12 Nov
2013

250 Children Rescued and Restored! – The Uganda Foster Family Network

Moses, Panina, and 18 of Their Adopted Children

Moses, Panina, and 18 of Their Adopted Children

19 Children – How Can You Care For That Many Kids?

 

We first met Moses and Panina several years ago. We had lunch in their home, and before the meal, Moses introduced all of their children. It was a joy to learn their names and see their smiling faces. There were 16 children in all! “How can they care for so many children”, you might ask. How can they not, with over two million orphans in their country. The next time we visited Moses and Panina, I counted children again. That’s one of my favorite things to do when I visit the Foster Family Network families. I was shocked to count 19 children. How could that be when they only had 16 children? I walked over to Moses and asked, “You have 16 children, right”? Moses smiled and said “Yes”. “But, Moses, I count 19 children”. Again, Moses smiled, and said “Wick, when do you say No”? Wow! What a perspective on caring for orphaned children! Moses and Panina are not wealthy folks. They live very simply, and trust the Lord to meet all of their needs, as they care for those deeply loved by God.

 

That’s Nothing! – Sam & Irene Kisolo Have Adopted 39 Children!

Sam & Irene Kisolo at the Foster Family Celebration

Sam & Irene Kisolo at the Foster Family Celebration

Yes, that’s right! Sam and Irene have adopted 39 children! With their 4 biological children, they have a total of 43 children. Now, that’s a family!! We love to visit the home and have a meal with the Kisolo clan. It such an inspiration to see this family, have a meal with them, and attend their nightly family devotion time. Sometimes, like this trip, the children are very quiet and the worship time is very sweet. At other times, there is a wonderful, energetic family celebration, with dancing and the Shaking of the Bones! There were only 28 children home this night. Some are away at school, and others are at work. All of them reflect the wonderful love of God on their countenance, and the deep assurance of the love of their mom and dad.

 

With Moses and Panina, and 17 of Their Children

With Moses and Panina, and 17 of Their Children

 

We Support the Foster Family Network Because of their Amazing Heart for Orphans!

 

Celebration is an Important Part of Healing

Celebration is an Important Part of Healing

 

The Uganda Foster Family Network is one of 30 orphan ministries supported by Streams of Mercy. Every one is unique, and every one is transforming the lives of the children in their care. We LOVE the Uganda Foster Family Network because of the wonderful model that they live out in caring for orphans. There are a total of 19 families and 250 children in this great work. Would you, your business, your church or service group want to support this wonderful ministry? They are truly worthy of support! I continually stand in amazement of all they are doing to transform the lives of orphans in Uganda!

 

10 Nov
2013

CELEBRATION BRINGS HEALING! – SIITA NEST MOTHER’S LOVE HOME

Mama Alice Celebrates with the Children of SIITA Nest

Mama Alice Celebrates with the Children of SIITA Nest

 
SIITA Nest Mother’s Love Home – Jinja Uganda
 

We arrived at SIITA Nest Mother’s Love Home and were greeted by an amazing group of children.  These kids are orphans and those who have been cast away from their families.  ALL of them are precious kids who now have an amazing family in SIITA Nest Mother’s Love Home!  SIITA stands for Salvation is in Truth Application, and these children live out their love for the Lord.

 

The director of SIITA Nest is Alice Kisolo, a passionate, loving woman who began taking in orphans many years ago.  She has dedicated her life to the transformation of their lives.  For Alice, it’s not a job, it’s a calling!  63 children now live in the home!  150 others have been placed in foster families in the Jinja area.  SIITA Nest helps those families with food, education costs and finances to assist them with their foster children.
 
