Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jobs and housing

A study was recently done and 15,000 formerly orphaned children in Russia were followed/studied. This number of 15,000 reflects the average number of teens that age out annually. The statistics were as follows:
33% were able to find employment
40% were homeless
20% were in prison within three years of aging out

If people are unable to find jobs, life gets very difficult. In countries that have a welfare system in place, there is a bit of a safety net to catch many. Unfortunately in many nations having no job means a lifetime of hurt and pain.

Imagine for a minute that you step outside of an orphanage at age 17 or 18. You take a look around and wonder what you will do to provide for yourself. You know you cant get a job right away but you sure need somewhere to sleep at night and food to eat. For many who have family and a support system in place you have some needed time to make these things happen.

When you don't have these in place, options dwindle fast. Many of these amazing teens who have already faced many hardships now have a new hardship, no where to have the safety of a home. Have you ever thought that a home provides more than a place to watch television, it means safety. Safety from the elements, but also safety from predators, whether they be animals or human beings.

For the 67% that cant find employment, 40% of them end up homeless. Can you sense their despair? When you become homeless, it is easy to take the next step to being hopeless. Often the only way to be able to eat and sleep is to do illegal things and this leads to so many ending up in prison. At times this may be petty crimes but for many serious crimes follow.

The streets can be a very rough place to live, especially when you are 17 or 18. It becomes survival if you don't end up committing suicide to end the pain.

As I have said before, if this were a problem that we could do nothing about then I wouldn't bring these things up. We can change things and as Christians we are called to get involved. As a follower of Christ we must take the lead in showing Christ's love.

Solutions are coming, are you interested in knowing how you can make a difference?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Last night I began to share some of the real life statistics that impact many amazing teens. The teens I am talking about are orphaned teens. We often think of orphaned children as being babies and toddlers, which are certainly a part of the orphaned population. The reality is new children come into orphanages daily. These children get older and become teens and then "age out", and become emancipated.

There are almost 35,000 teens that age out every day, that means every 2.2 seconds a teen is "out". What happens to these amazing kids who have endured so much? Sadly for a number of them, suicide is too often the solution. For instance in Russia and Ukraine 10-15% of these teens commit suicide within the first year "out".

I am not sure how that affects you, but I find that very troubling. To think that this is the only alternative that many of these young adults feel they have is tragic. Suicide can be caused  by many factors, but often a common denominator is hopelessness. Imagine how hopeless it must be too feel that no one cares, understands, loves, or even notices you. These precious people often have no one to trust, ask questions of or encourage them. They have no place to lay their heads, no one to provide meals for them and they are all alone.

I know this is not the most uplifting reality, but it is reality. We as the body of Christ have a responsibility to make a difference. Too often I hear people say that they can't do anything to change this. That is simply not true! To do nothing is at best apathetic, but more truthfully is pathetic!

Hang in there with me as we discuss more challenges tomorrow night. Then after we look at three more  challenges emancipated teens face we will consider the solutions that we can all be a part of.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Maybe you are like me and you like to look at statistics. I love to look at hockey and baseball statistics because they tell me something about who is playing well and who is struggling. No matter what those stats show, it really has no impact on me except for my fantasy hockey league.

The statistics I am going to share these next few nights are not fantasy, they are reality. Those effected by these things are not living in a fantasy world, these numbers reflect real people living in a real world, a world that in reality is very, very cruel.

I want to talk about emancipated children. Emancipated children are those precious children that grow up in orphanages or group homes that age out and must leave the system in place for them. In countries like Canada  the results may not be as devastating as the overall numbers. But as I often say, the numbers don't lie.

Here is the first statistic:
There are 153 million children globally that are orphaned children.
For many of these children when they age out they are released with nothing. They have no training, no money, no family, no resources and no connections.

Put yourself in their position, how would you feel and what would you do, where would you go and who would you trust? I asked this question of our "Global Orphan Crisis" world changers this past week and we all agreed it would be incredibly challenging. None of us could imagine that could ever happen to. Our own children. It brought tears to our eyes as we thought about the implications.

Here is the reality, every day across this globe 38500 teens age out. Tomorrow I will be sharing the reality of what happens to these precious children. At the end of this week I am going to share how you can make a difference.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Impacting an orphaned child

Have you ever wondered what you might do to be able to help an orphaned child to feel loved? Maybe you would say that you would love to make an impact. Well here is an opportunity.
I am taking a mission team to Port au Prince in four weeks. While there we will be ministering His love to three different orphanages that take care of almost 175 orphaned children. We want to love them well and let them know it is not just our team of 10-12 people but a bunch of others too.

