Welcome to our new Daring Daughters blog!
Over the years, we’ve featured numerous posts along this theme, but now we’re specifically going to focus some regular articles for teenage girls, to encourage interaction and a heart for missions. Today’s post features a heart-moving orphan essay Christi wrote several years ago, about the needs of one precious abused girl, named Jennifer. This essay was only the beginning of God stirring His compassion in Christi’s heart; it eventually led to the founding of Harvest Ministry’s orphan outreach . . .
For more about the vision for Daring Daughters — including the new facebook page, twitter page, upcoming events, and blogtalk radio show, see our VISION page . . .
Rescuing one of God’s girls . . . in Uganda
A true story of one precious orphan girl from Harvest Ministry’s Guma Na Yesu Children’s Center, in Uganda, East Africa. –By Christi Dunagan (originally written at age 15)
Eight-year-old Jennifer huddled in the dark corner of her grandmother’s hut. Once again, she was locked in this repulsive room with no food, and no hope . . .
Sometimes Jennifer was left alone for days while her grandmother wasted what little money they had. Most likely, the old woman would return home — drunk — and beat the girl until she could barely stand.
Jennifer knew nothing of happiness.
When she was very young, her parents were victims of Uganda’s number one killer: AIDS; and now, she was yet another victim: of poverty, hunger, and abuse.
Hearing footsteps outside her door, Jennifer looked up. Maybe she would finally be released from this small damp prison she was forced to call home . . . but no.
Here’s a picture of this rescued orphan girl, Jennifer, today (now six years after Christi wrote the article). This precious young woman is still living with our dear friends, Naboth & Alice, and she continues to be a vital testimony about God’s hand on these beautiful orphan children. The most recent report is so beautiful. Our friend Naboth wrote:
Jennifer is now in primary four. She sleeps and “feeds” at Pastor Naboth & Alice’s home, and she is very bright and hard working. She “leads praising” in Sunday school. Her hope and happiness is restored, as God has healed her wounds.
Join the conversation . . .
Okay Daring Daughters . . . let’s hear your thoughts.
What “struck” you about Jennifer’s story? Did anything in particular hit your heart? And have any of you girls ever had a heart for orphans, or for Africa? . . .
The need and the vision . . .
In Southern Uganda – our dear longtime friends, Naboth and Alice, have been helping over 700 needy orphan children. This African couple haven’t had much to work with, but they’ve been doing everything possible to extend the love of Jesus. Because of this need, and our long-time ministry relationship with Naboth and Alice, Harvest Ministry has decided to focus orphan efforts towards these precious kids at GUMA NA YESU Children’s Center.
A few Guma Na Yesu children:
DID YOU KNOW?
1 Startling Orphan Statistic:
Every 2.2 seconds, another orphan ages out of an international orphan facility, with no family and no home. Older orphans are vulnerable . . . to abuse, suicide, prostitution, slavery, becoming child soldiers, and immorality (and as a result, they become most vulnerable to AIDS and disease). Yet, as orphans are rescued, saved by Jesus Christ, and brought into God’s Kingdom, the enemy’s plans are thwarted: instead, these older orphans can live happy, productive, lives and help to advance God’s cause and mission purposes.
1 Special Highlight @ GUMA NA YESU Children’s Center:
At Guma, each of the children and teenagers are connected with a caring Christian family and a local church (who they live with during holidays). The children are educated in academics, and they are trained in the Word of God, with daily worship, fervent prayer, and opportunities for ministry (including dance performance, special music, preaching, and prayer for others). Over the years, we have had opportunities to spend time with Jennifer, and she growing into a beautiful young woman with such a heart of service to the Lord. Please do keep her and all the children at Guma in your prayers.
To remember this African word (from the Runyankole language), just think of the word “GUM” . . . and imagine chewing a sweet, delicious, sticky wad of GUM . . . and to keep chewing it for a long, long time. The name of this new orphanage project is Guma Na Yesu (pronounced “Goom-uh nuh Yay-soo”) – which means “Keep with Jesus!”
The long-term vision is to care for hundreds of orphan children through the support network of a strong Christian church and caring Ugandan families.