The Abused, The Abandoned, The Cast-Aways
 
Joel, Emma & Feni

Joel, Emma & Feni

When you meet the children of SIITA Nest, you can never believe the terrible backgrounds they come from.  On this trip, we met Joel, Emma and Feni.  They are such precious kids.  Their father is a severe alcoholic, and their mother died in childbirth.  The father abandoned the kids, and no one was left to care for them.  Alice heard about their plight, and took them into the SIITA Nest home.  When you meet these kids, there is no visible effect of their terrible loss.  They have a home now, and Mamma Alice is their mom.
Mercy & Paul

Mercy & Paul

 
Mercy and Paul have come through the most terrible events.  Their father is a polygamist, and had two wives, their mother and another woman.  The other wife became very jealous of Mercy & Paul’s mom, and she decided to get kill her in the most horrible way.  She doused their mom with acid, and she died an agonizing death.  The scars in their lives are very deep, but Mama Alice and the staff of SIITA Nest continue to pour healing into their lives.
 
Healing Through Celebration
 
The children of SIITA Nest know how to celebrate God’s Love!  The children lined up across from the tent, and began to sing, dance, and worship.  You could see the passion of their hearts and love for God.  Later, Alice told us, “Healing comes into their lives through celebration”.  That is lived out in the lives of all of the kids of this precious home!  I LOVE to be with the children and staff of SIITA Nest!  Their love touches a very deep place in our hearts.
30 Oct
2013

St. Ameria School And Orphanage – Children Who Have Lost Both Parents To AIDS

 

3rd Grade Class at St. Ameria

3rd Grade Class at St. Ameria

What an amazing change in the St. Ameria school and orphanage over the last few years. When we first met Edith, the buildings were just stick structures with simple tin roofs. All of that has changed, through the Streams of Mercy’s support for this wonderful school and home. All of the buildings at St. Ameria are brick buildings today, and they now have proper toilets, perimeter fencing, and electric.

 Children Studying

400 children attend the St. Ameria school in Mbiko, Uganda. All of them are AIDS orphans who have suffered unspeakable loss of their parents from the ravages of AIDS. About 50 of he children live there full time, and many more stay there during the school breaks when other children go to stay with extended family.

 

We arrived at the school and were greeted by Edith, who herself was an orphan in Jinja as a child. Edith is the founder and director of St.Ameria. Edith greeted us warmly, and we went to every class to meet the children, and share a message of hope with them.

 Studying at St. Ameria

My heart was stirred as we looked into the beautiful faces of these children. You could see hope in their eyes. Pastor Bob Swank and Taylor Winn from Life Church in Olathe Kansas impacted every class, which will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the children.

 

St. Ameria Vocational Training Center

 

St. America Chalkboard

 

 

Last year, we traveled to Uganda with a group of business women from the Dallas area. When they heard the plans for a Vocational Training School for the older children at St. Ameria, they immediately developed a plan to raise all of the funding for the first year of that school. After MUCH hard work and perseverance, Stephanie’s team raised all of the funds for this project.

 

It was incredibly exciting to gather at the new Training School and see the new computers for the computer school, and the new Singer sewing machines for the sewing school. This vision is now a reality because of the huge commitment from Stephanie’s team. This school will transform the destiny of MANY children who will never be able to go to university.

 

29 Oct
2013

Many Coming To The Lord In A Remote Region Of Ethiopia – Dedication Of The Worship Center

 

Ethiopian Children gathered around the Prayer Tree

Ethiopian Children gathered around the Prayer Tree

 

We traveled out across the African Plains of the Rift Valley. I first came here 3 years ago, and was surprised by the remote location of this village. You travel 5 hours Southwest of Addis Ababa, and turn onto a dirt road, which quickly turns into a cart path. At times, the vehicle in front of us was billowing dust so badly, that we couldn’t see what was in front of our van.

 

When the dust cleared, this was the Africa of National Geographic. The plains spread before us decorated with Acacia trees. Clusters of thatched huts dotted the side of the road, and children ran out to see the sight of 3 vans traveling in a caravan. They waved, jumped, and called out ”Muzungu” (white Person). We arrived at the village to dedicate the first Worship Center in that region of the world. Just a couple years ago, this was a totally unreached location. Several families came to The Lord, through humanitarian projects in the village, and soon the Gospel was carried to other villages in the plains. At this time 250 families have come to The Lord!! This probably represents over 1,000 people!

