Sunday, August 12, 2012
It's hard to put words to what an incredible week we experienced. We saw things we have never seen. Ministered in ways we have never ministered. And it was hard. But it was really good.
From the very beginning there was a chemistry to this team that was unique. Coming from Canada, USA and South Africa, the 20 of us bonded almost instantly. The sound track of our trip has been worship songs picked out by Tim Payne and Jordan Shepherd that were absolutely perfect... and the beautiful, echoing chants of the orphans singing their own songs.
We prayed morning and night for breakthroughs and for the kids and for protection. We laughed a lot. We stayed up late talking and playing music.
All in, we had 187 kids at camp this week. From the histories we took, we found that:
-- Over half of the kids have seen the witch doctor regularly. These men pray to evil demons and cut the kids and perform wicked rituals on them.
-- Over half the kids go to bed hungry, missing 1-3 days of food per week.
-- Over 80% of these kids go to bed cold with only 0-1 blankets.
-- Over 40% are afraid of the people they live with. Many live in harsh environments of abuse and neglect.
-- Almost 100% of the kids had no bibles at the beginning of the week.
-- When asked in one-on-one interviews, nearly all of the kids said that every bible lesson they heard was brand new. They had never been taught the scriptures.
Friday was the last day of camp and it was so sweet to spend time with our kids. We handed out some basic medical supplies and showed them how to use them. We also handed out bibles and blankets. I don't know what they were happier to see. These guys were so excited about their bibles. I mean they just were jumping up and down because they were excited to be able to read the word of God in their homes and on their beds. The last thing we did before each kid got a hug and left on the bus for home was to hand out the blankets. The cheering and celebration that ensued as each little boy and girl got a blanket was joyously deafening.
Yesterday was our safari and rest day. Our unity on this trip was so unique as a team that we actually stayed up into the late hours laughing, sharing songs, praying, sharing scripture, worshipping and celebrating what a Great God we serve.
Dad & Mom just before their first visit with Orphans & Widows in Zambia.
Dad & His Orphans just before He Washed their Feet and Distributed Bibles, Medicine & Blankets.
Ellie & Doreen
Gary Schneider, Founder and Executive Director of Every Orphan's Hope, with Orphans in Zambia.
Mom & Dad with Mama Margaret & Ba Patricia.
Mom & Dad having BBQ Lunch.
Saili & Doreen - her good friend in Africa.
Will & his group of 16 orphans.
Claire's orphan "Alice"
Holly and her orphans.
Celebrating the gifts of bibles, medicine, blankets and love with song and worship.
Claire and her little guys.
Today was a day full of goodbyes. Lots of tears. Lots of prayers and hugs. What a blessing to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I am not sure this will get to you but am hopeful. The Internet has been down since about 30 minutes after my last update, so if you haven't heard from your loved one please know it wasn't due to lack of effort. Praying this is repaired tomorrow, even though it's a holiday here.
Yesterday (Saturday) was truly magical and blessed beyond our hopes as we united to travel out to Village of Hope in Chongwe to have a "Field Day" with all of the EOH orphans (82) and mamas (11).
To witness the changed lives firsthand was life-changing for many of us. These kids are just awesome. So much growth and fruit in the past year. So much spiritual growth and healthiness. So many walking miracles.
Recently a female orphan of about 12 years arrived at in Chongwe and was renamed "Precious". Her life was so horrific prior to her rescue a few months ago that the EOH mamas actually changed her name when she arrived. Without going into details, her trauma was so acute that she lost the ability to communicate, in addition to other things. In just a short time Precious has bonded with the mamas and other orphans and is now beginning to say a few words, smiling and starting the healing process. Everyone who meets this girl instantly loves her. Though she doesn't say much, her heart is visible in plain sight and she is so sweet.
Yesterday, at the end of the day, after playing group outdoor games, having a picnic, singing songs and flying kites, a couple of us saw Precious actually skipping home as the sun was setting thru the gate (reading "Village of Hope") and in her joy dancing and pointing her index fingers in the air, not knowing anyone was watching. God is working mighty miracles here!
Saturday night we started training for Camp Hope. Camp hope is an outreach to orphans each summer seeks to share the love of Jesus Christ through small groups of approximately 12-15 orphans lead by one missionary and one translator. Our focus for the week will be on teaching interactively on Truth, Faith, Hope and Love, with two lessons on each.
We will also have 1 on 1 time with each orphan in our small group throughout the week. During this time we will seek to take inventory of their sufferings, faith journey, questions and pray together. We will also be taking them each through the gospel during these meetings and inviting them to trust Christ with their sins and receive eternal life through his finished work on the cross.
Camp hope begins tomorrow. Our days M-F will be spent sitting in the dirt with orphans and taking them through the bible, singing songs, playing games, memorizing scripture, praying and comforting. As its 1:07am on Monday here as I type, the team will wake for Day 1 in just 1 hour.
1. For energy and rest for our team of missionaries, interns, translators, Zambian Staff, cooks and drivers.
2. For rest and energy for the over 150 orphans (ages 6-16) expected to attend this week, many of whom will not have eaten for over 24+ hours and have walked for over 3 miles.
3. For the gospel to ring out clear through our weakness and for the enemy schemes to be destroyed.
4. For heart-to-heart connections to be made, true teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness to take place in each group and for God to take our inexperience and timidity and work might miracles as we are given all authority and power and wisdom.
We are thankful that his power is made perfect in our weakness, and grateful for your prayers!
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.
Friday, August 3, 2012
customs, met our friends on staff with Every Orphan's Hope. What a
sweet reunion it was to be greeted by Mama Margaret, Ba Patricia,
Marietta and Humphrey. The founder and director of EOH, Gary
Schneider, also greeted us - and so we began our Zambian Mission 2012.