The vision is to build a Guma Na Yesu Children’s Center – with a free orphan school, basic provisions (of food, clothing, and educational supplies), and a family support base – to enable hundreds of orphans to be adopted into Christian families. Our prayer is for each of these orphan children to “keep” with Jesus for their entire lives! The heart of this orphan project is to train children to be mighty in God’s Word and to experience a life of knowing God personally – so they can fulfill God’s purpose. These children experience the presence of God daily – through prayer, child-led preaching, and through fervent worship and dancing. These children love Jesus, and their heavenly Father loves them.
Who we are . . .
The Lord is just begining to give a new vision for Guma Na Yesu and through His wisdom and direction, He’s showing us how the needs of these children can be met. This orphan ministry is founded and directed by African ministers, Naboth and Alice of Southern Uganda, and now supported and overseen by Jon & Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry. The vision for Guma Na Yesu is for it to be nationally-led by Ugandan ministers, teachers, and church families — under the blessing and direction of JESUS and the authority of God’s Word.
Where we’re located . . .
This African orphan ministry is being built in Mbarara, Uganda. It’s a needy area, with many orphans. Guma Na Yesu Children’s Center is currently under construction – on a hilltop property near one of Naboth’s new church facilities – directly above a Ugandan military base.
Prayer Focus: Please pray with us for God’s abundant provision for the orphan children of Guma Na Yesu Children’s Center. And if you want to help, do let us know. Also, we would really appreciate your prayers for God’s wisdom concerning the future of this orphan project, and what Harvest Ministry’s long-term involvement should be.
These startling orphan statistics are more than mere facts; remember that each number is a precious child . . . a real little kid. Every one is precious in the eyes of God, and He has an extra-special place in His heart for those children who are orphans (see verses here). But whatever you do, don’t let these overwhelming statistics discourage you. Instead, allow God to take these needs . . . and move your heart . . . to do something.
Even something small.
Maybe you could help . . . even one.
It is estimated that between 143,000,000 and 210,000,000 children are orphans. That’s at least 143 MILLION children in the world today. (Recent UNICEF report.)
To give you an idea of the enormity of this need, keep in mind that the approximate population of the US is 300,000,000; and the population of Russia is 141,800,000.)
ORPHANS in Africa:
Every 15 seconds, another child in AFRICA becomes an AIDS orphan. (At the end of every year, 2,102,400 more children will become orphans, in Africa alone.)
Think: “D-I-N-C-S”: There are more orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa than ALL of the children
in Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Canada, and Sweden – combined!
Every day . . .
EVERY DAY, 5,760 more children in the world become orphans.
EVERY 2.2 SECONDS another orphan ages out, with no family and no home.
Older orphans . . .
Older orphans are vulnerable . . . to abuse, suicide, prostitution, slavery, becoming child soldiers, immorality (and as a result, vulnerable to AIDS and disease).
Yet, as orphans are rescued and saved by God, and brought into His Kingdom, the enemy’s plans are thwarted; instead, these older orphans can live happy, productive lives and help to advance God’s cause and mission purposes!
“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and
oppressed. Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.” Ps 82:3-4
More ORPHAN verses:
Ex.22:22-23 NIV, Is.1:17 NASB, Ps.10:17-18 NASB, Hos. 14:3c NASB, Pr. 31:8-9 NKJV
There are so many wonderful ministries helping and loving orphans. At Harvest Ministry, our passion is to not only feed, educate, and provide for the physical needs of these children, but to raise them to LOVE GOD and to glorify Him through their lives!!!
For ideas about how to pray and to help orphans, click here. Listen to a short motivation audio with Ann Dunagan: COMPASSION for ORPHANS
Josh & Anna’s adventures in INDIA . . .
Learn more about Aasha Children’s Home — led by newlyweds Josh & Anna Dunagan. It’s now a new mission called GOSPEL PROJECTS INTERNATIONAL!!! The focus of the ministry is remote village evangelism and orphan care. Come take a look . . . (and keep Josh & Anna in your prayer as they launch out in full-time ministry).
We appreciate all of our friends who help us to care for hundreds of precious children through Harvest Ministry’s orphan outreaches in East Africa and in India.
The Lord has such a heart for orphan children . . . and so do we!