 

The Choir Singing At The Worship Center Dedication

The Choir Singing At The Worship Center Dedication

 

We gathered in the auditorium for the dedication of this Worship Center! They opened in prayer, and there was great excitement, as joy flooded the hearts of those in attendance. The choir stood to sing and lead in worship. Can I just say, that “I LOVE AFRICAN WORSHIP”? I don’t know anything like it! The choir and church worshipped the Lord with total abandon. It was truly a blessed time. Prayer, worship, and powerful messages filled he dedication time. As we closed the time, everyone had a sense of awe at God’s faithfulness. Streams of Mercy conducted one of the humanitarian projects in this village, and we were so blessed with the impact of this “Two-Handed” approach to the Gospel. On one hand, you meet the desperate physical needs of people, while showing them the amazing Love of God through sharing the Gospel.

 

The Worship Center Was Filled With Local People And Visitors

The Worship Center Was Filled With Local People And Visitors

 

We are humbled by God’s goodness and your giving to the work of Streams of Mercy! Your commitment makes all of this possible!

27 Oct
2013

They Had 5 Babies and One Can of Formula – THE HOUSE OF JOY

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*by law, adoptable children can not be shown in an identifiable photo. The children photographed here have already been adopted.

 

The House of Joy is one of those amazing ministries that we support through Streams of Mercy. They are located in the remote Rift Valley region of Ethiopia. This orphanage currently has five babies who have been abandoned or relinquished.

 

We visited the House of Joy in March, just before it was launched. No babies were in the home yet, but they would soon receive their first abandoned child. Our team included some business people, our daughter-in-law Charlene, and my grandson Will. This trip made a profound impact on my grandson. After he got home he made a decision to raise finances for the House of Joy through his church confirmation class and parents. Will produced a two minute video to share the needs of abandoned babies in Ethiopia. He was able to raise $700 and many clothing items for the babies. That offering would buy a months worth of formula and cereal for these precious little babies.

 

When we arrived at the home we found out that they have five babies in the home. You can imagine how our hearts were touched as we saw and held these little ones. I have to admit that I think Ethiopian babies or some of the most beautiful babies on the earth.

 

One Can of Formula Left

One Can of Formula Left

 

As the workers stacked the formula for photos, we went on a short tour of the home. The last room on our tour was the store room where they keep the formula, diapers, and medicines for the babies. When they opened the cabinet for the formula I was shocked to see that there was only one can of formula left in the cabinet. Will’s gift of formula and cereal met an immediate and pressing need for this home. $700 bought a months worth of formula and food for the babies. My eyes filled with tears, and I was brought back to tears several times during the day, as I realized how important Will’s gift was to these little lives.

 

The Founder of the House of Joy - Joy Casey

The Founder of the House of Joy – Joy Casey

 

The House of Joy is an incredible ministry. It is meeting the desperate needs of abandoned babies. We already support the House of Joy every month, but our hearts cry is to be able to expand our giving and to provide formula every month for this home. Would you, your church group, or your business, want to support the House of Joy through Streams of Mercy? It will change the lives of these little ones.

 

26 Oct
2013

The Forsaken Children

 

Abandoned Babies in Westerm Ethiopia Rescused by Widows and Orphans Homes

Abandoned Babies in Westerm Ethiopia Rescused by Widows and Orphans Homes

 

We arrived at The Forsaken Children and I was once again struck by the scope of their ministries to street children. There are 100,000 children living on the streets of Addis Ababa. When I heard that statistic, I was overwhelmed by the desperate need of those kids. But,
the Forsaken Children staff are reaching out to the children of the streets of this great Ethiopian city.

 

The staff regularly go out onto the streets to develop relationships with the kids. They have a feeding program, and many other touch points with them. Their strategy is to develop trust and a personal relationship with the children. They have been very successful with this because they continue to go out on the streets, week after week, and the children have seen that they are not just going to walk away or disappear.

