Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Luke 8:21 Ministry Partners with Children's HopeChest

When I was in Ethiopia I had the "divine appointment" of rooming with the new Director of Children's HopeChest Ethiopia program, Ginia Hairston. We have spent numerous hours on the phone this week discussing how we can partner for the benefit of the Kolfe boys. She has assured me that they are finally ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work now that they have secured their new staff in Colorado and in Ethiopia. So, after much prayer, I have decided to partner with Children's HopeChest and encourage everyone to sponsor your Kolfe boy through this ministry. We are specifically asking for all of the older boys to be matched and that each family will intentionally nurture this relationship. You can email him through Children's HopeChest and plan to visit on one of their trips as well. I will be communicating regularly with them and doing everything we can to encourage every boy to get a family that will pray for him and invest in his life! Please feel free to email me, eileenmestas@gmail.com if you are interested and we will match you up! Thank you to all of you who care about these precious boys. They personally asked me to get them a family and I believe this is the best and most efficient way to accomplish this.

Children’s HopeChest, a non-profit organization that connects communities in the US with orphanages in Ethiopia to provide present and consistent help, training, and discipleship, has a sponsorship program with Kolfe in partnership with Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND. With a donation of $34 per month, sponsors are helping the boys at Kolfe receive a holistic, long-term, and redemptive care. With your financial contribution, the benefits the orphans receive include 5 areas of ministry: physical, medical, educational, emotional, and spiritual.

The Orphan Sponsorship program is a ministry that provides the opportunity for orphans to know God, experience the blessing of family, and acquire the skills necessary for independent life

Specific benefits to orphans include ministry in five areas:

Environmental - A portion of the sponsor’s support, combined with that of other sponsors, improves and maintains a healthy environment. This includes the purchase of clothing, shoes, furniture, books, etc. if needed.

Medical - Each sponsored orphan will receive regular health checkups, and medical intervention as needed. Improved nutrition is also provided.

Emotional - Each sponsored orphan's network of emotional support is greatly expanded. Staff at the orphanage will receive special training that equips them to better deal with the unique emotional needs of the orphans they serve. Also, the sponsor’s involvement in each orphan’s life through cards and letters is an avenue of emotional support the child would normally be denied. Regular visits from disciplers will also add to emotional well-being.

Educational - Because of their social status, orphans are often among the first to be marginalized in the classroom. Many of them give up hope of being an excellent student simply because the traditional expectations for orphans are that they will barely succeed at school. Sponsorship helps provide resources to the children in the area of education to equip them to be better students.

Spiritual - Orphans will see the love of God demonstrated tangibly through age-appropriate Bible teaching. A discipler (HopeChest part-time national staff) will visit the orphanage regularly to conduct classes. Sponsor’s prayers and letters will also be of encouragement for a child to grow spiritually.

Relationship is the key to success in the orphan sponsorship program. Through this ministry, many types of relationships take place. From sponsors’ relationships with their sponsored children to disciplers’ relationships to each orphan in their class, this program is the building block for these relationships. It is our hope that through helping facilitate such relationships, the true hope of Christ will be recognized by each orphan.

The Commitment

A Children’s HopeChest sponsor is a caring person who wishes to commit monthly support and ongoing encouragement to one child for the duration of his or her time in an orphanage. (In some cases, sponsorship can extend through a child's time in vocational school or college.) Sponsors not only offer monthly support, but they offer encouragement through prayer, letter writing, and relationship.

We ask sponsors to specifically commit in three areas:

1. Prayer – We ask that each sponsor pray on an ongoing basis for their sponsored child.

2. Letter Writing – We ask that each sponsor write to their sponsored child at least once every three months.

3. Financial support – We ask that each sponsor remain current in their giving towards the sponsorship program.

Because orphan sponsorship is a ministry, we ask that each sponsor take their commitment to this sponsorship relationship seriously.

The Disciplers

A HopeChest discipler, is a National believer, who visits the orphanage regularly during the school year. They are responsible for the spiritual, emotional and physical aspect of sponsorship. Upon their visits to the orphanage, disciplers conduct classes. In these classes, they teach a Bible story, help orphans write letters, listen to hopes, fears and dreams of the children. The disciplers extend the relationship to the orphans in a way that few people can. They are the hands and the feet of the ministry. Orphans look forward to their visits knowing that they will find a friend that loves and cares for them.

Spiritual Aspect

Disciplers are a trusted spiritual resource for orphans. Some of their duties in this area would include:

§ Giving group and individual Bible classes in forms of discussions, Bible studies, quiz programs, contests, etc. to encourage the spiritual growth of the orphans and strengthen their walk in Christ. Classes are conducted no less than twice a week in the fall and spring school semesters.

§ Developing ties between orphanage children and their sponsors in order to build a trusting relationship.

§ Organizing correspondence between children in orphanages and their sponsors in the HopeChest Orphan Sponsorship program, translating and keeping track of letters to and from sponsors.

§ Developing individual age appropriate curriculum's of Bible classes.

§ Providing individual counseling and support.

I am asking everyone who has contacted me about the Kolfe pen pal ministry join us in sponsoring through Children's HopeChest. United we can get a lot more accomplished for the good of all of the boys at Kolfe.

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