GOD’S LOVE FOR ORPHANS

Church of God World Missions has never been slack concerning providing for the orphans. Some of its earliest endeavors were establishing orphanages and feeding programs for the abandoned.

Some years ago, Tony Lane, Coordinator of Children’s Ministries, made a trip to Poza Rica, Vera Cruz, Mexico, and discovered a situation that left its imprint on his heart. From that time since, Tony has put concerted effort into helping assist the endeavor.

Poza Rica became a city of the oil industry. Men left their families behind to work. Prostitution became prominent and left many unwanted children on the streets. They became survivors and sought shelter wherever they could find it, lived by begging and stealing, and slept wherever they could find a place. Paint thinner and cheap drugs became a way of escape from their despair.

Many children found land beneath a bridge for a temporary home. Pastor Elias and Teresa Herrera saw the great need, and took clothing and food to them, some as young as two years old. One 12-year-old girl had given birth to a baby and was raising the baby under the bridge.

The Herreras opened their home and the church parsonage to give the children a place to live. Difficult to house children in such small quarters, they persevered; children were house for the first six years in two Sunday school classrooms.children at orphanage

But, God had a plan! With the assistance of many donors and the oversight of the project by Tony Lane, land and property were purchased and a building was built with a kitchen, dining hall, and 12 bedrooms, along with a separate bathhouse. Later a new house for the director and his family was built, complete with electricity and a paved concrete road. Since then, a three-story dormitory for girls, and a two-story multi-purpose building provided emphasis on education. A prayer tower has been added, and apartments for orphanage leadership. Expansion has continued to include a ministry program for pastors and leaders, and a multi-purpose auditorium is being finished.

The ministry began as a mission of faith. The Herreras during those first years stretched their pastor’s salary to meet the basic needs of the children. Their ministry grew to minister to various poor communities around Poza Rica, and a new church was established in a mountain community of indigenous people.

All this happened because a couple responded to the call of God to love the orphans. Sponsors are still needed for the children, as well as the orphanage workers.

Ambassador to Casa Hogar, Tony Lane, says: “I have grown in my faith by seeing firsthand faith in action. The Herreras are true spiritual heroes of the faith!”

Give to this project, #715-0130.

 

PRAYING FOR ORPHANS

Our God who is a father to the fatherless, has called me to care for destitute children. He has helped me to care and provide for hundreds of kids over the years. I have always wanted to help people in need. 

Growing up, I had to face a few challenges at school. A few Hindu teachers and fellow students used to bully me and call me names, because I was a Christian. If I, who have parents, was ill-treated that way, I was reminded of the life of orphaned kids which disturbed me, and left a deep impression on my heart to take a stand for them one day (Proverbs 31:8-9). 

Some years passed and I finished my biblical education in the States. Returning to India, I heard the Spirit of the Lord saying, “I helped you through someone else to get your education and become what you are today; I want you to help someone back home in India.” A few days later, I went to minster in a fishermen colony and found four children in desperate conditions. So, I started the orphanage in 1993 with those four kids and the orphanage quickly grew to 500 children within a short time. Jyothi's Home for Children

In the past 24 years, God has touched several hundreds of kids through our ministry. I have seen children who do not know what it feels like to be loved. I can tell you numerous stories of kids who came to us dejected, unhappy, heartbroken, and abandoned. Here is one such story of a brother and sister, who were ages 4 and 7 respectively, when they came to our orphanage: Their father was a drunkard who abused their mother physically every single day. After a heated argument one night, he hit her with an iron rod in a fit of rage. Blood oozed out of her head and she died instantly. He also killed himself afterward. The kids were suddenly orphaned and they began begging on the street to fill their stomachs. Being superstitious, their aunt considered them to be unlucky and cursed. So, she would not care for them, but brought them to our orphanage.

It has been 12 years since then and those children grew into wonderful Christian teenagers. Raji, the big sister says, “Every child in this orphanage has a sad past, but we all are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. He kept us safe, provided all that we needed, and has given us spiritual parents that care for us like their own.”

We do the best we can to serve the orphans and provide for them. I always want to help more kids if I can. Although there are numerous child support and welfare organizations in the world, millions of children are still orphaned and in desperate need of just a little care. 

