No Longer Forgotten

Ten-year-old Han Li was living on the streets with complete strangers in northeastern China this time last year. Her mother and father fled North Korea into China with Han in 2015 and later, her parents were captured by the Chinese immigration police known as “Gong-An” and taken back to North Korea. The sad reality is that Han is just one of thousands of orphaned North Korean children now living under the radar in China and nearly all of their deported parents will never be seen or heard from again.

Between 100,000 and 400,000 North Koreans are estimated to be living illegally in northeastern China today with no refugee status or access to any public services and resources. This means no school enrollment for the children or any of the basic rights afforded to many other migrants and refugees throughout the world. As a result, 25,000 children are now de facto oprhans…An estimated 70% of North Koreans living illegally in China are women and a large number were sold to Chinese men by human traffickers.

Getting back to Han, she was literally rescued off the streets by a Chinese good Samaritan working for an agency running a news story on North Korean street children in China. She was brought to Do-Chon orphanage in Yanji-City where she has recently been adopted into a forever home by a local school teacher who volunteers for the home. Han is one of the truly lucky children forgotten and left behind by the North Korean migrant crisis. She is settling in well to her new home and has a bright future ahead of her!

What Legacy Will You Leave? The Surujpaul’s Story

Bless The Children Home in Guyana helps to meet the needs of more than 100 children each year and provides full time care to dozens of orphans. The Surujpauls who helped establish the home have been the directors here for 9 years and will leave a legacy for many generations to come both in their own family and through the families served by their years of service.

Mr. and Mrs. Surujpaul got married at the age of 19, and they were both born in Guyana in the same village. When they got married, Mr. Surujpaul was a school teacher. (A highly coveted and well paying job of that time). However, soon after marriage he felt a call of God on his life to go into full time ministry. He obeyed! Together, he and his wife Sheila started preaching the gospel in the mostly Hindu and Muslim neighborhoods that surrounded their village.

During their life together, they raised 4 children and today are blessed with 4 grandchildren. They stayed in full time ministry for all of the 49 years they have been married. After over a decade of serving in their home country of Guyana, they were led to America to continue raising their family where they became citizens.

After more than 20 years of being in the US, Mrs. Sheila received a dream from God to use a piece of land she purchased from a family member in Guyana to open an orphanage. She was sure that God wanted her to use that specific spot to help hurting children in Guyana find hope and fulfill their purpose in God. She enlisted her family’s help and started the journey to build Bless the Children Home. Her dream for this started in 2005.

With the help of friends, family and complete strangers, the home was built in Guyana completely debt free. In September 2008 they opened the doors to the first set of children. This year will mark 9 years of the home’s service to children of Guyana. During these years we’ve seen many, many, children grow up and are happy they had a second chance in life.

In late 2015 Ms. Sheila was diagnosed with stage 3-4 peritoneal cancer. She was scheduled for surgery to remove what they thought was “some” cancer on her ovaries. When the surgeon went in to do surgery, there was cancer on every organ in her abdomen area. She was sent for chemo and further treatment, but in spite of the bad news, Ms. Sheila knew that her time was not over on this earth and that there was much more work to be done. So, she prayed and believed God for a complete healing and restoration. Miraculously, the cancer is gone and she no longer has to go through treatments or surgeries! We continue to thank God for her complete healing and restoration. Since that time, she has gone back to Guyana to live and serve the children. Together her and her husband help provide a stable mom and dad figure for the children. They call Rev. Surujpaul “uncle pastor” and fondly refers to her as mom or Ms. Sheila.

The children and staff of the home are truly grateful for her generosity and for her perseverance to fulfill God’s instruction to her to build a home for children. She did all of this with the full help and support of her husband who she had been supporting in ministry for years and years.

In Guyana she is known as “mom to many.”

Bless The Children Home is grateful to have such a godly heritage, and Serving Orphans Worldwide considers it a privilege to partner with them to impact the lives of more orphaned children in Guyana. Your financial support is a very big part of our operations and helping to care for these beautiful children. We thank you for your continued support.

 

Featured Prayer Needs

There are so many opportunities to partner with Serving Orphans Worldwide in prayer this year, and we wanted to share a few recent needs from last month’s report:

City of Hope (Kalamusu Kadella ), Sri Lanka

City of Hope Orphanage is one of the few SOW covenant homes located in an area that is more hostile to Christian ministries. Each month, they face some level of persecution and their immediate needs include urgent van repairs.

 

Agape Hope Center, Kenya

Agape is one of the larger orphanages in Kenya and they have many children who come from the slums. Their most pressing need this month is 20 new bunk beds…While their capacity is growing and they have a lot of support, the needs are greater and there are so many more kids they could help.

