Monday, February 16, 2009

Africa Team Report #9

The team arrived safely back from Africa on Sunday. Below is their delayed update from last Thursday. When I saw this picture of these precious African orphans wearing old Lititz Christian School uniforms my heart about jumped out of my chest! This may be the best picture I have ever seen!!!! Thank you Grace Church and Lititz Chrisitan School for loving out loud and meeting people where they are (even all the way across the world) and helping to move them to where God wants them to be!

Thursday, 02/12/09

Sorry this has taken so long but the last days have been full and long.

Our final day in Africa started with worship, checking our luggage with Air France, and a trip out to the Orphan Welcome Center to meet as many sponsored children from Lititz as possible.

Let me take a moment and explain the difference between a Hand-in-Hand partnership and what goes on at the Orphan Welcome Center. Hand-in-Hand is a partnership between a church in North America and a Grace Brethren Church in the Central Africa Republic, outside the capitol of Bangui. It may have up to 50 orphans that are taken care of (shelter, clothing, and food) by people in the African church, overseen by the leadership in the African church. The church in the States provides resources for a Christian education.

The Orphan Welcome Center is not an orphanage but rather a ministry center inside the capitol of Bangui. The property is about an acre in size, surrounded by a wall recently protected with razor wire (also pictured). The razor wire was purchased by Grace Church, using excess Birthday Gift for Jesus funds. During our visit we learned that prior to the razor wire there were several times bad guys climbed over the wall at night. One time the full time guard was severely beaten trying to protect the property. The staff and missionaries are very thankful and relieved Grace Church was able and willing to provide this security and protection. Inside the gated walls is a two story building that contains multiple classrooms, administrative offices, a doctor’s office, and storage. Also on the property are the guard’s house, toilets, and a well. There is plenty of room for the children to run and play. This facility is used by the individually sponsored orphans that live in Bangui with other family members. These children either walk to school or are brought in by vans. Grace Church has purchased a new van with excess Birthday gift for Jesus funds. It should arrive very soon, and the school is more than ready to use it. If any of you would like to sponsor an orphan in Bangui, let me know and Joan and I will help you get connected. On our visit Brenda M. sponsored a boy and a girl, Doug K. a boy, and Matt M. a boy. John K. received disturbing news that his child Fiacre, is not doing well. He is HIV positive and his body is starting to reject the meds he is currently taking. News like this really breaks your heart.

Joan and I were able to meet the child my parents sponsor, and our team was able to sit in on one of her classes. Then we presented soccer uniforms Lititz Christian School gave. Madame Alexandrine handed them out to about boys who ran around the playground area in a line(picture attached). The rest of the students came out of their classrooms onto the balcony and porch and cheered. After some pictures of the boys, a group of girls came out wearing new uniforms that are being made for the students. Those of you who are sponsoring an orphan are making a difference in the life of a special child. The Orphan Welcome Center is an incredible facility, run and staffed by African’s who are teaching, discipling, and caring for these orphans. After some more pictures, we had to say our goodbyes and return to the Missions Complex.

After lunch, Brenda, Doug, and Matt went back out to the Orphan Welcome Center. Joan and I helped out at an advanced English class, participating in conversations with the students.

After dinner and a shower we had a team time with the missionaries and Barb Wooler asked us to share a high and a low from the trip. It is hard to believe a week has gone by already; we were able to see and do so much.

We said our goodbyes to the missionaries and Tim Hock took us to the Bangui airport for the seven hour red eye flight to Paris. Things went well at the airport but I was glad we checked the luggage earlier in the day.

I plan to send one more update wrapping up the trip and some final thoughts.

Mike, for the team.


Anonymous said...

Is Marlin so far behind that he didn't make the picture?

Pastor Scott said...


I think our dear Marlin would need more than a Lititz Christian track uniform to keep up with these wonderful young men!

Marlin said...

Actually you all got it wrong!! I was SO far ahead that I didn't make the picture...or maybe I was going too fast??

Pastor Scott said...

Hey, it's your story, Marlin. Tell it any way you want to!

Marlin said...

The really neat thing that can't be seen on the picture are the 200-300 students standing in front of the school cheering them on...The whole school was almost overcome with excitement!!

Pastor Scott said...

That is incredible, Marlin. I wish I could have seen that!!!