I pray the Lord burdens the heart of the church and raises defenders for the orphans, and that they would feel compelled to protect and provide for the orphans. I always seek the help of God to live out James 1:27 to the fullest. We must be burdened to pray for God’s provision for all their needs, to protect them, to care for them, to defend them, and to keep them safe. 

Bishop Jyothi K Reddi
State Overseer
Founder President Jyothi’s Home for Children
Andhra Pradesh, India

Give to This Project, #740-0109

THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS

In Ethiopia, the Church of God has established Christian schools throughout the country: Sidama in the South; the Arsi Oromo area (961 children are enrolled and have to be accommodated by two shifts—all of whom are from Muslim families!); the city of Shashemene (a Muslim area in the southern Rift Valley); and Lake Awassa in southern Ethiopia.

The Harvest Church of God currently operates over 70 kindergarten (pre-school level) schools, plus several primary schools. All inclusive, they serve over 8,000 children, mostly in the southern regions, but also in other parts of Ethiopia where we have churches.

The church faces a challenge in maintaining the school because of insufficient finances. The government is trying to improve education and raises their teachers’ salaries, but the church cannot match those increases in pay, so often the school loses some of its best teachers to government schools. The school ministry basically survives on a monthly support of 2,000 Euros (about $2,361) from the Church of God in Germany—barely enough to keep the schools open, but not enough to maintain buildings, provide adequate teaching materials, or good quality teachers.

Despite a lack of proper funds, these kindergarten and primary schools are an outstanding, signal ministry with an incredible impact upon the lives of the children and their families, even upon the growth of the respective local congregations.

Hiruy Tsige, overseer, reports there are 180-plus congregations (some with more than 15,000 members; some with only 20 members), but overall membership is estimated at over 67,000. The educational contributions have had a large impact in growing congregations.

The influence continues!

PUERTO RICO MAY NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT HELP

Disaster-weary and with exhausted funding, everyone searches for ways to continue aid. The recent catastrophes have spanned the entire United States, from the flooding in Texas and Florida, the widespread fires in California, and the now unrelenting desperate situation in Puerto Rico. No words can describe how horrific it is on the small island; the magnitude of the devastation is unspeakable.

Puerto Rico is only 110 miles long and 40 miles wide. Living on an island offers no escape … there is only so far you can go to seek safety. Situations are truly desperate!

World Missions International Director Dr. David Griffis and Assistant Director Dr. M. Thomas Propes are heavily burdened for Puerto Rico, and are doing everything possible to send assistance. In these dark times, the church rises to the challenge, but more is needed.

While many grapple with just finding life’s basic necessities, there are many who realize the normalcy of life has escaped them indefinitely. Innocent people are enduring the nightmare … and many are dying. Some remote villages have been cut off from everything.

Adding to the apocalyptic tragedy are the political issues and the island’s financial crisis. With no waste disposal, toxic conditions are created that will affect everyone on the island. Over 4,500 troops, National Guard members, Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers are on site, but it’s still not enough. FEMA has more than 800 coordinating relief efforts, and a combat surgical hospital ship is en route. Yet, the help isn’t quick enough, nor of sufficient quantity because of logistical reasons.

We know God’s resources are endless, but He relies on each one of us to be His arms extended and reach deeper than ever before to help alleviate suffering. Let also our prayers rise to God for miracles to take place and His hand to move swiftly!

To give, visit cogwm.org/caribbeanrelief.

Project #765-0036-053

HEART FOR HONDURAS

In keeping with their vision to help bear the burdens of Western Territory Honduran brothers and sisters, Steven and Candace Day are moving right along helping the pastors and are so grateful for the support that has been given to their projects.Heart for Honduras logo

This month, the Days have purchased some items for the chicken project in Protection—a storage building and a machine that de-feathers the chickens. Other projects include construction on churches, putting roofs on two new plants, and completing groundwork.

