Adoption and the Church: The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful~ Traci Cline

This week’s blog comes from Traci Cline, ROOMs Board President. Traci’s heart for caring for children and families has a long history and stretches across her entire family. We are thankful for the compassion and empathy she brings to our team and how she always leads by example. 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27 NIV

There are many ways to look after the orphans and widowsThere are many ways to show love and to offer support and guidance.  For my family, adoption and orphanage care have been the way we have lived out this verse. These ideas didn’t just grow over night. We didn’t wake up one day and know exactly how to live this out, it has been decades in the making.

It all started with my first mission trip to the Philippines. While there, I met a seven-year-old girl named Mica and fell in love with her. She was dangerously thin and filthy, and she had pink eye in both eyesTruth be told, by worldly standards, she wasn’t cute.  But her smile It lit up her pink eyes and the teeth that were too large for her tiny frame. We got to know each other, and each day she would say “Traaacceee, I lob you.” I loved her too, and I dreamed of what life would be like if I could take her home. Through that time, I realized then that I had the capacity, through Christ, to love any child with an unconditional love.

Fastforward several years, past several more mission trips, to a crowded, hot room at the Social Welfare Institute in Guangzhou, China. My husband and I had traveled with my sister and her husband to be a part of their adoption of my first niece.  We sat and witnessed eleven anxious families receive the baby they had long been awaiting. As the babies were carried from across the hall and placed in the arms of their forever family, a light bulb came on for me: “This is it:  this is taking care of the orphans.This is beautiful. This is pure and faultless. This/these children are my mission.

Wsoon started our own long, winding process of adopting biological siblings, ages 4 and 5, from TaiwanAdoption was the only thing that made sense to us. There were too many children who needed homes, so many who needed someone to say yes to them. We were ecstatic with our choice as were many of our friends and family.

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After bringing home our own kids we realized we needed/wanted to do more. We became involved with ROOM and through ROOM we helped our church become connected with an orphanage in Honduras. We have made lasting relationships with the kids there and learned their needs. Because of this relationship this orphanage is now a cleaner, safer place to live. 

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We need more people interested in getting to know the needs of orphanages. We need more people willing to stand in the gap. We need to be the church who cares for orphans. There are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world (source: Unicef, 2011)Whether you are in a child-raising stage of life or notyou can partner with organizations looking to improve the orphans overall quality of life. You can partner with individual orphanages, local and abroad. Find out their truedeep needs — not just sending them once-a-year Christmas presents. We need to be willing to support or be adoptive parents, to support or be foster parents.  We need to be willing to support the caregivers who care for children who have no parents. 

We need to care about the orphans, some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. We need to show them God and His love.

The Beauty of Relationships~Kacey Bolin Barahona

This week’s blog comes from Kacey Barahona (Bolin).  After the loss of her son, Jesús, Kacey struggled with understanding her purpose and vision in Honduras. However, the Lord reminded her that her purpose and vision is the same: Love is transforming. The same love that transformed her son, herself, the community they live in, so many that have witnessed their love, and her family has the power to transform us all.  Jesús’ legacy is a legacy of Jesus’ transformational love. And I am so proud of how Kacey has carried that forward into her love of Hogar Enmanuel.

Hogar Enmanuel has been a place that has helped my hurting heart heal so much. This year our relationship has grown and I have felt more like a part of their family than ever. After losing Jesús their arms were open to me. Through Hogar Enmanuel hope has born into my heart. It is one of the few places I am seeing beauty arise from these ashes.

 

What I love so much about Enmanuel is the relationship we have formed. It did not come quickly or super easily. Both I and the staff had our share of reservations. But with each visit a beautiful relationship began to form. In the past year alone they have shouldered the grief and pain of losing my son with me. And they have welcomed me to shoulder with them the burden of trying to raise nearly 100 kids when all too often they have less than they need.

They have poured out their love on me. I have poured out all the love I have on them.

Something beautiful has formed from this.  We have genuine relationship.

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Something changed for me when each of them chose to hug and love me in my most broken state. They have seen my tears, wrapped their arms around me, and committed themselves to encouraging me through the good and difficult days.

