Posts Tagged ‘OLA Orphanage’

A Little Help, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

September 10, 2010

I have to say that yesterday was a big highlight for me, ministry-wise. I just experienced story after story of good things happening in OLA, one of the children’s homes that Back2Back Nigeria partners with. Let me share a few moments with you:

1) The picture below is of Big Mama.

Big Mama

She is one of the caregivers here at OLA. The girl to her left used to live in OLA. Both of her parents have passed away and her grandfather came and picked her up awhile ago. Well, as they were “checking in” on how some of the kids were doing that have been placed back in homes, they learned that she was being mistreated. Big Mama took her in as part of her family. What a kind and generous heart.
2) By now you might recognize little Kenny. BUT, do you recognize his new walker?

Kenny with his new walker

Fellow Back2Back Nigeria Staff member, Emilee Munafo, was there yesterday helping the kids all get ready when she rushed in the living room where I was and pulled me into the baby room. She said, “Oh my gosh, you have got to see Kenny!” And sure enough he met me at the door scooting, ever so professionally and big boy like, towards the hallway. I could have cried. He is getting so big and what a blessing for him to have a little help! My heart swelled as he handled the walker with grace and pride.
3) Yesterday was Abigail’s birthday, which is why we went to OLA in the first place. My mom picked out a beautiful pink scarf for Abigail as a gift from all of us and she looked stunning in it. Her party was so encouraging as friends of hers came to celebrate her life. A life full of hardship, but friendship also as evidenced by the people that came that day to recognize the gift she is to us and the kids in this home. She has grown up here, but takes responsibility for each one of these babies. She has had to receive help her entire life, but she doesn’t let that discourage her. For her, give and take is a part of life, a little help here, a little help there. She gives just as much as she receives. No pride, just relationship!

Abigail wearing her new scarf

These last photos are of big Mary as she walks full time now, and Hope who starts school in two weeks. She is excited, but nervous as well.

Mary (center) with my children

Hope

Each one of us needs a little help now and then, don’t we?  Yesterday, the little girl who lives with Big Mama, Kenny and Abigail showed me that a little help can be perceived as a weakness or it can be received with joy as a gift from God, one not to be missed out on, ever! May your day be blessed with a little help from others!

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Reflections on My Experience as Back2Back Nigeria STINT Staff, by Eileen Hamilton

August 13, 2010

Recently, we Back2Back Nigeria staff had an outing with the children from Our Ladies of Apostles (OLA) orphanage. We had originally planned to have a swimming party, but we woke up Saturday to a cool, overcast day so we changed our plan quickly. We picked up the kids, packed lunches, and went to the Viewing Center (OCC – Oasis Community Center) where we showed some cartoons (which the kids loved), ate lunch and then for the fun part – we let them explore.  I loved having Daniel sitting close by my side as we watched cartoons together.

Spending time with Daniel

We brought water squirt guns and gave them to the kids and just let them run around and be children.

And, of course, they all climbed the rocks.

I stayed behind. I could barely watch as the children, in their flip flops, climbed those high rocks enjoying every minute of this new adventure for them.  At the children’s home, they are in a confined area (the hospital/home compound) so to see them running and jumping and just playing hard was a well-spent afternoon.

Back2Back Nigeria staff with the children from OLA Orphanage

I include these pictures of the “rocks” because there is something so beautiful about them. The rocks below are some of my favorite.  Just look at them for a minute. Don’t they look like a big puzzle with all the pieces fitting in perfectly? God’s Word says that “the rocks will cry out” declaring the glory of God .  It really is true – I see God’s beauty in the rocks!

Abigail (pictured below)  is the nicest woman.

Abigail

She is forty years old and has been at the children’s home since she was ten years old. The children love her and she has the sweetest disposition. She and I stayed behind behind while the kids were rock climbing and I noticed that she watched all the children very carefully the whole time. At the end of our time together at OCC, we all sat upon one of the smaller rocks and had our picture taken. Young and old alike – smiles everywhere.  It was a good day for all!

Inspired, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

August 4, 2010

Have you ever caught a vision of something? Something bigger than yourself? Maybe you even got a panicked feeling and at the same time a moment of exhilaration? Last week, I experienced all of those emotions after Esther (a girl from OLA, an orphanage we serve) graduated from secondary school.

Esther with her classmates (Ester is in red and black in the center)

I was full of emotion not just for Esther, but for the other children, Hope, Daniel and Joe, who were there watching Esther’s graduation ceremony.

I was so excited for her and for them to be able to see the fruit of what hard work and diligence and perseverance can produce. At the same time I became a bit panicky, as I thought about the statistics stacked against them: being poor and fatherless, being behind in their schooling due to lack of supervision with their studies, the struggling Nigerian education system.

Esther's classroom, as many in Nigeria, lacks basic supplies

I was quickly reminded that for more success stories to take place, God will have to step in and intervene for them through funding, mentoring, and tutoring. I also realized that me alone, or even Back2Back alone could not tackle this gigantic task. It is for the body.  A body of believers who are committed to the orphan child. Believers who are willing to lay down their life for someone else. People who are interested in considering others better than themselves and worthy of all that can be offered.

Sitting through the ceremony yesterday I felt choked up because these Nigerians truly celebrated the moving forward of each individual and child. They are proud of where they are coming from and even more proud of where they could be headed and where God might lead them.

Esther can make a difference, not just because she is educated.  Even more, her education will give her a platform to be able to reach more people and she will be able to use her God given mind to discern what is God’s perfect and pleasing will for her.

Daniel, Joe and Hope saw Esther celebrate a new season and stage of life. A new beginning and my prayer is that as we were all sitting there, they were becoming inspired to take another step forward, no matter how daunting the task is for them. We are all a part of the body, the body of Christ that can together raise another generation of believers who are willing to move forward.

Esther during the graduation ceremony (second from left)

Esther with those of us who came to watch her graduation

Seventh Grade Girls to the Rescue, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

May 7, 2010

I have been praying to the Lord as to how ministry will be accomplished this summer since Back2Back made the decision to postpone summer internships/short-term groups.  How will His promises be fulfilled without the hands and feet of His body?  How will we as Back2Back Nigeria staff be able to meet all the needs of the Fatherless around us?  Well, I want you to meet the seventh grade girls discipleship group at Hillcrest school.  There are about fourteen of them who have chosen to use their Tuesday afternoons to help us care for the orphans that Back2Back Nigeria serves!

They are full of spunk, energy, excitement and desire!  Their leader is a good friend of mine and she asked if she could take her bible study to Our Ladies of Apostles (OLA) orphanage one Tuesday afternoon.  She went on to further explain that she was having some trouble with them: they were bickering between themselves and not interested in things of God.  If there is one thing I have learned being on the mission field is that the moment you take your eyes off of yourselves and pour out, your own vision starts to become a bit more focused and that is when God starts to take over.  Which is of course the answer to my own questions above.

By the end of the day, the children were loved on, protected, held up and played with, and there seemed to be a spirit of hope that filled the room.  A hope for these orphans as each and every one of them, no matter how challenging they might have been physically or emotionally were picked up and loved on.  A hope also for these seventh grade girls who were laughing, finding refuge in each other and asking when they could come again.  And there was a hope in my own heart as well as I realized that God in His providence is answering my prayer by bringing an unlikely group of girls here to serve and that He will fulfill His promises in His own way. I need not fix my eyes on me, but I need to fix my eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith who just wants me to see Him at work.  I guess it is what I said about the seventh grade girls, the moment I stop taking my eyes off of myself and pour out is the moment God starts to take over and work out my vision.