Sunday, September 8, 2013

Backwards to go Forward

Children eating from leftover money since Feb.

 It has been 6 months now since we discovered that Kechene Care Point had secured two funding sources, one being used for the kids and one being used for other purposes not appropriated for the school. As my earlier post, "Working through Sadness," stated, it has been a difficult journey and a HUGE step backwards. I have been waiting for deadline after deadline for this man to admit that he did wrong and for the "authorities" to take him away and reprimand him. If that happened, we were going to step in and continue sponsorship with the 156 people who had been committed to supporting these beautiful children. 

Children enjoying food this summer from last sponsorship deposits.


However, the deadlines were never met. The director of Kechene never admitted any wrongdoing and therefore did not own the problem. Could this happen again if we continue sponsorship with Children's Hopechest at Kechene with this man as their director? YES! This is a problem on many obvious levels for Children's Hopechest, for me, and for all the sponsors. We CAN NOT continue to send money to a man who could take from the destitute when money was meant for them. Therefore, we regretfully and with deep sadness, yet conviction, have to pull out of the Kechene sponsorship program. 

I have been in prayer about this for months. I have asked God for justice, for clarity, for direction, for peace and for children to be cared for!! And...I have actually had my prayers answered! It has not been easy, however, but over time God has given me clarity, direction, peace, and above all notice that 156 children are getting fed and will go back to school this month to continue their spiritual journey to eternity with their Savior. There is no justice yet for the man who did wrong, but that is not for us to do. Matthew 7:1-2  "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Library shelves and books from last summer's art show fundraiser and other donations.

The clarity-
It seems clearer than ever that God is not ready for me to go back to Ethiopia. I was looking at all our goals on the right margin of this blog and everything was met in a very timely manner, except one area, my trip back to Ethiopia. I had fundraisers, a sale, family putting money in for my birthday and Christmas, etc., but  whenever I would expect a great increase, it just didn't go anywhere. Then, when I was to get my ticket and trust in God for the rest of the money, we got word about Kechene being in trouble and going to visit would not help the situation. I had clarity about what not to do. 

Tables being made from the art show fundraiser and donations.

The Direction-
Now what?  Several messages that I feel I have gotten recently have been all pointing to a friend of mine who became very involved in "Schools for Haiti." Her father had started the non-profit family organization by first going to Haiti and building schools for Haitian children. He became such a relief to the people of Haiti that he was considered family to them. Now, since his death in 2012, Penny has gone twice and plans on traveling several times a year to continue her father's legacy and bring others with her. She recently told me she is in need of over 100 sponsors! Again, after much prayer, I felt like this was the direction God was calling me to go, helping Penny and her family with "Schools for Haiti." 

Uniforms being made for the children at Kechene from last sponsorship deposits.

Obviously, since Feb., I have had very little peace about our school starving of food, money, schooling, medical supplies and support due to being misled and having to possibly abandon them completely. I was unable to share any of this with anyone except those who were close to the situation. I was lonely and sad and NO peace about the situation. It was a really tough time. However, as time does, God has healed that brokenness and desperation. He has shown me wisdom through others, like our son, that would share that it's not about what I have done or not done, but rather what He will do and to rest and have peace knowing He has it covered. Matthew 11:28  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  I have since had peace and understanding for something so sad and so BACKWARDS.

Backwards to go Forwards-
But then last week in church, I had the words I needed to bring all this out of despair and go forward! It was a great message on "Uncommon Courage" and the courage to follow your calling. I thought this was going to be hard to hear and accept since I felt my calling may be done and dead. However, not so!!  The notes I took went something like this, 

"With God, the way FORWARD is often BACKWARDS." 

Judges 7:2b-3 "In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mt. Gilead.' So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten-thousand remained."

With the story of Gideon, I was reminded of his lack of courage and God's amazing faithfulness. Even though so many of Gideon's army left, God continued to move him forward with the mission. Gideon kept losing more and more men and God kept promising strength from Him. Gideon had to go by faith instead of his own strengths.

God doesn't call the equipped, but rather he equips the CALLED. 

It was such a great message for so many situations, but for my "calling," I felt like God was saying, "Yep, we took a step backward, but now it's time to go forward." Things were learned, people were moved to do great things, people changed, children's souls were saved, children fed and clothed and loved. Families got to be a part of something other than themselves and REALLY made a difference in a little one's life. I got to be a part of that, but that isn't necessarily all there is. God's plan is still unknown, but moving forward is not an option, it's a command. 

Forward- (for sponsors)

Moving forward could look different for one person to the next. However, after doing some research about a variety of non-profit organizations that allow you to sponsor a child, I would love to give you a list of trustworthy options. If sponsorship is not for you at this point, perhaps God is calling you to see first hand the least of these and what you can do to help. Or perhaps, you are feeling more like putting that $34/mo. into something that is more local and can touch those in your own communities. Whatever you feel moved to do at this point, please make sure that you pray about it and DO IT. It is so easy for us to let the $34/mo. be used up in our own families...and it WILL. When our little boy from Brazil died last Jan., my husband and I were tempted to just let the money go back to the bank account, however, there are so many needs. 

So, I encourage you to pray about it and choose wisely. I still endorse Children's Hopechest 100%, but CH and I understand how painful this was and if you want other options, there are many needs in many organizations and we are all working for the glory of His Kingdom!
Options for sponsorship:

Compassion International

Please pray with me as we move FORWARD and follow God's lead. Even though we are not with our original children at Kechene, the needs don't stop there. God wants us to continue to use us for His glory. 

Isaiah 6:8

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' and I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"

My continued Prayer-
Lord, continue to use us to glorify You and to seek your guidance in whatever way you are calling us. Continue to give us clarity, direction, peace, and COURAGE to do what you want us to do. Please continue to care for the beautiful children at Kechene and supply them with what they need for an education and to know your Words. We pray they know they are loved and that you will never abandon them. We pray for the director of Kechene and that he would admit to his wrongdoings and be a blessing to the children. Forgive him, Lord. Amen.

Penny Neal with some of the orphans needing sponsorship in Haiti.

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