- Learn to do good; Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:17, NASB)
- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27, NIV)
- When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. (Deuteronomy 24:21, NASB)
God’s justice will cover the orphans…
- Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. (Exodus 22:22-23, NIV)
- He executes justice for the or phan and the widow.(Deuteronomy 10:18a, NASB)
- Woe to those who…rob the poor of My people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans. (Isaiah 10:1a-2b, NASB)
- Do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow. (Jeremiah 22:3b, NASB)
- Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against…those who oppress…the widow and the orphan. (Malachi 3:5a, NASB)
The Bible says evil men take advantage of orphans…
- They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. (Job 24:3, NIV)
- They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans. (Psalm 94:6, NASB)
- Others snatch the orphan from the breast, and against the poor they take a pledge. (Job 24:9, NASB)
- Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives. (Jeremiah 49:11a, NIV)
- I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18, NIV)
- You have been the helper of the orphan. (Psalm 10:14b, NASB)
- You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (Psalm 10:17b-18, NASB)
- For in You the orphan finds mercy. (Hosea 14:3c, NASB)
God blesses those who are obedient to care for the needs of orphans…
- When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 24:19, NASB)
For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. (Job 29:11-13, NASB)
These verses were compiled from the facebook group, “A Heart for Orphans.” Photos from Harvest Ministry’s orphan work in Uganda and S.E. India.
KELOLife Television in Aberdeen, South Dakota ran a feature about one of Harvest Ministry’s sponsors, an energetic 10-year-old, named Ethan, who’s been selling lemonade (for three years!!!) to support his orphan friend, Allan, in Uganda. Ethan really takes his sponsorship commitment seriously!
It’s a sweet news clip . . . and a blessing!
Lemonade for an Orphan Friend!
You can view the TV station’s video file right here. And if any of you could take a moment to log in to view the article on the TV station’s website, it would be wonderful to add some positive comments about the feature. Please keep Harvest Ministry and all of our orphan children (currently over 700 kids!) in your thoughts and prayers.
P.S. Ethan was inwardly “moved with compassion” with a specific burden on his heart; he felt that if he didn’t raise that last $4, his orphan friend would “die.” We’re all so inspired by Ethan’s commitment; but be assured that if any of our sponsors are unable to meet their commitment (of $1/day), we’ll simply trust God together for His provision!!! Amen???
Could you imagine putting your child to “bed” each night, on a dirt or cement floor, with no mattress or even a decent warm blanket? For many precious children, orphaned, and/or in poverty, this is daily reality.
At Harvest Ministry’s GUMA NA YESU (“Keep With Jesus”) Children’s Center in Mbarara, Uganda, there was a HUGE need for bedding for all of the children . . . and God abundantly provided with designated mission gifts for 500 new mattresses.
Our prayer and focus for our GUMA NA YESU children is that they will “keep with Jesus” all the days of their lives, and now as they sleep, they will be reminded (in this small way) of God’s GREAT love for them.
GUMA Directors (and NETS Ministers) Naboth & Alice, were absolutely delighted with what they called the “MIRACLE at GUMA.” Now we are believing God for blankets (at $5/each) for all of the children, and possibly sheets and pillows.
(And one little preschool girl in Oregon, named Olivia, has added her own precious prayer, that God will also help to provide “teddy bears” for these kids!!!)
We thank everyone who GAVE and who PRAYED for this need.
May God bless you for your heart for these children.
’cause it’s PURE!
We all know that it’s physically healthy to drink a lot of pure fresh water. And how many glasses-a-day are recommended? Isn’t it about eight? Well, how much of God’s PURE and undefiled religion are we getting into our spiritual system on a regular basis?
Let’s drink more.
Let’s keep it pure.
A note from my journal:
I’m feeling so blessed to know that God is hearing our prayers for all of the 700+ orphan children in our care. It’s so wonderful to know that when God gives us a responsibility — when HE puts a specific need on our hearts to follow Him in obedience — He always provides.
Just a while back (randomly “out of the blue” — on a day when Harvest Ministry had some huge pressing orphanage needs), two people “just so happened” to sneak generous handshakes (with mission checks), both because they said the “Lord told them” to help the orphans in Africa (what a BLESSING!!!). One man drove across town to present us with a special missions gift . . . and he said he had never given an offering like this in his entire life. He was struggling to conquer a “fear of lack” in his own life, yet he felt “compelled” that he was supposed to help these orphans with their needs. And right now, others are also seeking God’s direction regarding what they should do to help.
God is SOOO good. I’m feeling the Lord’s focus for me is simply to not worry and to not fear. He simply wants us to obey . . . with a pure heart.
Hand me another glass.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake, for they shall be filled” (JESUS – from Matthew 5).