Known by the EOH staff as "The August Team", we are made up of 20
Missionaries, 3 interns, 10 Zambian Staff, 17 translators, 15 cooks, 4
worship leaders and a host of others. And while we have only been in
country together for about 24 hours, we already have bonded to form a
Today we spent our time in worship and prayer, eating and fellowship,
team building and ice-breaking. We also were privileged to have tea
and biscuits with the EOH Zambian Staff. After this we went to each of
the My Father's House Orphan Homes in Lusaka and played with orphans
and talked to widows. These people are so beautiful and dependent on
God for every possible need. Their faith is amazing. It was fun to see
our kids and parents and friends and co-missionaries reach out to and
be blessed by these people as they served them.
Tomorrow is a full day with orphans in the rural village of Chongwe.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Every Orphan's Hope Update
Firstly, we want to ask you to pray for our trip as we meet with and share the gospel with over 150 orphans from August 6 - 10 in a village called "Chongwe". We will feed, clothe, worship with, teach, love, mentor, do crafts with, play with and pray over these kids all week. We will also distribute medical supplies, blankets and bibles to each of them.
The curriculum we cover is has been developed over the last 10 years and is really effective at interactively showing the love God, our sinfulness, His mercy and grace through the Cross of Christ. The best part is its focus on our status as adopted children of the living God.
There will be 22 missionaries on our trip and we need prayer for those that are finishing their fundraising, for blankets and bibles, and for our time there as spiritual warfare can be constant and very visible while on mission there. Please pray that we would be protected from evil and most importantly, that God would give the orphans and translators ears to hear the Good News and hearts to receive the love of Christ.
Also, if are not already doing this, for $27/month you can sponsor and through facebook and Every Orphan's Hope (EOH) in general get updates on your little one. The reason we are asking for this is because (as per below) we just received a new mama and 8 new orphans into our EOH Family. Tthis was the orphan home we built last summer but was then supernaturally attacked by concrete-eating termites before it was delivered by Christ and is now livable. This new family needs sponsors! Additionally, we will also be building the 12th home this summer so hope to be able to rescue 8 new street kids and pair them with a widow and get this new family up and going as soon as we have the sponsors to help. If you can help by sponsoring an orphan, please let us know! You can sign up at everyorphan.org. And please spread the word and tell your friends about your orphan sponsorship and this need through facebook, twitter, work, instagram, book club, etc.
Did you know that EOH started "Orphan Sunday" in the early 2000s, and it is now celebrated worldwide on the first Sunday in November and is being featured on TLC this fall. You can read about Gary's inspiration for Orphan Sunda here. EOH needs approximately 750 additional sponsors to care for its Zambian orphan operations. Wouldn't it be amazing to have this number reduced significantly prior to November 4?! Please pray for this.
Will & Holly, Claire, Lex, Tommy and Saili
PS. If you haven't heard yet, Sue Gruver (Will's mom)'s Brain Tumor (just removed) was Benign! Praise the Lord...
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
What a year it has been! Since January, Holly and I have been back to Africa twice, once with our kids for 4 weeks, with a family trip to Hawaii in between. I have also been around the world 3 times for work this year. My travels have taken me to Bangladesh, Germany, Dubai (2x) Sierra Leone (3x), Cape Town, Paris, London(5x), Sao Paolo, Japan, China, Korea and Guinea (2x).
So, it would be at about this time of year that one would probably want to sit back, put some steaks on the grill and just relax a bit, right? Well, yes, quite honestly that sounds OK. Of course. How great is GOD though? He knows what we need most. And graciously, Holly and I and the kids have been given the opportunity and are now preparing for our next trip in August back to Zambia to continue our work with Orphans there!
So we are getting ready. Getting packed. Medical supplies have been donated by a friend who works at Children's Hospital in Plano. 100s of kites and bibles and blankets and other items have also been received. The team has been trained through monthly teleconference calls. Our team is comprised of Dutch-Canadians, Texans, Oklahomans, Minnesotans and a South African Woman as well!
Please consider praying for our team as we travel and work in Zambia from August 2 - 13. Our family will be in Africa from July 28 - August 23. Here are some photo highlights from the year so far:
Saili with an orphan in Guinea in May 2012
Will with an Orphan in Guinea Africa May 2012
Holly & Will in Hawaii March 2012
Saili and Holly with Orphans in Guinea
Tommy building a power station in Guinea Africa May 2012
Our awesome team in Guinea.
Lex and Will scuba diving in Kauai in March 2012
With mom and dad Anderson in Hawaii
At our favorite Thai restaurant in McKinney in March 2012
At Afternoon Tea in London in April 2012
With Holly in London.
In Sierra Leone in April 2012
At a Chimpanzee Safari in Sierra Leone in 2012
Will and Claire on Chimp Safari
At a power station we built in 2010-2011 and now operate and manage in Sierra Leone.
Learning about iron ore mining in Sierra Leone Africa.
Iron ore everywhere
Saili at work.
Johann sharing the finer points of power generation and high voltage electricity in Sierra Leone.
With the two dudes who really make it all happen - Lex & Tom.
Purchasing 60 acres for USP&E's O&M Lodge and Training Center in May 2012 in Sierra Leone Africa near Katic Village.
Saili at work...
Lex and Tom working hard in Guinea Africa.
Lex and Tom pouring concrete into the wee hours.
Tom and Lex hard at work in Guinea.
Boys with ophans in May 2012 in Guinea Africa.
Lex with baby oraphan "Serge" in Guinea
With dear Mary, Ambrose's sweet daughter in April 2012
In Sierra Leone Africa with Ambrose and Patrick in May 2012.
In Hawaii in 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Please watch this video. This guy is our hero. His parents our example.