Something changed for them when I worked my way under the burden they carried and found a place to shoulder it with them.

We know we are in this together.

I can truly trust them because I know they truly love me. And they can truly trust me because I truly love them.

Now we are seeing God do incredible things. Our relationship has brought a partnership that is founded on love, understanding, and hope. Together we talk about the most basic needs and the biggest of dreams.

They confidently share their needs and dreams with me because they know while they continue their job I will do mine.

I will do everything I can to amplify their voice. I would hold their needs and dreams like a burden upon my shoulder and do all I can to see them come alive.

It is not a heavy burden. Alone, it is a burden too heavy for them. It is a burden we can carry together.

As ROOM we can use our resources to meet needs. We can use our reach to raise funds for their needs and connect others. We can share the needs and dreams with all of you. We can use our relationships with other ministries to make more happen.

We can do what we do best- share about the amazing homes, staff, and children we have relationships with and show the world how to get involved.

We can keep dreaming with them, pray with them, and work with them to see needs met and dreams come alive.

We are seeing it happen.

An empty supply closet was refilled.

Nutrition improved.

A discipleship program started for the teenage boys.

The youngest children started learning about Jesus.

These dreams are already happening. And we are still dreaming!

We are believing to see kid’ s church come to the kids that are too small to go!

We are dreaming for team building and staff discipleship and training activities.

We are dreaming for supplies to make the kitchen safer.

We are dreaming for more staff that can fill in gaps.

We are dreaming for nutrition to continue to improve.

We are dreaming.  We are seeing these things come true.

I never imagined my relationship with a children’s home could be what my relationship with Hogar Enmanuel is. Together we are seeing God do incredible things. The staff is dreaming again. They know there are people that love them. They know their voice is being heard. They are encouraged and hopeful.

Relationship matters because it goes beyond what I can do for you. Relationships says I love you before it says anything else. Relationship says we both have something to offer. We both matter. Relationship says together is better than alone. In relationship we spur each other on. Relationship funnels the power and the love of our God to earth and incredible things begin to happen.

This is just the beginning.

To learn how you can connect to and help fill crucial needs at homes like Hogar Enmanuel, please email kacey.bolin@gmail.com or kyleandcassiem@makeroom.org!

 

 

Unique Masterpieces~ Todd Boyle

Today’s blog comes from ROOM partner, Todd Boyle. Todd and his wife Wendy are Abba Padre International and have partnered with ROOM since 2014. Todd has been a source of strength and encouragement for our entire ROOM family throughout our partnership. Currently, Todd is the leader of  ROOM’s largest transition home which currently houses three very special boys. He truly sees people as Christ sees them which is made evident in this most recent post.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians2:10

As we continue to work with orphans and vulnerable children throughout the country of Honduras, and with children who have come from traumatic backgrounds and situations, we are constantly learning and adjusting our thinking and approaches.  We’ve quickly realized that the Lord has created each of us uniquely, and that those differences can bring new challenges at times.

We would love to take a moment to share a little bit about each of our boys, the amazing ways our God has made each one of them special, and a hint of how He has shown His grace and mercy in their lives. As they grow, we don’t just see change in the boys.  We’ve come to realize that as we gain knowledge and understanding about each of them, as well as some of the issues they face, we too are changed in ways that we never would have imagined!

If you’ve been following us for a while, you may already know/remember, after testing positive on three different occasions, Greenie was miraculously healed of HIV!  He’s now tested negative twice, and we await the final test results this upcoming summer, at which point the doctors will officially declare him HIV FREE!  The Lord also healed him of whatever was tormenting him digestively, and he no longer gets sick to his stomach several times a day.  In fact, he is rarely sick at all!  Working with a child who have markers for having FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) can be tiring at times, and we definitely get looks from people who think he’s just a tantruming two year old.  But thankfully the Lord has given us eyes to see that the aggressive behavior, the angry outbursts, and defiant choices are not of Greenie’s choosing.  Just as his soon-to-be four year old brother experiences, the chemicals in Greenie’s brain due to his mother’s choice to drink alcohol while she was pregnant, make it difficult for him to remain calm at times, and to make wise choices on a day to day basis.  We praise the Lord that He has given us insight and wisdom as to how to pray over Josue, and within the past six months, we have seen Greenie’s demeanor begin to change dramatically.  We are declaring the Word of God over him, and over his older brother, and are believing for yet another miraculous healing in his life!

