When we first came to Cameroon in 2004 and started working with various orphanages, one thing that overshadowed our visits was that they never felt like a real home. They were more like large institutions that housed anywhere from 40 to a 100 plus kids in tight living quarters, often 3 or 4 children to each bed. Some orphanages we visited were only able to provide the children with plain rice once a day; soup was available if someone from the community blessed them with veggies or fish. We saw that these places were just sort of a holding place for the kids till they were old enough to fend for themselves. We remember one teenage girl in particular who had got in trouble at school. The "father' of the home announced he was going to tie her down to beat her. She ran away and they never saw or heard from her again (and they didn't look very hard either). We have heard of other orphanages that use the same method of discipline, leaving kids a bloody mess. These orphanages, often "Christian" in name, lacked a main ingredient; LOVE. Underprivileged or neglected orphans need a place to feel loved and secure just like everyone else.
It is easy to fill up an orphanage in Cameroon, Helping Hands Children's Home could have 200 kids by the end of this month if it really wanted. So many children have lost a parent, or are living with grandparents struggling to provide for them. It is not uncommon for parents to send their children away, young or old, to live with a family member in the city to attend school or work in the house. Often they won't see their parents again for years. One lady in our church was "given" a girl at a crusade from a mother who said she couldn't care for her daughter anymore. Our friend took her in; the mother has made no contact whatsoever since that time. There is a place in ministry for this, but we sense that is not our calling. Win Our Nations wants to reach out to those children that have no one to care for them, no hope of education, those that have been neglected because of disabilities or disease. HHCH has had to turn down numerous cases where families have asked us to take in an orphaned niece or nephew. We refuse when we see that the family is capable of caring for the child. Even mothers have come to the gate trying to give HHCH their children. Free housing, nutritious meals, and quality education can be very appealing.
More than anything we wanted to provide a home for destitute orphans; a place where they can feel love, peace, and safety A place where they know they will always have a bed for themselves, 3 meals a day, medical care, and that their possessions will not be taken and sold. Above all, we desire that these children be raised in the knowledge and love of Jesus and live their lives for Him.
As many of you know, this year the ground was broke for the first Home out at the new WON property. Our vision is to eventually have six Homes (three duplexes) that will house 20 orphans a piece. Each house will have a Pa and Ma plus and an aunty and uncle on the girl and boy's side respectively. We want HHCH to expand and rescue more orphans in need but keep it "small." There are plans to build a big dinning hall (with a kitchen attached) where all the children can eat and do evening devotions together. Attached to this large building will be offices, and rooms for a library, sewing room, weight room, nursery, etc.
At the start of the year, Jake and I started praying and seeking God about how to develop the land. We took a step of faith when we wrote in our newsletter that we were believing to have the kids moved out to the new property by the end of 2015. At that point less than $5000 of the needed $20,000 for the first Home that would only house 20 of the 31 kids. But we felt that was what God told us and we wanted to be obedient. We prayed and shared the need. Praise God that in a few months enough was donated to get the foundation underway. It was exciting to get the builders out there!
A couple of weeks ago, Jake and I were praying and discussing that another large chunk of money was needed so that the builders wouldn't have to leave once they finished the foundation. We were hoping for maybe another $5,000 or something.
Then we got an email from someone asking if they could Skype us as they had some questions about the land. We set up a time, Jake and I were excited, thinking that maybe this was how the Lord was going to provide the next "chunk." The phone conversation included lots of questions; they wanted to know about the Homes and the kitchen/dinning room building. At that point they told us they wanted to donate $20,000 towards the two Homes that are being built. Jake and I stared at each other in utter amazement, dumbfounded. But wait, there was more. Next they went on to tell us that they wanted to donate $40,000 for the kitchen and dinning room. In fact, when they had asked us about it, Jake hadn't even got a budget ready for it yet. That's how underprepared we were. It was so utterly incredible! We had been trusting God, we knew He would provide, but once again He totally went overboard, more that we thought or imagined! So now there is enough to get the first Home completly finished and get the second one well underway. We still need about $11,000 to finish it but once again, we know God will provide. Moving out to the new property by 2016 is now a reality. Christmas is going to be quite the celebration!!
I tell you what, we serve a personal, loving God. He always is faithful, even when we are not. When Helping Hand Children's Home was founded six years ago, we were just renting a house for a few orphans. Then we got an "itch" to buy land, and then it turned into a vision for massive facility. All I can say is dream big, pray big, believe big! Our God is capable of so much more that we realize. I believe He is waiting for us to ask Him to show Himself faithful, but we have to take that first leap of faith. Whatever it maybe, your family, your job, your finances, your health, wherever you need a breakthrough in your life, talk to God about it and start to move in the direction you know He wants you to move. He will prove Himself faithful to his Word and promises.