Even missionaries experience sorrow, and this time it touched the Days. Candace is working as a teacher’s assistant at a new school. At the end of September, a very heavy rainfall occurred. One of the first graders was in a vehicle with his older sister and brother as they attempted to cross a flooded bridge. The small vehicle was swept away by the current. The two older children made their way to dry land, but little Axel was missing. The community searched for two days, but the dreaded news they did not want to hear finally came. Little Axel’s body had been recovered. The school and community mourn the loss, but they have the hope of seeing Axel again in heaven.

Project #065-0948

DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE

Having experienced the transformation power of God in her own life, Pastor Rosalba Pérez In Cota, Colombia, obeyed God’s call to bring hope and joy where poverty, violence, and illiteracy reigned. She fully understood how God transforms one to transform!

Rosalba and Girls

What God put into Rosalba’s heart became her missions for the Kingdom … to defend the rights of vulnerable people, such as child victims of sexual exploitation and domestic violence. Eighty-six percent of children recruited in Colombia for armed conflict were victims of family violence.

More than 30 years ago, Rosalba saw the pain of children with economic and nutritional deficiencies, abused in all areas, mistreated, taken as spoils of war to be sexual slaves for the armed groups unleashing ruin, misery, and pain to many generations. Her plan was to show children that the circle of poverty is broken with education, and hearts are healed by the power of God.

The transformational impact began by reaching the neediest corners with professional teams to provide support to those in need. Jireh Provision of Love home has restored more than 85 (girls) victims of abuse and forced displacement. The school has about 300 children of low resources to whom God’s Word is shared daily and they are given an education with Christian values. Soup kitchens also provide meals for children who are hungry because of abandonment.

Lamentations 2:19 reflects the mission of Rosalba … Arise, cry aloud in the night, at the beginning of the night watches; pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones who are faint from hunger at the head of every street.

Project #102-0032
Click here to give

Posted in Home Featured Post | Comments Off on DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE

SUMMER’S CARE FOR ORPHANS

Her very name evokes warmth and sunshine. Her personality, tender heart, and glowing demeanor radiated the love of Jesus to all who met her. There was a certain temperament about her that softly declared, “I am exceptional.” She had the sparkle of a warm summer day with a warm summer breeze … our daughter, Summer.

Summer Propes

Summer’s life is chronicled in my book A Summer Story, a Pathway Press publication. Her life and ultimate death is in fact a story of “God’s Enduring Grace.” Summer dealt with so many medical disabilities, but through it all she maintained an abiding love, care, and concern for others. At the core of her concern were children who were in need, whatever that may be or look like. It was this love that led to the Summer Joy Propes Memorial Fund.

Nothing about a journey of pain makes any sense if we are only spectators sitting in the stands. God invites His children to meet Him on the field of suffering. This is where we risk everything to know His heart and His will. The only thing He asks is that we cling to Him and resist the urge to crawl back into the stands. Every step of faith has to be with a relentless trust in His Word that promises, “Do not be afraid or terrified … for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

My dear friend, Gail, wrote these words, “Summer never met a stranger and she loved everyone. She was the most completely innocent person I have ever known. In her all too brief life, Summer only knew love. Her smile was electric and her excitement contagious. Our hearts are broken but we know Summer’s JOY is complete.” Those words capture Summer’s very essence!

The Church of God has more than 100 orphanages around the world. All funds raised in Summer’s memory are managed by Church of God World Missions and used exclusively for the perpetual care and support of our orphaned children globally. She would love that.

My prayer is for children around the world to be blessed. God can take a little and make a lot. I give Him praise for His faithfulness!

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

LaQuita Propes
Project # 775-0039

PROVIDING FOR ORPHANS

In regard to providing for orphans, one needs to know who is considered an orphan.

Definition of orphan by Webster’s dictionary:

1: A child deprived by death of one or usually both parents.

In light of the times we live in, it also has added meaning. For example, both parents may be in jail, and there may not be any close relatives who can take care of the kids. Another situation may arise when both parents are sick and incapable of raising the kids. Still yet, there may be a couple who cannot financially support their kids and as such, give them to an orphanage for care.Bless the Children Home Guyana

With those thoughts in mind, let us explore ways of providing for orphans.

James 1:27 (International Standard Version)

A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

James the Apostle instructed the church to support orphans who are suffering. Many churches do send financial and other aid to help orphans, but I still feel there is much more that can be done to help.