Here is what I am looking for. I am looking for about 50 people that will write a short note to the kids that we can read them and leave with them. If you would also include $20 in the letter we could bless their orphanage with some extra money too.

Another way you could help would be too support a missionary. We have 5 people on our trip that need to raise their funds for the trip. Two of our amazing ladies going on the trip come from our community outreach locations. They have no funds to contribute but feel that God is asking them to go and bless others. They each need to raise $1500 and they presently have a commitment for $100 each. What a blessing it would be to show them we love their hearts to serve out of their own lack.

Consider what you can do, your note to an orphaned child, a gift to their orphanage, or the support of one of our two community based missionaries would be truly amazing!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Get active, be present

I love this article, our Canadian Mounties stepping up to the plate to take care of orphaned children in Haiti.What is shows is that with a little compassion we can make a difference in the lives of hurting children around the globe.
Supt. Norm Gaumont (R) attends a solemn ceremony
One of the key things that was shared in the article was found near the end where the Mountie says: " One of the biggest things they miss is they don't get alot of loving." What is he saying?

The greatest gift we can give orphaned children is love. We need to not just say we love them or send money to solve their problems, but they need our presence and they need to be loved. I wonder what our own children would think if all we did was throw money at them and tell them we love them but never spend time with them. 

One of the things we need to be able to do is have empathy for people. If all we do is have sympathy and say "Oh I feel bad for you", it wont change a darn thing! We need to spend time with them and let them tell their stories and feel their pain. Have you and I ever sat down and listened to an orphaned child's story? If not, how come? Do we even care?

Today we ha d a seminar on bullying done by a guest speaker. At one point one teen who has been severely bullied for the last two years stood and shared how she has felt these past two years and how it has effected her. When she spoke and we heard, it changed how we understand bullying. It is the same with orphaned children, we must spend time with them. it is not my idea, it is God's heart!

This RCMP could have just gone to Haiti and noticed orphaned children, but he did so much more. he spent time with them, saw their pain, heard their stories and did something!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Comparison of nations

Ok so this blog entry will be a little more deep, but hang with me!

There is an index that shows all the nations of the world and where they rank as far as being countries with stability. It is affected by things like average income, GNP, expected life expectancy, % of unemployed people,those who have access to schools and number of orphans in their countries.

Why is it important to understand this index?  It helps us to understand how we need to approach the orphan crisis. Some things that stand out are that of the 187 nations listed only 43 are considered to be highly developed. Canada is #6 and Norway is #1. On the other end of the spectrum are 45 nations that are considered to be low on the HDI.

Flag of Zimbabwe

The countries scoring the lowest are almost all from Africa, with the Democratic Republic of Congo scoring the lowest. Other nations scoring really low include Haiti and Zimbabwe, two nations God is speaking to me about.

I am learning constantly and am being challenged regularly. The last thing these nations need is for us as North Americans is to waltz in and tell them what to do in their nations and orphanages to be effective. We need to understand their pain and hopelessness but we also need to understand things that are really working or dreams they have for their people.

As I travel this year I want to bring the message of Jesus Christ to people in ways that they are able to grasp within their culture. I also want to be very teachable and learn how we might alleviate the crisis within their nations by coming alongside the nationals on the ground.

The people we serve may be poor and disadvantaged but they are not stupid. They are people that have the same concerns as we do and that is to be able to provide safety for children and food and clean water so they can have much better health.
Lord make me teachable for your Kingdom!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spedbumps and God

One day after we made the decision to officially head to Haiti with an amazing team of people, our first obstacle came up. Obstacles are like speed bumps, they are kind of annoying but you only lose a little speed before you get back up and keep rolling!
I think these speed bumps are important in the planning and preparation for a mission trip. It teaches us many things of which tow are flexibility and reliance on God.

One of the moms going on our trip certainly does not have the money to go on this trip on her own. That is awesome, that means she has to rely on Him as we all do! She texted me today to tell me she could not afford to pick up the meds she needed to get tomorrow for the needles she needs in order to go. The total cost was $94.00. She was discouraged and felt she might not be able to go.

