Our Story

The Story of Energy of Hope Orphanage

God Will Show You How

The acrid smell of human waste and illness rose over the hills as the last rays of the sun’s day touched gently upon the shoulders of the world’s forgotten.

The dust that rose into my eyes rendered a surreal quality to the vision of a sea of thousands of brown little hands reaching into plastic feeding containers, disappearing down in a wave of arms until you could not tell where one child ended and another began.

Stunned and disgusted, I wanted to reach out and stop the dirty little fingers from touching their mouths. I could tell from the ease in which they dipped their hands cradling the gruel, and the manner in which they tipped their heads in order to catch the slime as gravity pulled it towards the underworld, that this seemingly apocalyptic moment was just a part of their daily routine.

How could I help? I asked God, bundling up the question and sending it flying over the chaos of the ground in the direction of the receding sun, taking with it the only light the village had ever known.

Could I even make a difference?

At the time I said the prayer I became aware of a small child that had appeared by my side, whose delicate but strong little hand had already pushed itself into my limp one and a small group of children giggled, bringing me back into the present.

I realized I was staring.

Tearing my eyes away from the multitudes, I looked at the child who had no doubt been contemplating me for some time.

“My name is… Michael.” He said. His eyes focused imploringly on my own as he enunciated each precious word very slowly and carefully to make sure that I understood his message.

Michael?” I asked, bending down to face the owner of the little hand. “How do you do, Michael?”

There was a flash of white teeth in the grin that came over his little face accenting the glow in his eyes. “I am well,” he said, “And you?”

“I am well, Mr. Michael.” There was a brief silence while we both tried to think of something to say. Then, somewhat shyly, it was Michael who came to the conversational rescue.

“…May I ask you a question?” He asked, carefully.

“Of course.” I smiled at his politeness but felt inwardly stressed because if this child was going to ask me how to make this better I didn’t know how to answer him. I watched his face intently, hoping there might be a clue in his question waiting for his question that could illuminate the answer to my prayer.

“Do you… have… a boyfriend?” He nearly whispered the word “boyfriend” such was his anxiety and once he finished pronouncing the last “d” he ducked his head to hide his face as his friends giggled with delight at his shyness.

“A boyfriend? Great,” I thought. “God, here I am, the world is ending in front of me, and I reach my heart out to you and ask what you would have me do to help these little children, and instead of asking me what to do to fix it… an 8 year old boy wants to know if I have a boyfriend. How does that help?”

As I continued to converse with Michael and the other children of the village, I began to look at the area and tried to see not what was, but what should be. I started to build a home for the children in my mind. They would have beds, and clothes, enough food to eat, and they would go to school…

After I returned to the United States, I began to do research. The issues of global poverty, child labor, women’s rights and AIDs had never seemed real to me until I fell in love with the children they were affecting. Although the problems were complex, the cures were simple. For example, the United Nations estimates that over 50% of the children in Zambia are malnourished. We already know the cure for that. You feed them.

Four years after I volunteered in Africa for the first time, I returned to build an orphanage with the mission of protecting orphans and vulnerable children through responsible care and education. Our biggest struggle has never been against AIDS, corruption, disease, political instability, communication, or any of the other reasons that could be perceived as an acceptable excuse for not participating in the helping of God’s people.

Our biggest struggle has always been simply to raise enough funds to continue the growth of our programs. Our expenses are little, but the effect that we have been blessed to have on the children has been worth more than any currency. The children that we have today will be able to make a difference in their communities tomorrow. The eight year olds who are living on the streets of Africa today will be 18 in ten years, that is… if they can survive the obstacles that face a vulnerable child in a third world country. There is great power in showing these children the love of Christ and being his hands and feet and caring for as many of them as we can.

At the time I first visited Africa, I was not very familiar with the bible or its stories. However, there was a day when I heard of Michael described in Daniel 10:21 as “the great prince who stands up for the children of the people.”

I sometimes wonder where my children would be if this little boy Michael had not taken me by the hand on that day, and shown me through his heartfelt interest that I did not have to be anything other than what I already was to make a difference for the children in Africa. I shiver when I think about where the children in our home would be if this little boy did not set the course of the remainder of my life with one brief encounter.

People often ask me, “How did you get into this?” To which, I answer honestly that I don’t know. There is a world of people who are more qualified than me, but I have learned that if you want to make a difference in the lives of these children, God will show you how.