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Will you please join us in praying over these sweet boys!? We’ve seen the Lord work miracles in Greenie’s life, and believe He will be faithful to complete what He has started!!

We’ve also seen the Lord’s healing hand on Asher over the past two and a half years!  He went from having acid reflux as an infant to no longer needing the special formula once prescribed for him.  He used to have a fairly pronounced in-turned right foot, that the Lord continues to straighten as he gets older.  And recently, after visiting an endocrinologist and finding out that his weight gain was most likely due to hereditary metabolism issues, instead of a thyroid issue, we began to pray over Asher for this area specifically, and his weight has begun to balance out!!  (He had gained 25 pounds in 9 months, even though he eats less than the other two boys, and is the most active of the three.)  We are still waiting for answers regarding him potentially having ADHD and/or being on the Autistic spectrum, but as we pray and seek Him, the Lord is showing us ways to pray over Asher, as well as how to effectively meet him where he’s currently at, so he can thrive day in and day out.

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Please join us in praising the Lord for the healing He’s already done in Asher’s body!! And believe with us the Lord will show us answers to the questions we (and the doctors) still have!

Papa’s steps also have been divinely orchestrated, and we praise the Lord for the gift that he is!  It was by the Lord’s grace the Murray family and our partner ministry R.O.O.M. (Reach Out Orphanage Ministries) entered his life when he was just one day old.  That he went home to be with the Murrays, instead of going to the overcrowded public orphanage, where many times special needs children aren’t stimulated or encouraged to grow and be the best version of who God created them to be.  The Murrays on the other hand, have an older son who has High Functioning Autism, also known as Asperger’s.  As a result of knowing what to look for, they recognized markers in Papa at an early age, and just this month he received an actual diagnosis, grade 1 Autism… just as the Murrays and doctors had suspected for 2+ years now, he too has Asperger’s!  Ever since Papa came to live with our family (two years ago in April), we have been working alongside the Murray family, doctors, neurologists, psychiatrists, and art therapists to help draw out who the Lord created him to be.  He is truly one of the most special people we have ever met, and the way the Lord created him blows our minds away daily.  He’s BEYOND intelligent, amazingly intuitive, and his joy, compassion, and gentle ways are so sincere.

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Please join us in prayer as we seek the Lord (as well as doctors/resources) on how to raise such a sweet, sensitive, and quirky child!! And please continue to flood the throne of heaven on his behalf, that he can soon be with the Murray family once again!!

It’s hard to summarize in one paragraph just how special these boys truly are, what the Lord has done in their lives thus far, and how we’ve grown (and become better people/parents) as a result of having them in our lives!  We pray you can see our heart in sharing a hint of who they are with you, and that you too will be blessed by knowing these unique masterpieces, even from afar!

The first week of May, Wendy had the opportunity to gain more knowledge by attending the CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) Summit in Nashville, TN. Each year this Christian conference inspires and equips believers to care for orphans and vulnerable children worldwide.  Just like last year, Wendy returned from CAFO more equipped, and she was able to share with our family (and others) how to more effectively care for our boys, as well as how to better advocate for orphans and vulnerable children here in Honduras.

Over the years while caring for various children with special needs, the Lord has opened our eyes to the unique way He has made each one of us.  We are ALL “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and we see how each of us have been masterfully crafted!  With this uniqueness, we have realized in raising each of our children (biological as well as foster children), that what works for one child may not work for the other.  And that’s a good thing!  It makes us rely more on Him for strength and wisdom, and it also opens our eyes to His amazing creation!

