Two weeks ago, Orphan Relief and Rescue hosted Aileen Kawasaki and her sister Betsy Trainor. The two ladies spent a week teaching at Frances Gaskin in the mornings and hosting a teacher training workshop in the afternoons. Here is what they had to say about their time here:
Currently I am in Benin, checking on our kids in the orphanage/safe home that Orphan Relief and Rescue co-founded. 56 of the 59 kids we have here do not have a father or mother alive, making them true orphans. Many were used as domestic slaves until they were rescued. Some have seen their parents murdered in front of them, and others have been brought to us after being freed from horrors such as arranged pre-teen marriages.
Sylvester is a little boy we first told you about last November. He had been abandoned by everyone who knew him and rescued from the garbage piles by an orphanage director that found him wandering around the community. No one knew his story. He was small, under-developed, non-verbal, and not potty trained. Even worse, he started having seizures. At the orphanage he improved somewhat—at least he was getting routine food and care, but it became obvious that his special needs required more.
“The best things in life aren’t things.” I read that quote one day a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. The more I think about it, the more I realize how true it really is. When I think about the most memorable moments of my life, I remember the experience and how it made me feel. Those are the memories I hang on to.
Every once in a while, we get the opportunity to share the story of a young person who is doing very well. Today is Emmanuel’s day. We are extremely proud of this young man. At the age of 15, he is one of the oldest boys at the orphanage where he lives. With this comes a bigger responsibility to not only help around the house, but also to be an example for the younger children in the home. Emmanuel consistently rises to these expectations.
Orphan Relief and Rescue currently has more than a hundred and twenty children in both Liberia and Benin, West Africa, on our Child Sponsorship Program. The kids are matched up with a sponsor who generously gives $35 a month. This money ensures that the child has daily food, consistent healthcare, an education and a variety of after-school mentoring and discipleship programs.
Our field team in Liberia has grown this month by the addition of two interns from Youth With a Mission’s School of Social Justice. Carissa and Leigh Anne will be working with our Child Development Program until June. We’ve already been blessed by the enthusiasm and love they have brought with them to serve the orphans in Liberia. In today’s blog they’ll be sharing some of their thoughts as they start working with and getting to know the kids in the orphanages.
What are you passionate about? What makes you come alive; what is that something that gives you a sense of purpose?
Ever since I can remember, one of my passions has been painting homes. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I opened up a painting business in the early 1990s that helped to provide for our family financially.