 

Street Children In Addis Ababa Onesimus House Praying Over Lunch

Street Children In Addis Ababa Onesimus House Praying Over Lunch

 

In addition to outreaches on the streets, they have a drop in center where the children come daily. 25 children regularly attend. The children receive clean clothes, two meals a day, as well as education, life-skills training, and a place of genuine friendship.

The children who are serious about change are then invited to live in the Halfway House. 15 children currently live there.

 

A Safe Place for Street Kids, Food, Clean Clothes and an education

A Safe Place for Street Kids, Food, Clean Clothes and an education

 

I was really touched when I heard the story of Little Abel. This boy is about 10 years of age, and has a tragic story. His mother died of AIDS. His father had already abandoned the family by the time his mother died. That left Abel alone with his older sister, who began to care for him. They soon found out that Abel was HIV-positive. The sister then got married and Abel became part of their family. When they delivered their first child, his sister and husband made a tragic decision. They did not want their child to be raised in a home with another child who was HIV-positive. They made Abel leave the house and move onto the streets. Abel has suffered unspeakable loss. He is lost his father, he lost his mother, then finally he lost his sister who was his only remaining source of hope.

Forsaken Children Onesimus House Ping Pong with Will

Forsaken Children Onesimus House Ping Pong with Will

 

Abel met The Forsaken Children. He began coming to their program, and was soon in there halfway house. I was deeply touch when I shook little Abel’s hand. I saw a desperate little 10-year-old boy who had lost all hope, but who found hope again through this wonderful, caring ministry.

 

25 Oct
2013

HUNGER WEIGHS MUCH MORE THAN THIS SACK OF FOOD! – ADOPTION 1:27

Hunger Is Heavier Than This Food

Hunger Is Heavier Than This Food

 

The elderly woman stood bent over and very frail. We were at the food
distribution for destitute widows in the city of Adama, several years
ago. This was their monthly food distribution. 20 widows would receive
a life-sustaining gift of food that day. It was enough food to
sustain them for the next 30 days.

 

This widow was about 80 years old, one of the oldest in the group. We
had helpers who would carry the sacks of food out to waiting carts.
One cart would take her, and the food, home.
As the helper reached for the sack of food, the woman said “No! I
will carry it!” “Hunger Weighs much more than this sack of food”! She
struggled as the 40 pound sack was placed on her back, then, she
shuffled out of that meeting place. I wanted to force her to let us
help, but I realized that she needed the independence of carrying her
own food. And, what she said was so true. Hunger truly is heavier than
life-sustaining food.

40 Pounds of Food And 1 Liter of Oil

40 Pounds of Food And 1 Liter of Oil

We arrived again in Ethiopia last night after a 21-hour series of
planes and layovers. I was struck once again, by how very far it is
to Africa from McKinney Texas. I collapsed in bed after almost a full
day of international travel. After breakfast this morning, we headed
off to the city of Kore. This is the city that serves as the dump for
the capital city of Addis Ababa. Kore is a desperate city! There are
150,000 people who live around the city dump, and many of them live
off of what they can scavenge from the dump. They find things to sell,
and they find food to eat. They live in one of the poorest cities on
the face of the year. Almost 50% of the people are lepers, and almost
50% of the people in that city are HIV-positive.

 

Adoption 1:27 is one of the amazing ministries that we support through
streams of Mercy. Families in America can support a family living
around that dump. It only costs $40 a month to change their lives.
Today was the day for the monthly food distribution in the city of
Kore! It was a very emotional day for me. It brought me back to that
time several years ago with that elderly widow. As we saw destitute
families receive received life-sustaining food today, we realized once
again, that small gifts to the most needy in this world can transform
their lives. Adoption 1:27 cares for 97 destitute families in the city
of Kore.

 

6 Jun
2013

She was a gang leader at age 9

THE COLOMBIA OUTREACH TEAM

THE COLOMBIA OUTREACH TEAM

 

Claudia’s* mother died when she was just five years old. Her father informed her that she really didn’t need a mother, and was going to be fine without one. Since her dad was an alcoholic, Claudia began a journey into a life of neglect, and became very hard and very tough. She is a natural leader, and became a gang leader by age 9. As a gang leader, Claudia had to be tough… she had to be strong… she had to be without emotion.