We are not just blown away by the unique way He has made these children, but also by the uniqueness of the Body of Christ. Living abroad, we get to see firsthand how His Body moves and operates as you faithfully pray for and support us here in Honduras! We praise God that we are able to go on this unique journey with each of you, and we praise Him for the unique way the Creator has made you!

We would love to hear from you too… what unique masterpieces has the Lord opened your eyes to, and what has He shown you as a result?  Has understanding someone else caused you to pause and become more compassionate, to become more like Christ?

Ineffective Protection ~ Cassie Murray

Today’s blog comes from ROOM’s Missions Director, Cassie Murray.  Cassie has served in various aspects of ROOM’s ministry–often stepping into the place where she is most needed and feeling inadequate and ineffective all the way. 

Not too long ago, I posted a picture on my personal social media of my son, Oliver Jack, and my daughter, Finley.  We had braved the spring showers to run a few errands and although the rain had stopped long enough for us to shop, the drops started falling once we stepped back outside. We started running across the parking lot trying to get to the car before becoming drenched. I laughed and fumbled for my phone to snap a quick picture of Finley sheltering Oliver Jack from the storm with her jacket.

It wasn’t posed or thought through. It was just a moment. I wanted to remember it because those two have something special in the world of siblings. It’s a gift so rare I find myself trying to bottle up the moments in case the magic wears off. And this was one of those moments.

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It made me smile. I thought maybe it would make other people smile too; so I shared it. It was a comment made by a friend I used to teach with that really got me thinking. She said,

Wonderful photo! Poetry, motion, play of stripes & squares, grays, blues, whites and bright yellow, the wet pavement, the reflection of the red light waiting like a flame in the rain past the handicap parking space. Her ineffective protection, but oh, the love and tenderness!

~Bethsy SanMillan

I had no plans on making this photo something important or particularly meaningful, but those words! They struck a chord in my soul and kept me thinking for days.

My sensitivity is much closer to the surface these days than it has been in the past, and for so long I’ve struggled with what I feel is “ineffective protection” in my ministry.

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Not that long ago I posted the picture above of the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras. I wrote:

This country, more specifically, this city, has burrowed it’s way deep into my heart. I wish I knew more. Every time I am here I leave wishing I knew more… did more… could do more… was more… laughed less… cried less… hurt less… Each time my legs quake with my inability to bring anything of worth to a city I love full of people I love. I feel like I am a disappointment, but how silly of me to put such stock in my own worth! He is enough. He loves enough… He understands the desires of even the most confused hearts… He sees into the most desperate of situations AND knows the answer to healing those wounds. My hands aren’t dirty enough from serving… I have so much to learn and so far to grow. I am thankful that He is patient with me as I separate what is me and what is Him. I know there is too much of me in me.
Most importantly, this country has taught me that I want more of Him.

I feel like Finley trying to protect Oliver Jack from the rain.

All day, every day.

And Oliver Jack is still getting wet. 

And for so long, that has been my perspective. I was focusing on how the people I serve still suffer. But when I looked at the picture of Finley and Oliver Jack I was struck by how beautiful it was that she tried. Or actually, my friend helped me realize that beauty. My heart was brought joy, but she helped me see the significance.

How many times do we let productivity–or our ability to fix things–get in the way of feeling someone else’s pain? 

The reality is, not many people expect the deepest sources of pain to be fixed by human understanding or human capabilities. We understand that reality even more when it comes to our own pain. Of course, not a soul reading this can make my son’s adoption process go quicker. But when you ask about him, I feel the tenderness of Finley’s coat stretching over my shoulders. For a moment, parts of me are sheltered from the fullness of what I am experiencing.  And it’s because someone paused and risked feeling what I am feeling in order for those parts of me to be sheltered. I never expect it to be completely alleviated.

However, for some reason, when it comes to other people, the inability to “fix” the suffering gets in the way of compassion. 

Because we are afraid of being ineffective, we fail at being compassionate. 

Finley wasn’t afraid of being ineffective. She knew that her coat couldn’t possibly be big enough to shelter herself and Oliver Jack. But she decided that it was better to run with him, sheltering what she could, than to be dry while he becomes drenched.