She said what can I do? My answer was let's pray. We did and I told her that there will be many times during our prep and time on the field where we will need to pray and see God's hand of provision, protection, direction, wisdom along with the prayers we will offer up for those we serve.

When I returned home tonight I received a message from a friend , She indicated that they had received an unexpected cheque in the mail for $85 and her husband received an unexpected gift of $15 today and they wanted to give towards the mission trip and specifically for the need I mentioned above. What they didn't know was the amount the lady needed. That is the hand of God!

When we step out in faith to do something that God desires for us, we need to remember that obstacles are just another opportunity for God to show His love for us. Is it always easy? No! Is it incredible to be able to share the big and small things with God? Always YES!

Monday, January 28, 2013


I knew when I started out this year, that 2013 would be the year when my feet would be on the soil of new territory. As I pray and seek God it is becoming more and more of a reality. Today marked the beginning of this becoming very real.

It looked unlikely even as late as Friday that we would have enough people to go to Haiti, but the Lord raised up seven people over the weekend that are willing to serve the orphaned children of this impoverished nation. I am so thrilled.
We will be flying into Port au Prince in early March to begin an exciting week there. I not only desire to minister there but also to learn how we as a ministry can best serve the orphaned children of the world. I want to also understand what is being done to take care of those precious children that will age out of the orphanages. We will have opportunities to minister in three different orphanages with the number of children in each ranging from 13 in one to 130 in another.
One of the things that really stood out to me, is the need to be covered in prayer as we go. This may seem like an obvious thing but the truth is we need to serve with the heart of God, be protected by the hand of God and love with the sacrificial love that Jesus showed us during His earthly ministry to the least of these.
I would ask that you would join our prayer team as we prepare to go and as we serve the nation that needs to be changed by the power of His love!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Whats my role?

One of the things all of us have to consider as we get older is, what will we do in life? In North America we tend to have many options. In some countries that is not the case. For instance in a country like Zimbabwe there is a 97% unemployment rate. So options would not seem to be varied.

I don't want to really talk so much today about the roles (jobs) we will have in life, but the question I want to ask each one who reads this is: What role are you going to play in the global orphan crisis? The reality is, we all have a role to play, yes all of us! If we are Christians I can tell you for certain that we must play a role in making an impact in the lives of orphaned children. Why because God's heart is for the orphaned child and we as Christians (Christ followers) need to have the Father's heart.

Here are some options for the role you will play:

  • Adopt
  • Foster
  • Open an orphanage
  • Work at an orphanage
  • Bringing visibility to the crisis
  • Raising funds to support an orphanage
  • Providing for the needs of orphanages, clothes and food etc...
  • Sponsoring an orphaned child or orphanage 
  • Sponsoring missionaries who work at orphanages
  • Pray for two or three specific orphaned children
  • Go on a short term mission trip and volunteer at an orphanage
  • Fight human trafficking of children
  • Raise money for a family that is trying to adopt an orphaned child
These are just a few and this list can be so much longer. I would love to hear what you would add to this list Also begin to pray and ask God what he may have you do. Remember you and I are responsible to make a difference!!! 
You have a role to play!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How can we help?

One of the biggest challenges we face in the world is when a problem seems too big. When people think something is way too big to make a difference they often do nothing. Nothing changes nothing! Even worse it can breed apathy.
I am convinced that we as individuals and as churches have a role to play in the global orphan crisis. I read this article and it is a powerful way for both the church and you and I to make a significant impact for orphaned children.
We too can make a difference one child at a time. I can tell you the the five children in this story it changed their lives.
Read more »

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Broke my heart

I started the day off today with a friend that had been away on a mission trip to Asia recently. I loved looking at his pictures and loved the joy and excitement he exuded as he told stories. I was thrilled to see what was happening in the lives of new believers who had been introduced to God.

As we continued to go through his pictures, I came across the picture of a little girl. I inquired about who she was,  her name was Anna. Anna was 10 years old and is living in an orphanage. She had been brought to the orphanage when she was eight. She had been rescued from a brothel where she had been sexually abused/trafficked for some time and was addicted to cocaine. It broke my heart!

I looked at this picture over and over and tried to imagine what a horrible life this precious child had for the first eight years of her young life. It had to be filled with rejection, hurt, pain and abuse for years. This should not be tolerated in society. If we have a heart at all for people, things like this should disgust us and call us to action.