 

While on the streets, she ran into a group of people who cared for the children living on the streets. It was the staff of the Bogota Street Kids. The amazing staff have impacted the lives of hundreds of kids like Claudia. The children come into this entry-level program. It’s a day shelter where they can come and get meals. They also receive genuine love, and they hear the message of a wonderful Savior. Claudia began to attend the day shelter. The director’s wife told us the stories of Claudia and other children coming into the shelter: they are not sweet little 9 year olds; they are tough and hard from life on the streets. But God gives breakthroughs into their lives.

 

Claudia came into the ministry at age 11. It was at this point that her life began to be radically transformed. Some things changed immediately, while other transformations took a very long. The staff are committed to this life-long journey of healing. They walk these children through the scars of their past.

 

Claudia is now a mom with two kids and a wonderful husband. The ‘impossible’ has happened in her life. All because the staff of this ministry didn’t let go of a girl like Claudia!

 

* Not her real name.

 

 

THEY SHALL BE CALLED OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

BOGOTA

BOGOTA IS A CITY OF 8 MILLION PEOPLE WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS LIVING IN ABJECT POVERTY

 

The next stop on our journey in Colombia was to ‘The Farm’ which is part of the Bogota Street Kids Ministry. This is not a typical farm with animals and crops.This is a farm that is raising ‘oaks of righteousness’. These are long-term homes, where the children become members of a family for the rest of their lives.

 

The farm is a beautiful 40 acre parcel of land on the side of the hill. The view is very similar to what you would see in the mountains of Switzerland. What an incredible place for these children to grow up! There are two homes on the property with families who care for children. 10 children live with a family in the first home, and six children currently live with a family in the second home.

 

THE NEWEST FAMILY HOME BEING CONSTRUCTED ON THE FARM

THE NEWEST FAMILY HOME BEING CONSTRUCTED ON THE FARM

 

The third home on the property is under construction and nearing completion. This 4,000 square ft. home can be completed for only $45,000.00 more. All construction costs so far, have been paid with cash! Ten more children will be added to this home, and will receive a loving family when this home is completed.

 

I sit in my room in a hotel in Bogota, totally overwhelmed by all we have seen on this trip. And yet, I know there is more to see of this ministry. We are blessed to support such a wonderful ministry through Streams Of Mercy!

 

5 Jun
2013

Australian Grandmother of 10 Ministers in the Most Dangerous Area of Bogota

Mary Sharing Her Love For The Kids Of The Santo Domingo Barrio

MARY SHARING HER LOVE FOR THE KIDS OF THE SANTO DOMINGO BARRIO

 

Her name is Mary. She is a 68-year-old grandmother from Australia who has been called to reach the children in one of the most dangerous barrios of Colombia. When we met Mary, we were struck with the joy that flows from her heart. She smiles easily. Mary could be living a comfortable retirement in Australia, surrounded by family. Instead, she has chosen to transform the lives of children living in abject poverty. This is an area with rampant crime and drug use. We were warned that it would be the most dangerous place that we would visit while in Colombia. This is the place that Mary calls ‘home’.

 

JAN IN THE 'BELLY OF THE BEAST'

JAN IN THE ‘BELLY OF THE BEAST’

We boarded the “Beast” for our journey to this dangerous barrio. On the other side of Bogota, we began to climb up the mountain. We chugged our way up the mountain, until we came to the crest of the hill overlooking the city in the distance. The shacks are crammed on the hillside. One of these is Mary’s home.

 

CARING LOVE SHOWS THE FATHER'S HEART

CARING LOVE SHOWS THE FATHER’S HEART

 

When we arrived at Mary’s, we walked up to the second floor of her apartment and she began to show us photos of her family. Mary has three grown children, two girls and a boy. She also has 10 grandchildren that she loves very much. Mary hasn’t seen her grandchildren in five years. She longs to be able to see them, but she feels called to this difficult place and the children who live here.