Jesus wept.

This verse comes right before Lazarus is raised from the dead. The same man that cried, moments later raised him from the dead. I highly doubt that Jesus was surprised by the act of raising Lazarus from the dead. 

Yet, He paused before the miracle to step into the pain. 

Jesus isn’t afraid of pain. He calls us to step into that pain and feel what others are feeling. Because then, “Oh, the love and tenderness!”

Is there someone you know that is suffering in ways that make you feel uncomfortable in your inadequacy to protect them? Reach out to them. More than likely, you won’t fix their problem, but for a minute, they will be sheltered from the rain.

Four-elevenths ~Amanda Stafford

Today’s article is written by ROOM’s Executive Director, Amanda Stafford.  Amanda shares exciting news about transitions and changes at Reach Out Orphanage Ministries.  She also shares a children’s song, complete with cool dance moves, about ways we can all support children who have been orphaned.

Four-Elevenths

By: Amanda Stafford

ROOM has been empowering children and communities since 2006.  It is currently 2017.  This means Reach Out Orphanage Ministries is eleven years old.  Eleven!

God allowed me to fall in love with ROOM after volunteering in the summer of 2013.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as a full-time staff member since 2014, first as the Director of Operations and then as the Executive Director.  This means I have been a proud ROOM family member for almost four years.  I have been part of four-elevenths of this agency’s ministry efforts to empower children and communities.

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Between fussing at people about receipts and attempting to comprehend payroll tax processes, I have actually played a small role in some big things here.  I helped the children at Bethel Orphanage in Orissa, India gain their own private bathroom facilities.  I helped take the first baby steps to establish ROOM Nepal.  I helped advocate for increased Honduras Orphanage Care resources.  I said “no” to a lot of great ideas, so ROOM could say “yes” to our core calling.  Most notably, I managed boring, behind-the-scenes details that empowered ROOM’s staff and missionaries- the amazing world-changers who I admire and respect so deeply- to meet the urgent needs of children who have been abandoned.  This is my greatest accomplishment:  I helped the helpers help our kids.  (My second-greatest accomplishment is our paperwork management system:  Those. Files. Are. Fierce.)

My last four years looked something like this:

This month (May, 2017) will be my last month as ROOM’s Executive Director.

I have been accepted into the University of South Carolina’s Social Work PhD program where I will have the opportunity to take what I learned about child abandonment in the field, and build on this in the classroom.  Through academia, I aspire to generate more research and resources for children struggling with abandonment and poverty.  I aim to use this platform to smash some of the roadblocks standing in the way of ROOM, and agencies like ROOM, as they seek to create a world where all God’s children will grow up in loving, forever families.

USC announcement

It feels exciting to pass my ROOM leadership baton to people I truly respect and admire.  In the last few months, Ali B. has accepted a promotion from India Country Coordinator to Southeast Asia Director (managing both ROOM India and ROOM Nepal).  Ali became involved with ROOM at a young age, and in the blink of a eye, has become a professional country director, advocate, foster mother, expert on the Southeast Asian orphan crisis and an international child welfare leader.  Kacey Bolin has accepted a promotion from Honduran Missionary to Honduras Country Director.  Kacey’s long resume filled with ministry roles, leadership experiences, a strong educational background and professional connections, combined with her inspiring faith in God and strong drive for a mission-focused ministry, makes her a highly-qualified fit for this important calling.  Cassie Murray has accepted a promotion from Honduras Country Director to Ministry Director (a Stateside, administrative role).  Cassie’s vast experiences at ROOM, from launching ROOM Costa Rica to managing ROOM’s Transition Home in Honduras, to serving as a ROOM foster mother, mentoring other foster mothers, leading mission teams, managing programs and serving as a bridge between ROOM family members in the States to ROOM activities in Honduras, have prepared her to manage ROOM as a whole; not just Honduras, but India and Nepal through Stateside operations as well!

