As I mentioned previously, Chance and I chose Africa as the destination of our one final getaway before becoming parents, not because of the beautiful beaches - although they do have those, and not because of the entertaining nightlife - although Africans don't mind staying up late (the Newinghams do), we went to Africa because of a call that Chance felt to help. God bless that boy. Before this whirlwind trip, I was wishing he'd felt the call in downtown Springfield or, heaven forbid, some place as far away as Indiana, but that's not how this works. Chance and I obviously have a heart for orphans (cue the thirty thousand posts about little N.) and God has a grand plan in bringing people together - even when they live worlds apart.
While in Africa, C and I spent some time with the children in Frank's orphanage. We also met another couple boys who have no parents, and have absolutely no place to go. One of them was close to N.'s age. When we gave him a soccer ball (football) we had purchased, his smile looked JUST like N.'s. I don't care who you are, you can't turn your back on a smile like that.
So, enter crazy-but-God-honoring-and-soon-to-be-God-blessed ideas.
We, the Newighams, are now the international heads of Children Redemption Orphanage in *Waterloo, Africa.
As you might guess, a giant raise did not come with this job title. Actually, all we got was an expensive round-trip ticket bill and some paperwork about nine of the ten children in the orphanage. (Don't ask... No clue where the other kid's paper is.)
Chance and I are going to begin raising funds for the children of the orphanage in Waterloo.
Prepare to hate us as we beg you for money. You can hate all you want, actually, but after seeing the conditions in which they live, I'm prepared to beg, and beg, and beg some more.
We conducted interviews with the children while we were in-country (that is a missionary-term if I ever heard one, sorry...). Soon, we will showcase each of the children and attempt to find U.S. monthly donors for these sweet, sweet boys and girls. For just dollars per month, these children can be fed, clothed, and sent to school. The money we are raising isn't going to be used to build them an in-ground pool or anything; it's going to be used for the basic necessities.
I can't wait to share the pictures and interviews of the children with all of you. They are adorable, intelligent, and Christ-followers.
Ask your children or your friends' children what is their absolute favorite thing to do, and I bet none (or at least very few) of them respond with "pray." Believe it or not, that was a popular response during our interviews. These children rely on God in a way that my faith has never, ever been tried. They don't have possessions or insurance plans to give them security - all they have is Christ.
So, please begin praying now (again, I "ain't too proud to beg"). Ask for God's leading in this situation. Does He want you to give a one-time gift to the orphanage to help them in the purchase of another motorbike (which over the course of a year will provide $1,000 in income) or is He breaking your heart for one very specific child in the orphanage - maybe she shares your birthdate. Maybe his eyes speak to you.
Again, I'm boldly begging you to consider helping God's children. May you pray for them with your family tonight as you go to sleep. May you ask God for a cool breeze to flow through Waterloo as the children sleep in concrete buildings with no fans. As you eat dinner, ask God's blessing on the children's rice and cassava (potato-type plant) meal. Pray that God would help it to grow to feed the ten in the way He fed the 5,000.
There will be much more information in the days and weeks to come, but for now, pray for the softening of your hearts, and the hearts of those around you.
(This was part four of a series on our trip to Africa.)