I also looked ahead another eight years and my thought of where Anna might be scared me. To think that this amazing little girl could be put back into a world that took advantage of her hurts my spirit. I have already started to pray for Anna that God would protect her and be her defender.

Ps 68:5 says "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling, God sets the lonely in families."

I am compelled more than ever to be a part of the healing process for the precious "ANNA's in this world" I pray that you will help us do that.

Monday, January 21, 2013


All over the globe there are orphanages and where there are orphanages their are orphans. It is easy to say that word and think of a group of people, but each orphan represents an individual. An individual that has been uniquely created by God. A person that deserve every chance to have a life and the love of the parents that created them.
For those children who have no choice but to grow up in an orphanage, there is a day in the future that could be good or bad. It can be good if there is a plan in place for them to move out and get established, if they have been prepared for the world they are about to enter.
For some this is a day they have dreaded for years. When these precious children become teens and then become 18 or 19 depending on their country, they will need to leave the safety (hopefully it has been a safe place) of their "home" and enter the world. Unfortunately the world they are about to enter can be a horrible place.
There are a number of reasons this can be horrible which include: no job, no where to live, not knowing anyone and leaving all your friends behind as you leave, the risk of resorting to crime in order to survive, depression and maybe the worst of all human trafficking.
In many countries when a teen leaves the orphanage they are picked up within 24 hours and  given a promise of work, only to be taken by cruel people who have another agenda. It is sickening.
Please begin to pray or remember today for the safety of children leaving the orphanages of the world. There are 153 million orphans around the globe and that is a lot of at risk people. Tomorrow I am going to share my heart for what can be done to help.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What does an orphan feel?

I had a conversation recently with a little guy who is nine years old. In our chat he shared with me how he felt after having both his mom and dad walk out of his life. He was very expressive. His words were:
           "I am so mad. I am mad because my dad and mom don't ever talk to me, they never check                                                               to see how I am doing, they never think of me and they don't care about me."

This is one emotion that could be expressed by an orphaned child. Other emotions might be despair, fear, hatred, sadness and pain just to name a few. That is not to say that there are not moments of joy that can come during the day or times when they are truly thankful.

I think it is so important that we understand the heart and the hurt of the orphaned child/teen. It is equally important to understand the heart of God towards the orphaned children of the world.
 Psalm 68:5  God in His holy house is a father to those who have no father

The heart of God is to protect and defend the fatherless. If we want to make a difference in the lives of these children, we must also be their protector and defend their cause.

Lord give me and others your heart for the children in need of love and acceptance and care.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hearing from you

I know many of my friends have traveled around the globe and have visited orphanages and spent time with orphaned kids. I would love to hear of your experience too!
Back in 1998 I had my first real experience with orphaned children. We were in a small community just outside of Uzhgorod Ukraine and one of our outreaches during our short term mission trip was to go to the orphanage. I remember that feeling of hopelessness for these kids.As the children came to greet us I noticed how shy they were (which I understood), but I was taken back by the close shaven haircuts of the boys and girls. They also had patches of green on their bodies which were there to prevent infection.
As the children took us on a tour of their "home", I could tell that these kids were excited to show us around. They were proud of what they had, I was shocked by what they didn't have. They lacked toys and clothing and bedding. I am not complaining as I understood they were at least in a better place than the otherwise might have been.
We spent quite some time with these precious children and then it was time to leave. As we left the children came to us and sat down beside us, or on our laps and looked into our eyes and said, "will you be my father?" and to my wife Ruth they said "will you be my mother?" Our hearts were ripped out as we had to say we couldn't do that.
My last memory of that day was the children that tried to sneak on our bus to drive away from the orphanage. It was heart wrenching to send these kids off the bus and send them back to their "home", as we departed to our safe, well fed, comfortable world.
This was a seed that was planted in my heart and the beginning of what God has been preparing in my heart for 15 years.
I want to hear your experiences, please write it here and tell us.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Global Orphan Crisis

So excited to be able to begin a journey with friends tomorrow as we study and learn and then move into making a difference in the lives of orphaned and emancipated children around the globe.
As I met with a friend earlier this week he shared his heart for the children of Haiti. He specifically shared the need of 16 year old kids in the orphanage that are about to age out in a couple of years and where will they go when this happens.
It is so important to provide homes for the orphaned children and in addition to that we need to consider how do we transition some of these children in to the harsh realities of the country around them.

Lord help us to learn and apply and make a difference.