ROOM’s Board of Directors is prayerfully beginning the process of hiring a new Executive Director.  I know they will find someone truly wonderful; someone who is able to provide better leadership and direction than I ever could; someone who will empower this ministry to do even greater things for God’s kingdom.  In the meantime, the Stateside leadership void is being filled by three women I supremely admire:  Cassie Murray, Traci Cline and Kristie Lauderbaugh.  Kristie is providing part-time bookkeeping and financial management for ROOM.  She’s phenomenally talented and experienced with numbers.  Traci Cline has served on ROOM’s Board of Directors since 2012.   She is currently serving a second term as Board President.  In addition to this Board leadership role, Traci will be providing staff leadership and management to empower ROOM’s program teams to continue their successful orphan care programs.  There is no one better equipped to serve as a leader, manager and figurehead during this season of change.

I see other ROOM leaders holding on firm to their commitments while taking on new roles.  Missionary Kaylie Kuhn, ROOM’s longest tenured team member, is fiercely standing strong in her calling to care for her child, Lizzie, while advocating for best practices in family reintegration and working hard to provide for the boys at Hogar Santidad orphanage (they’re getting a severely-needed new roof and ceiling!).  Missionaries Todd and Wendy Boyle are Co-Directors of Abba Padre International (a ministry ROOM is proud to partner with), Co-Directors of ROOM’s Transition Home and strong leaders of ROOM Honduras as a whole.  Wendy continues to manage legal and accounting requirements in Honduras, while taking on new responsibilities overseeing and empowering ROOM’s Foster Families.

In addition, ROOM’s Board of Directors are taking on new, greater fundraising responsibilities while building on their commitments to provide accountability and oversight.

These transitions are all so good!  They are so exciting!  I can see this phenomenal ministry getting stronger and more whole as each of these world-changers take on new roles and greater responsibilities, while standing firm in their long-standing ministry commitments.

The understandable amount sadness I feel about leaving is quickly replaced by excitement for what is next for ROOM.

When I close my eyes, I can see God’s calling coming to fruition.  With every “yes” from ROOM’s team, another piece of ROOM’s ministry is made stronger.  More children served with more and better resources.  Better communications.  Tighter networks.  Stronger programs.

Through our Lord, ROOM has done amazing things over the last eleven years.  Still, I know ROOM’s best days are ahead.

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As I’m planning my last two weeks of work and handing over the last few jangling keys on my director ring, I keep smiling that the biggest lesson I learned is also the simplest:  We can all help children who have been orphaned. 

With my remaining space, I’d like to share a song that is sure to climb the iTunes charts (depending on how litigious the ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ people prove themselves to be), called If You Want to Help the Orphans.  This song will make sure I’m leaving ROOM the same way I entered ROOM:  Weird, full of good intentions and overflowing with confidence that everyone will get my particular, peculiar brand of humor.

This song is dedicated to everyone who has ever asked me “How can I help the orphans” and politely listed to me suggest the following ways we can all empower children who have been orphaned or abandoned in our own communities and in developing nations on the other side of our world.

 

If You Want to Help the Orphans

(To the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”)

 

If you want to help the orphans, write a check (*make hand motion of check-writing*)

If you want to help the orphans, write a check (*make hand motion of check-writing*)

Your money will provide, food, clothes, healthcare, education.

If you want to help the orphans, write a check!

 

If you want to help the orphans, volunteer (*flex arm muscle*)

If you want to help the orphans, volunteer (*flex arm muscle*)

They need you to learn their names.  They need you to teach them games.

If you want to help the orphans, volunteer!

 

If you want to help the orphans, please adopt (*make hand motion of completing paperwork*)

If you want to help the orphans, please adopt (*make hand motion of completing paperwork*)

You’ll be their forever-parent.  They’ll be your forever-child.

If you want to help the orphans, please adopt!

 

If you want to help the orphans, foster parent (*make arm motion of rocking a baby*)

If you want to help the orphans, foster parent (*make arm motion of rocking a baby*)

Kids need homes and kids need love: for a day, for years and years.

If you want to help the orphans, foster parent!