Churches should have a regular financial system set up whereby, orphanages will receive help allowing them to continue to function. Some children’s homes are barely surviving because of financial shortages.

The businesses in any community should be willing and ready to make contributions to the support of orphans. For example, the clothing industry can donate clothes for the orphans. Grocery stores can make monthly gifts of groceries to feed the homeless children. Restaurants and others can provide meals regularly to the orphanages.

Other God-fearing people in the community are generous with their wealth. They may belong to another religious group or faith, but they are willing to cast their lot to help an orphan. Someone may want to sponsor a kid—that is, providing food and clothes and schooling for one child. Others may help pay a caregiver salary.

Still, some will give financially to pay for the utilities and general maintenance of the facilities. Be reminded that taking care of orphan kids includes food, housing, schooling, and medical care.

Unless the community knows about the needs through regular communication, they may not be aware to help. It is important that the heads of orphanages, or the responsible persons, provide regular news reports of the orphanage to the community.

Some other means of providing for orphans, which some children’s homes use, are golf tournaments, walk-a-thons, and the sales of items. We must not forget that we are exhorted by Jesus himself to ask.

Matthew 7:7 (International Standard Version)

Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you.”

If we ask in prayer believing, we will receive. As a way of keeping the need before the church, the orphanages must ask for prayer often. Prayer for every child, every caregiver, and worker should be on the prayer list of many churches

S. Surujpaul, Bless the Children Home
Guyana, South America
Project #102-8018

Naomi’s Blanket

I chose yellow to match her dark hair and eyes. For every expected grandchild, I had knitted a special blanket, woven with yarn, love and prayers. This time would be somewhat different: different in expectation, different in design. Instead of the usual nine months, it would be over two years before we had the opportunity and joy to welcome her into our family. However, she was loved long before “Gotcha Day.” Abandoned as a newborn, she had miraculously survived and was placed in an orphanage for two years. The orphanage personnel named her Zhau Dong Ping, which meant “Autumn Duckweed.” Their reasoning was because she born in autumn, and their hopes of her being as audacious as duckweed due to her poor health upon finding her. But God! God already had a plan for her to be “birthed” again in the heart of a mother of four at the time. After experiencing a dream of a little Chinese girl lying facedown in the mud, a seed was planted, and the long adoption process began.

Naomi's Blanket

God’s attitude toward orphans is very straight-forwarded and clear. He wants them cared for! In His own definition of “pure” religion, God describes in James 1:27 what real and undefiled religion really is. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”(NIV) God cares very deeply for them. In Exodus 22:22-23, He declared dire and extreme consequences if an orphan or widow were mistreated. He admonishes us in Psalms 82:3 to “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.”(KJV) Caring for these innocents, children left abandoned to die or survive on their own, is what God sees as PURE and FAULTLESS religion. While actual adoptions might not be feasible for some, cannot everyone do something to care for them? Through financial giving and prayers for them, we can put into practice that “true” religion that God so loves. What an honor to be so involved in the life of those whom the Lord commands such care!

Our granddaughter’s name was changed to Naomi Zhen-Zhu, meaning “Pleasant Pearl.” Her knitted blanket by Nana was, indeed, different in design. The rows of knitted “waves” represented from across the sea from whence she came. The border of hearts illustrated the love and countless prayers that were prayed for her. The focal point in the center depicted two trees growing side-by-side. They symbolized two different cultures with separate roots, transplanted closely together with branches intertwined into one beautiful tree –family.

As her small hands cuddled the softness of the yellow blanket for the first time, my eyes filled with tears of thanksgiving, just as they had with each arrival of our nine grandchildren.

I believe God was smiling.

—Judy Griffis

Puerto Rico Hurricane Crisis

Watch below as Dr. Tim Hill and Dr. David Griffis provide an update on the impact of Hurricane Maria on the Church of God in Puerto Rico.

If you would like to contribute to relief efforts, you may do so at cogwm.org/caribbeanrelief. Every amount received will be sent to help recover and rebuild in Puerto Rico and across all the affected islands of the Caribbean.