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This is why we do what we do!
Spring greetings. Grace and peace to you all.
This past Sunday Christians around the world moved into Holy Week with the observance of Palm / Passion Sunday. Tomorrow Holy Week will continue with Maundy Thursday Services, followed by Good Friday and then onto Easter this Sunday.
Tonight Jews will celebrate Passover. This holiday spans 8 nights of celebrating how God led the Jewish people out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and towards the Holy Land.
On April 23 Muslims will enter the holy month of Ramadan where they will fast during the days and celebrate after sunset each day with family and friends.
Most of these activities will be done electronically, remotely and virtually. We are practicing physical distancing so that we might mitigate the spread of this disease and save lives.
A friend suggested that, years from now, we will call this The Great Pause. I think there is some truth in that. The Great Pause.
What are you doing during The Great Pause? What will you tell your children and grandchildren about this unique time in human history? What are you doing today that will make tomorrow a better day?
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to care for the least, the lost and the last. To care for orphans (and widows, and foreigners) in their need. To create a world of peace and justice for all of God's people.
At the Foundation 4 Orphans we are continuing during this time to reach out to our children now living in F4O Houses For Children. We are also moving forward with the construction of a new House For Children in Lichinga, Mozambique, and our fundraising needs of $25,000 to complete this project while simultaneously seeking one thousand donors who will contribute $1,000 each to provide us with a $1 million endowment fund.
The COVID-19 Crisis will, in time, pass. The Great Pause will end. The question remains: What are you doing during The Great Pause?
Dear friends of F4O-
March Greetings. Happy St. Patrick's Day. Grace and peace to you.
I am writing to you during one of the most difficult times of our lives. We are learning how to live with social distancing. Schools, universities, places of worship, restaurants and businesses are closing at unprecedented rates. Many are worried about having enough toilet paper! The stock market is falling dramatically and it seems almost certainly that we are moving into a recession. Wow!
I learned years ago that when those with resources suffer a metaphoric "cold," the poor experience the "flu." During the Great Recession of 2008 millions of persons living on the margins of life fell off the page. Recessions hit the poor harder than they hit the rich.
This is true nationally and around the world. Although there are very few cases of COVID-19 in Africa and other nations in the developing Global South, they will be most affected if outbreaks occur there and they will be most impacted by a global recession.
We are suffering. They will suffer more. These are the facts.
The Foundation 4 Orphans lifts communities through service to orphans and vulnerable children. We do so in good and bad economic times. We change the lives of children one at a time and provide them with educational, emotional, physical and spiritual support. We deliver long-term, sustainable changes that will have profound impact on these children, their nations and the world.
We still have pressing needs. We need $30,000 to finish construction costs for our new House For Children in Lichinga, Mozambique. We are seeking 1,000 donors for our K4O program who will donate $1,000 each for a grand total of $1 million that will be invested in an endowment fund. We are looking to expand into other regions of Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania and beyond. We have pressing needs.
I thank you for your ongoing support in good and bad times. Let us not fear to help those in need during difficult times for, as Mother Teresa wrote, "give until it hurts. Then give more until it feels right." We know that when we help others, our own path is illuminated.
On Friday night, November 8th, Foundation 4 Orphans or F4O held its annual fundraiser at the Lounsbury House. For those of you new to Jesse Lee (welcome!), this is the group we partnered with to build an orphanage for 48 children in Dondo, Mozambique. Many thanks to all who came out to this event, especially our youth choir, whose songs and whose playing in the background added to such a wonderful moving of the Spirit that night.
Globally, 16,500 children die each day from the consequences of extreme poverty. That’s a number of children dying each day equal to two-thirds of the population of Ridgefield. While the 48 children at the Dondo orphanage are such a small number compared to such a large statistic as that, what we’ve done as a church community is infinitely greater than no assistance at all. We have saved lives.
Starting this year, F4O has created a Builder of the Year Award to be given to a person or organization that has done the most to work with F4O to advance the cause of helping Orphans and Vulnerable Children. And in its inaugural year, the award went to you, dear readers. It went to Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. Congratulations!
Right now the award is in the narthex. Thanks to everyone who made the Dondo Orphanage possible. That means you, too! Spirit-led sacrificial giving by families in our church made Dondo happen, and it was accompanied by a donation through the Jesse Lee Outreach Commission, uniting us all as one church community towards this project.
This Christmas, please keep the growth and flourishing of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in your minds. We have vulnerable children right in Danbury who will be receiving our shoeboxes from Shoebox Sunday shortly after you read this. It’s likely not too late if you still want to financially donate for making sure there is something under the tree for a child at risk. Check the church website for details. And Merry Christmas from Jesse Lee Outreach!
Submitted by: Outreach Commission
…. building an orphanage in Mozambique one brick at a time for 48 children
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
They say patience is a virtue. I don't think of myself as a patient person, but working in Mozambique requires patience. Those of you who have been supporting, praying, funding and working towards the completion of the Dondo Orphanage have also had your patience tried over and over again. If the delays in construction for this project have increased our patience, we are far more virtuous people today than when this project started just over 2 years ago!
The primary factor in the delay in completion of the orphanage was the death of the engineer on this project 18 months ago. Prior to that, work was moving ahead on schedule. Following his death, the project stalled and the church leaders did not find a new contractor to complete the work until Rob Mayette and I visited last October. We believe our presence and pressure helped secure the workers to complete enough work for the first group of 23 children to move in. More work is in the future for the second dorm and permanent dining hall.
The Dondo Orphanage will eventually host 48 children in two dorms (a boys and girls dorm) that is located just a short walk from primary and secondary schools. A health clinic is a short walk in the other direction. A United Methodist Church is about two miles away via the roads or 1.5 miles via a winding path skirting private properties and fields. The orphanage is located on a large piece of land where crops will soon be sown and thereafter reaped.
I thank each of you for your support for this and future projects . Together we can help parent these orphaned and vulnerable children by providing them housing, access to schools, health care, food and a loving environment.
On tap next is an orphanage in Lichinga, Mozambique. The United Methodist Church there has two contractors who are members of the church and want to lead this project. For this reason, we believe construction at Lichinga will be much quicker than at Dondo. This is an other location that Rob and I visited last October.
After that, our intention is to build an orphanage in Nampa, Mozambique, and another in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Looking even further down the road, Bishop Joaquina Nhanala has identified 7 other locations within her Episcopal territory in need or orphanages. The need is great - but so is our grace, peace, mercy and love. With determination (and patience), we can get this accomplished!
In peace-Wayne Lavender
Thank you for your generosity.
Rev. Dr. Wayne Lavender, who grew up in Jesse Lee Church, is CEO of F4O, Foundation for Orphans. His organization is overseeing this project.
If you are interested in helping, donations may be left in the offering plate any Sunday.(*Make checks payable to Jesse Lee Church, “Dondo project” written on the memo line.)
We can’t save them all, but we start by helping 48 at a time!