 

Chiang Rai Children’s Home, Thailand

Pray for the children from prison who need to be taken care of in a more unique way. The staff teaches them about how much God loves them, but some of the children need some professional care and counseling to help them walk through their trauma and attachment issues. In the school, many students ask kids who were born in the prison about their parents, and that is the most difficult part for them to answer. Pray that this year would be a year of healing for them in Christ Jesus.

 

Sails of Hope Orphanage, Ukraine

Please keep in your prayers little Renat. Since his father’s death during the war, Renat has had trouble sleeping. He refuses to sleep without his older brother, Sergej. Even then, Renat wakes up several times during the night and wakes up his brother as well. While 3-year-old Renat can catch up on sleep during the day, Sergej is older and must go to school. Sergej is becoming sleep deprived, and has difficulty concentrating on schoolwork.

New Year, New Opportunities, and New Needs

As 2016 came to a close and people gathered with family and friends around the world to celebrate the coming of a new calendar year, many goals and resolutions were written down in journals, entered into smart phone apps, or spoken out loud.

For many of us, these will be about how much weight we will lose, how much money we will save, and what awesome trips we will take. While we wish everyone the best in the coming year, and we pray that you have the opportunity to accomplish everything you set out to accomplish this year, we also want to take this opportunity to invite you to do something extraordinary that will have an eternal impact.

There were about 160 million orphaned children around the world who looked up at the same night sky you did on December 31st. Some of them dreamed about being held by their mother and father one day. Many of them dreamed about wearing the same clothes as their friends at school and having the same opportunities to go to college and pursue a career. Countless others woke up January 1st thinking about how they were going to get basic provisions for that very day (Not having the luxury of dreaming about possibilities for the new year).

As you dream of ways to make positive changes in 2017, don’t forget about your own faith and helping others. In fact, there is nothing more rewarding in this life than showing the real love of Jesus Christ to others who desperately need it. Growing in your own faith in 2017 can be about so much more than reading a few more books, attending a few more church services, or chasing the next experience. God’s word tells us that to get back to the basics and really understand what pure religion and faith is all about, we need to look outside of ourselves and find ways to help others…

James 1:27 – Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Serving Orphans Worldwide has many opportunities for you to get involved in 2017, and we are excited about creating lasting change in the lives of thousands of children this year!!! If you haven’t already, join our newsletter below this post to stay connected.

A Season to Respond to God’s Favor by Defending the Orphan

Isaiah 1:17
“Learn to do good…defend the orphan…”

 

I distinctly remember the day when I came to more-fully understand the magnitude of God’s favor. My family and I were living and working among indigenous communities on the border of Honduras and Nicaragua toward the Atlantic Coast.

 

Obviously, there were barriers that separated us from the local people such as ethnicity, culture, language, education, and economics. But on that particular day as I was visiting an abjectly poor river village, I looked into a young pastor’s face and saw my “equal.” The innately prejudiced “self” had finally died.

 

My indigenous pastor friend was certainly just as valuable and important in the eyes of God as any other, but he was severely disadvantaged in terms of modernity in comparison to me. He had no access to school, health care, possessed almost nothing, and lived in a bamboo hut. But that day I realized the only real difference between us had been determined before the foundations of the world—the place and condition of our respective births—something of which neither of us had control.

 

I cannot pretend to explain the reason for God’s favor and neither am I prepared to declare which of us in the example is better off in the long run. I simply say that for those who were born in a “land of opportunity” and have access to an abundance of resources, we must recognize and respond to God’s favor by joyfully sharing everything He has placed in our hands.

 

When I consider the plight of the fatherless, I have to remember, the only real difference between my own children and the orphan is God’s favor. My children were born and raised in privilege, and they were not.

 

It is not that God would punish the orphan or that His favor would not reach them, and it is not that we privileged are more wise or diligent, but rather God has favored us with opportunities and blessings so that through us He may defend and lift up the orphan.

 

As we enter the season of Christmas, this wonderful time of sharing our lives with family and friends, I invite you to respond to God’s favor appropriately by defending the orphan. When you do so, you join God Himself in lifting up His precious Creation.

 

On behalf of 5244 fatherless children in 26 countries, thank you for your end-of-the-year gifts which allow Serving Orphans Worldwide to continue pursuing the mission to rescue, train, and sustain struggling orphanages around the world!

 

Our daily prayer for you is, “May God bless you, may He bless you indeed, so that through you, all the families of the earth may be blessed!”