Upside Down

Our days are made up of a series of moments and each one passes, whether we like it or not. Some moments pass us by without a second thought, and other’s can change the course of our lives forever. For Robert Machogu, the moment he arrived home to receive the shocking news of his father’s devistating HIV diagnosis turned his life upside down forever.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Robert’s father passed away leaving he, his older brother and his mother behind. But unfortunately, their troubles had only just begun. Because Robert’s brother was his mother’s son from a previous marriage, she was not accepted as his father’s wife. As a result, Robert’s family didn’t inherit anything from his father except for the house in which they already lived. In spite of their circumstances, his mother continued to work hard to provide for their family as a strong, single mother.

That’s when tragedy struck Robert and his family once more.

One morning, after taking a shower, Robert’s mother slipped and fell. She hit her head hard on the floor and began to go into a stroke. Later that day, she passed away due to brain damage, and once again Robert’s world was turned upside down.

Robert and his brother were devestated. Together, they struggled to get by, attempting to complete their educations and working to survive all on their own. Finally, one of their mother’s close friends saw just how much they were struggling and introcuced Robert and his brother to the directors of Agape Hope Children’s Center in Kenya, where they now currently reside. It was this moment, Robert believes, that changed his life for the better forever.

“Before coming to Agape Hope Children Centre I was a frail, and demotivated with low self esteem. I believed that there were those in life who had been created to remain and lead privileged lives, and guessed I was simply not among them. I can now proudly say that meeting and interacting with other children with similar or possibly worse situations compared to mine has taught me to be thankful to God. Now I am able to motivate other children and to encourage them,” Robert said.

“Children in orphanages have needs that go just beyond material needs but also spiritual, emotional and psychological needs. I am thankful that I received all those in the orphanage. The directors of Agape Hope Children Centre, pastor Oliver Chiraba and his wife Margaret Chigunzi even saw to it that I attended a university. They paid my tuition fees, as well as taking care of my basic needs. I now consider them my mum and dad. Not a day goes by without me counting how lucky I am, and I am inspired everyday by them to help children in need. I do not neccesarily need to be rich in order to do so, just the grace of God is sufficient.”

Written by Brianna Bentley

It’s Bristol Baby!

Hey to all of you NASCAR fans out there who can’t get enough of that racing rush! This month, we’re kicking off a new fundraiser by selling the die-hard-fan package of your dreams…

Plan your next trip this spring to The Last Great Colosseum in style with our Sprint Cup Series Getaway! Experience the excitement and roar of the crowd at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in April while relaxing in the ultimate luxury of an exclusive Skybox. You and your lucky guest won’t miss out on a second of the action from these premium seats! And just in case you work up an appetite while cheering on your favorite driver, this incredible package also includes complimentary catered lunches and snacks for both race days.

In addition to the best seats in the house, this package also includes lodging at the stunning Lakeview campsite in Bluff City, TN just miles from Bristol Motor Speedway. You and your guest can retreat to the ultimate comfort and style of a Holiday Rambler Endeavor Motorcoach amidst the peaceful outdoors, and enjoy the captivating beauty of the surrounding mountains.

But the best part about this special getaway package is that 100% of its purchase price goes straight to our partner homes to support orphans all around the world! Visit our listing on eBay today to find out more details about our Sprint Cup Series Getaway.

By Brianna Bentley

(Featured image courtesy of google images)

We’re fast and furious about orphan care

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What’s black, yellow, and orange all over? It may just be one of the most unique donations we’ve received yet!

Funded by a private donor, Richard Petty’s Garage built us a sleek 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible with a unique twist on the classic American car. And for all of you SOW supporters out there who are die-hard car enthusiasts, we’re sure you’ll agree that she’s a one-of-a-kind beauty.

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But don’t just judge her based on looks. This car’s got beauty and brains with exclusively built-in features such as:

  • An 825 HP engine
  • One-of-a-kind Petty’s Garage Speedster Conversion
  • Custom paint with BASF including 3 Candy colors
  • Alligator interior
  • Air Ride
  • Custom sound system
  • HRE wheels
  • Original Richard Petty Design
  • BASF calendar car
  • Named one of the top five Mustangs at SEMA, 2015

And just when you think a car like this can’t get any better, it does.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of the SOW Mustang go to support vulnerable children all over the world!

If you are interested in seeing this beauty in person for yourself, come join us at Mecum’s auction in Kissimmee, FL January 15–24. You could have the opportunity to become the proud new owner of this Richard Petty original, as well as help rescue thousands of children across the globe!

Scheduled to be auctioned off January 23rd. Watch the auction on tv from 4:30p-10p by NBCSN.

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Charlie and the Harley

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Nothing warms a heart more during the Christmas season than hearing the inspiring story of a cheerful giver! And if there was ever such a heartwarming story here at SOW to share with you as inspiration during the holidays, it would be the story of Charlie and the Harley…

Charlie Warren and his wife Donna were introduced to SOW’s ministry over the summer after hearing Lead Ambassador Richard Baker share a testimony about his trips to our orphanages overseas. His stories opened up the Warren’s eyes to the world of orphan care, and immediately the couple was inspired to join SOW in the rescue of orphans any way they could.

Charlie and Donna hit the ground running in their efforts to get involved with SOW as they began by volunteering on the gala planning committee. But even then, the Warren’s knew they wanted to do something more for the cause.

That’s when Charlie had a revving idea.