Related audio: COMPASSION
Amid twisted hangers, bulging drawers, and way too many clothes, the kids and I began our major closet-cleaning attack. It took days–with sacks for the dumpster and sacks to give away…
We’re Blessed to be a Blessing!
This is one of several devotionals by Ann Dunagan, published in A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers – Daily Inspiration for Christian Moms, edited by James Stuart Bell and Jeanette Gardner Littleton.
“I was naked, and you gave me clothing…” Matthew 25:36
Amid twisted hangers, bulging drawers, and way too many clothes, the kids and I began our major closet-cleaning attack. It took days–with sacks for the dumpster and sacks to give away. Best of all, we finished just in time before I left on a short-term missions trip to Uganda.
Soon I was surrounded by orphans adorned in only rags and ripped-up shirts, and often with bare bottoms. I thought of these precious children and my family’s ridiculous “conquered” closets.
Then I felt the Lord whisper, “I am the One naked on these streets!”
Immediately, I went and bought armloads of children’s clothing, but the situation turned pathetic. Mothers came from everywhere, holding up naked babies and begging for help. The need was beyond me.
Back home, our family raised funds to clothe that whole village, but that was only the beginning. In that year, the Lord put in our heart for Harvest Ministry to establish a new orphan ministry, now reaching hundreds of precious children.
The world’s needs are huge, but they’re not beyond God!
Let’s show our kids that we’re blessed so we can be a blessing to others!
Hardcover – Available from Amazon.com
Completely surrendering to God is more than merely asking Jesus to “come into our heart.” Instead, it’s coming into “HIS LIFE” and allowing the heart and passions of Jesus to flow through us.
VERB: to allow GOD Himself to make an earnest and urgent entreaty through me, perhaps in emotional terms, on behalf of another person or a specific need, and to willingly argue for His justice in support of someone or something, especially for SOULS.
In our hightech world of ipods, itunes, and iphones — in a world that needs God more deperately that ever — comes a new mission word we recently combined.
The word is “iPlead” and this fresh yet timeless theme sums up so much of our heart . . . for reaching SOULS with the Gospel, for helping orphans and people in need, and most importantly, for loving GOD.
Just think of the word “I.” Have you ever wondered, “What difference could “I” ever make?” or “How could “I make an impact for God, when the needs are so huge?
But the exciting point and focus of this new word is that the “I” in “iPlead” doesn’t represent us. The only “I” we should care about is the Great “I AM” . . . not ourselves or our personal lives and selfish ambitions (me, myself, and I).
When God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, He declared, “I am that I am” was sending him. It was God Himself who spoke to Pharoah and to the children of Israel. (Remember the words, “Thus sayeth the LORD…”?) And today, God wants to speak through you, and through us, and through all Christians. To literally “plead” through us for His purposes.
II Cor. 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Prov. 31:8-9 tells us to “plead” the cause of the poor and the needy. And Esther was challenged to “plead” for her people before the king.
Those words “plead” and “implore” are passionate and intense, and how much more-so when I realize that God wants them to refer to pleading for HIS purposes, on HIS behalf.
God is giving me a bigger passion to plead for precious orphan children, and to plead for the lost.
In the world today, there are over 143,000,000 orphans in the world (which is more people than the entire population of Russia, now at 141,800,000), and too many of these precious children are in desperate need. They need the basic necessities of life . . . something for their tummies, somewhere for them to live, and something for their nakedness; yet more importantly, these little ones are “people” who need love . . . specifically to know their Heavenly Father’s love, and to be shown the eternal life God has provided for them through the only way of salvation: JESUS CHRIST.
In the world today, literally billions of people are so lost, and they’re totally oblivious to the forever-punishment they deserve. Because of sin, there’s a guilty charge against them, that’s completely impossible for them to pay . . . without God.
So this is the question I’m asking myself? “Who will plead on their behalf?”
“ipead” is about being God’s ambassador and submitting to His purposes. Following God is more than simply “asking Jesus to come into our lives.” Instead, it’s surrendering into “HIS LIFE” and allowing God’s heart to flow through us.
There’s a lot stirring in my heart along these lines. For now, I’m simply responding to what I believe the Lord (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is asking of me:
He’s asking, “Who will plead for Us?”
And I’m responding, “I will.”
So, here’s a question to consider: What about you? Will you allow God to plead through YOU . . . for the specific assignment that’s from His heart, through yours?
Feel free to share your comments . . .