 

We then gathered around Mary’s table. She began to talk about her love for the barrio called Santo Domingo. The children in Santo Domingo are the poorest of the poor. Many of them have parents who are drug addicts or alcoholics. Many of them have families who are involved in witchcraft. Some of the children have no immediate family members at all, but live with extended families or distant relatives.

 

Mary has experienced unspeakable challenges. One night she awoke with a man’s hand covering her face. Three robbers got in through a window, and tied her up, and demanded money. These men cleaned out her apartment and then beat and stabbed her before leaving. Mary spoke about the temptation to live in fear, but felt the grace of God flood her heart. God spoke these words to her “you are not to turn your back on my calling, you are to face forward”.

 

THE FRIENDS CLUB (CLUB DE AMIGOS) IN BOGOTA

THE FRIENDS CLUB (CLUB DE AMIGOS) IN BOGOTA

 

Mary runs the ‘Friends Club’ in Santo Domingo. She runs several of these clubs every week reaching almost 200 children with the good news of Christ. Today we had the joy of being able to visit one of those clubs. These were the 4 to 7-year-old children who love coming to this place. The children gathered around tables. They drew, they colored, and they played with Legos, toys and games. And, they were loved by the staff.

 

HELPING THE CHILDREN OF THE FRIENDS CLUB

HELPING THE CHILDREN OF THE FRIENDS CLUB

 

Everyone on our team was deeply impacted by this time with Mary. There were times during the day when our eyes filled with tears. There were other times when great joy flooded our hearts as we heard about transformed lives. All of us were so blessed to see another aspect of the Bogota Street Kids Ministry. What an amazing second day!!

 

4 Jun
2013

Colombia Journey

Our Team Getting Ready To Board The "Beast"!


Our Team Getting Ready To Board The “Beast”!

 

 

We arrived in Columbia Sunday afternoon.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but very chilly. Even though Bogota is in the tropics, it is at an altitude of 8700 feet, which makes it very cool much of the year.

 

What a delight to see Steve Bartel greet us as we came out of customs. He took us right away to the Bogota Street Kids bus. We call it the Beast! This is a 13-year-old vehicle that was built purposely on a truck chassis.  It has been over many mountain roads, and  has hit many potholes, causing lots of wearing and tear.  The ministry has had this bus for 13 years, and Steve was lamenting, that by law, they can only use it for 7 more years to transport kids. Steve took us for a late lunch and then we headed off to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before a busy week ahead in this amazing city.

Alex Shares His Heart For The Kids In The Oasis

Alex Shares His Heart For The Kids In The Oasis

 

Our first full day began by meeting the 30 staff of the Bogota Street Kids ministry.  They are an amazing assortment of people from different backgrounds, and different nationalities.  After spending some time with the staff, we headed off to a park where we would have a morning filled with fun activities. These are people who have laid down their lives to minister to children from poor neighborhoods and from terrible family circumstances.  Many of the children that they minister to are the children of prostitutes, or children who themselves have been sold in the sex slave trade.  It was so good to be able to have some fun time with these heroes.

 

Next, we headed back to the ministry center for a time of teaching.  I had the privilege to share on the subject of the Father Heart of God.  As I shared I had a strong sense of God’s great love for this staff. They live day by day in the reality of God’s Father Heart, as they show that heart to these desperately needy children.

 

Having a Great Time Of Games with the Staff. The Caballero (Cowboy) Game

Having a Great Time Of Games with the Staff. The Caballero (Cowboy) Game

 

After the teaching and prayer time, we went next to The Oasis. This is the Half-way house for children rescued from the streets. Alex is only 34 years old, but he has led this ministry house for 9 years. These kids have been radically transformed by Alex and the staff of this ministry. We heard heart wrenching stories from the kids in the home. They were also stories of transformation and hope.

 

The Mennonite Dance Game

The Mennonite Dance Game

 

We already feel at home here in Colombia. It’s so good to have the Rannells family and Daniel with us on this journey.

 

UA-30097750-1