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“We came for the volunteer meeting, and Richard gave us a tour of SOW’s office. He told us even more stories [of his travels overseas to the orphanages]. I just went home, and it hit me,” Charlie said.

Deeply moved by the mission and vision of Serving Orphans Worldwide, Charlie decided to make a generous donation to SOW. But his was no ordinary donation…

Of all the gifts Charlie could have given, he decided to give his most prized possession — a 1995 nostalgic Harley.

“I told Richard it was my first Harley that I ever had. Out of all the motorcycles I’ve had, it is my favorite,” Charlie said. “It hurt to give, but I’m hoping that somebody will step up and buy it to help the orphanages!”

But as wonderful as the gift of Charlie’s Harley was, it’s the story behind the gift that is truly the heart of its inspiration.

7 years ago, Charlie was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. And ever since then, he and Donna have lived one day at a time, trusting in the Lord’s plan for their lives and leaning on him to get them through this trying season.

“I’m being taken care of,” Charlie says. “The Lord has a plan, and I’ve been very blessed.”

Knowing about Charlie’s diagnosis prior to his donation, Richard was moved by Charlie and Donna’s generosity to donate the bike regardless of their circumstances.

“I was very, very touched… Especially knowing his condition, that Charlie has liver cancer, and that he could probably take those resources and personally use them,” Richard said. “It really touched me, and lets me know that God can speak to people even in their darkest times and tell them that they can still reach out and help orphans.”

The bike, which features a classic color combination of black and silver, has the vintage characteristics that only a Harley nostalgic could have. It is in pristine condition, showcasing vintage fenders and white-wall tires that ride like a dream.

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Needless to say, this would not have been an easy bike to part with. But in the end, Charlie is confident that the Lord will use this donation to make a profound impact upon SOW’s ministry.

Richard agreed, stating that he believed the impact of this unique donation would be two-fold.

“I believe the proceeds from the sale of the bike will impact SOW in two ways: First, I think the donation will send a very positive message to people that somebody who’s going through a trial in their own life still had a passion and a desire to help orphans who are less fortunate than themselves. But then the monetary value of the bike could easily support an orphanage for 3 or 4 months, and take care of those kids. So it will be a very positive impact financially as well!”

When asked what he would like to see happen for SOW as a result of his donation, Charlie had high hopes that the Lord would impress someone’s heart to give above and beyond what he had ever dreamed the bike would bring!

“I would like to see somebody pay up some good money for it, and pay even more for it than what it’s worth — break the bank!”

If you are inspired by Charlie’s story, and are interested in purchasing the Harley to aid in the rescue of thousands of children worldwide, please contact SOW at [email protected] or call Jenny at (423)989.7205.

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What is easy…

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The following is a short story by Charity Graff, the director of Gentle Hands Orphanage in the Philippines. Through her eyes, this story expresses the conflicting emotions she experiences as a director. As she defends and protects the children she cares for, she also finds herself moved with Christ-like compassion toward their mothers — the very ones who abandoned and neglected the lives of the children she now tries so hard to restore.

Let this story be a lesson to us. Let it demonstrate to us the love of Christ, and move our hearts with compassion to pray for the children, directors, and even the hurting parents of these children. Let us pray that God opens our eyes to see the truth in these situations, and that our hearts will be softened toward those we have wrongly judged. Righteous anger is an acceptable motivator to fight for justice, but in doing so let us not ever forsake the motivation of compassion and love.

It is easy.
It is easy to defend the rights of the child…

When they are brought to the door in the dark of night after being found on the street alone, hungry, naked and abandoned by their mother, and you must hold them through the screams.

It is easy to be angry and curse under your breath…

When you bandage wounds morning and night that are unthinkable and due only to the blatant neglect of a selfish mother.

It is easy to harbor bitterness…

When you are left to force feed a little one that is suffering from severe malnutrition before they have even had a chance at life.

And it is easy to judge. Harshly…

When you are the one calming a hysterical 10-year-old that has been beaten so that most of his body is bruised. When his outbursts are full of fury and hate and you must tell him he has worth, that he is loved and that God has a beautiful plan for his life…and he spits in your face.

What is not easy…

To look for and find the mother of one of these precious children and listen to her story. To look at her tattoo covered body that is far too exposed, to notice the self inflicted wounds that she tries to hide, and then look deep into her eyes and see her broken soul.

It is not easy to watch her tears fall as she tells you her own story of abuse, pain, and loneliness. It is hard to imagine how she had her first baby at 12 years old and how drugs have become her lifeline and her livelihood. It is hard to listen to the words between her broken sobs saying, “I miss my little girls.”

And it is hard to comprehend that she is just 17 years old, though she looks aged beyond these years.

And I cannot explain it, but I am moved with compassion to hold her as I do her two little ones in my care. I am compelled to tell her that she has worth and that she is loved and that there is always hope. As her body shakes, I keep my arms around her. And as her tears soak through my shirt, I fight back my own.

And I pray for God to forgive me for being nothing but angry at this poor broken soul. I pray for Him to make a way for her to see Jesus and His great love for her. And I pray for her children. There are tough decisions to be made and no one way is easier than the other.

As she walks away, I sit alone, aware again, of my own human frailty.

Humbly, I ask for wisdom and grace. It is not always easy to love…but I know there is hope in love.

And my hope comes from my God. I will depend on His unfailing love and that…
…is easy to do.

Story by Charity Graff and Brianna Bentley

Photos by Mia Baker