Why Orphans? Why South Africa? Why Us?In 2013 we sold all our belongings and quit our jobs to work full time with orphans. While we really thought we understood orphans and their plight in the world this experience really opened our eyes. It is like Jesus said in the Great Commission, the harvest is great but the workers are few. The need for orphanages and workers worldwide is very overwhelming.
An estimated 153 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents and 7 million are in institutional care world-wide. As political and social-economic times change it seems the world’s children are the ones who bear the burdens of those situations. These children sometimes find refuge in an orphanage but many children are vulnerable to the part of society that wishes to exploit or use them. We are hearing more and more about human trafficking and the horrors those children face.
In South Africa, as a result of millions of parents dying of AIDS, there are 3.5 million orphans in the country. There is such a lack of available orphanages and care that 150,000 children are living in child-led households. We feel as Christians we should do all we can to ensure children do not become victims but are raised to know the kindness and joy that comes from our Father. That they are taught in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.
In the fall of 2014 we traveled to South Africa to work with an organization called African Havens. After our initial time there we knew we had found the perfect place for us to work. We saw first-hand how the love from a mother and a father makes a difference in the life of children!!
African Havens is a group of homes in Johannesburg, South Africa where orphaned children are cared for in groups of 6 children per house. There is Baby Haven which is mainly children from the ages of 0-3…most of these children are adopted nationally or internationally. There is also a group of 20 children ages 3-14 who are part of African Havens. It harder to find adoptive parents for older children so they will stay at Havens until adulthood. The Havens is part of a larger organization, Every Nation.
Working with orphaned children has become our passion. The Havens has provided a place that not only meets the physical needs of the children but seeks to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the child as well. We have now joined their team as permanent staff members. Our desire is to see the work of the mission multiplied so more children feel the love of Jesus and heal from emotional trauma and abandonment.