perverse, the corrupted, the selfish, the angry, the brutal, the ignorant. But what we can do – what everyone can do – is help to raise a new generation that cares, sympathizes, helps, heals, creates, and selflessly loves.

Why the orphan? Because someday the orphan will be the adult. Someday the orphan will be building the future. Someday, every child that is taken care of now will hopefully in turn take care of another. Every child has the ability to put some good into the world, if they are given the chance to reach their future.

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They Are Just Like My Own

27 Jun

Blog post by Gemma C., Team Ethiopia 2012

When I was in grade 6, I had a class assignment in which I had to make a timeline of my life, concluding with what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be a missionary. I’m sure I didn’t realize at that time all of what that meant, but I knew three things, God loved me, I wanted to help people, and I really wanted to travel.

I don’t really know why these things have always been in my heart, other than I suppose God put them there. I grew up in a very stable, two-parent, Christian home. My parents have always been very generous with what little they had, and I guess that makes an impact on a kid. For years I worked at bible camps in the summer, and got so much life from that, working with the kids, loving them just for the week they were there.  At university, I majored in International Relations, with the intention of going on the mission field after graduation, or working in Aid and Development. This has always been a desire of mine, and the Travel Bug is embedded deep inside me. I always say to my husband that at times it must be hard to love me, because I have a gypsy heart, always wanting to be on the move.

Things have not turned out the way I had planned. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, it is just different from what I had envisioned! I got married, finished university, and my husband and I went to work as house parents in a group home for teens with mental illnesses. All of these kids were also wards of the state, taken away from their parents for various reasons, abused and neglected.  Maine was not really my idea of world-travelling, but we were working with those who needed help, with orphans. That was such an intense 18 months, but we felt so limited because it was not a Christian organization, so we felt there was so much we could not help with. We also longed for community for ourselves. We moved back to Cape Breton (that is another story in itself), and ended up working at a Christian-run summer camp for teens with addictions. More orphans, from our own neighborhoods. I absolutely loved it. Then Joe got a job as a youth pastor at a church, more kids who need love. It has been an awesome couple of years, God has given us such a love for our youth, and a deep desire to help them. I am loving life here, but that travel bug inside me is eating me up, haha!

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Back to Ethiopia

26 Jun
Blog post by Leah G., Team Ethiopia 2012
Last summer, I was trying to find an organization that was doing a mission trip that I could go on. I didn’t end up finding any that would work out for me so I just kind of gave up. There was a group of ladies from the church going to Ethiopia and they asked me to go with them. One of the organizations we visited was World Orphans. We went to visit some of the families that were part of the home-based care program. Their houses were in terrible condition and their floors were all muddy. One little boy we visited sang for us and it was the sweetest thing. He and his mother were both HIV positive and his father had died from AIDS. It was really sad and didn’t seem fair. We also visited a school that they had and they washed our feet. (Which were super muddy from walking through a muddy field.) It was very humbling. During the trip we visited a bunch of other organizations that worked with orphans. At the end of the trip I didn’t want to come home.
When I got home and went back to school, we started planning a school trip to go back to Ethiopia. I was so excited. That’s when I heard about Journey 117, our principal told us that was the organization we would be going with when we went. It was even cooler to find out that it was one I had visited in the summer. When I think of Ethiopia the things that come to mind are the kid’s faces and how happy they were. I can’t wait to go this year and see more smiling faces.
Leah resides in Canada and will be serving with Journey117 in July on Team Ethiopia.

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.