 

If you want to help the orphans, pray for ROOM (*touch palms together as if praying*)

If you want to help the orphans, pray for ROOM (*touch palms together as if praying*)

ROOM’s got some big transitions, prayers are needed for success,

If you want to help the orphans, pray for ROOM!

 

Dear donors, dear friends, dear ROOM family members.  Thank you for allowing me to drive this bus for the last few years.  Thank you for trusting me as a boss and as a decision-maker.  Thank you for teaching me things I could never learn from books.  Thank you for empowering me and enabling me to continue to serve children who have been orphaned by pursuing a doctoral degree in Social Work.  I will always treasure my time at ROOM.  I cannot wait to see what God has in store for ROOM’s ministry for the next eleven years!

For more information about ROOM, or if a catchy tune recently moved you to write a check, volunteer and/ or pray for Reach Out Orphanage Ministries, please visit our website.

Answering prayers, building walls and growing food~ Ali

This week’s blog is a celebration from the heart of ROOM India’s Director, Ali B. ROOM’s vision has always been to come alongside existing ministries, link arms with them, and empower them to fulfill their own vision. The partnership built between ROOM and Bethel Ministries, through countless prayers and years of hard work by Ali and Bethel’s leaders, is resulting in the fulfillment of our vision in such a beautiful and tangible way. We are so excited about what the Lord is doing in India!

In 1997, Susama and Prabin Sipka were married and immediately committed their relationship to serving the Lord together. They were burdened by the children around them that were orphaned and working as laborers. They were burning with desire to see their neighbors turn from idol worship and turn to know the living God.

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Susama and Prabin, Bethel Ministries Co-Directors

This mutual burden and dream led them to move to a small town where the Gospel was not preached. They established a church, equipped pastors in surrounding areas, and started a home for children who had been abandoned.

As their dream to care for children and share the Gospel became a reality, their prayer and vision evolved to serve more and more children. As more children began moving into Bethel Orphanage, their prayer and vision was for someone to help carry their burden and partner with them to ensure these children were well provided for.

Their prayer was answered when God sent ROOM directors to visit Bethel in 2011. This initial visit paved the way for me to move to Bethel in 2014 as a ROOM Missionary. As I became a part of their family, I joined in their prayer for God’s people to come alongside of us and carry the burden of caring for these children. Our prayer has definitely been answered over the past few years as two teams, 10 people, from Horizons Church in Lincoln, Nebraska have come with us to Bethel to spend time getting to know the kids, the leadership, and their needs.

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Ali in India in 2014
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First Horizons Church Team in 2015
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Second Horizons Church Team in 2016

God continues to answer our prayers as he pushes us to trust Him for more. As many of you know, Susama and Prabin ran a Compassion International daycare center. Compassion gave permission for leftover food and resources from the program to go to the children living at Bethel. This was a successful partnership. In the spring of 2016 Compassion International was forced to shut down programs throughout India, including the program Susma and Prabin directed. Without these added resources, Bethel began to suffer greatly. In response, ROOM asked for help to meet some of their emergency nutrition needs.

God again has answered our prayers above and beyond what we could have imagined. In addition to providing a few months of emergency funds for nutritious foods, because of the generosity of God’s people, we have been able to dream bigger!

Our dream to begin sustainable projects for Bethel Ministries is becoming a reality.

This month, ROOM is funding a project to build a safety wall around Bethel’s campus! This wall will prevent people and animals, especially those who wish to do harm, from coming into Bethel. It is vital to the well-being and safety of the children living here. Once the wall has been constructed, Bethel will finally be able to launch their garden project. This will empower the Bethel family to grow fruit and vegetables in their very own garden; stretching tight food bugets farther, providing vital nutrition and teaching the children important life skills for the rural community in which they live. We are in awe at the way that God is providing for his children at Bethel and cannot wait to see what is to come in the future!

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Bethel’s land, which will soon have a boundary wall and their very own garden!

 

To learn more about this project, and to make a donation to support Bethel through ROOM India, please visit our website.

Faith~ Joey Weed

To learn more about how ROOM is serving children and communities, please visit our website, http://www.makeroom.org/