BELONG :: Resources

575466_10151463461398763_38007252_nBELONG :: Next Step Resources

Kids Belong Event:

Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

Century Club Ballroom
356 West Western Ave
Downtown Muskegon

Learn more: www.kidsbelong.com/event

 

Kids Waiting For A Forever Family:

Visit Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange: http://www.mare.org

See pictures of kids in need of a home right here in Michigan.

 

Organizations To Answer Questions And Help You Take Next Steps:

Learn more about Foster Care and Adoption:

Department of Human Services: www.michigan.gov/dhs

Bethany Christian Services: http://www.bethany.org/

Catholic Charities: West Michigan: http://ccwestmi.org/foster-care-adoption

 

Additional Ways To Be Involved:

Provide a short term loving environment for a child whose family is experiencing a pressing difficulty:  Safe Families: http://www.bethany.org/main/safe-families-children

 

Prayer guides to pray for orphans here and around the world:

http://kaywarren.com/wp-content/uploads/Orphan-Care-Prayer-Guide.pdf

http://www.cryoftheorphan.org/User/Document/Fosterprayerguide.pdf

 

Pray and ask God what He is calling you to do.

 

Adopt a foster or adoptive family. Decide to be an encourager, supporter, and helper to a family that has answered the call to adopt or foster. Pray for them and give them courage.

 

Open your home to a refugee: http://www.bethany.org/grandrapids/refugee-foster-care

 

Assist with the work our partners do in South Africa and Haiti with orphans and vulnerable people. You can go on a trip, support those going, or give financially to help support our partners. You can do this by writing South Africa or Haiti on the giving envelope.

 

Get educated about the needs around us and around the world:

Some Books:

Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting” by Johnny Carr.

Fields of the Fatherless: Discover the Joy of Compassionate Living” by Tom Davis

“Me, America.”

Kids on Mount Entoto

While in Ethiopia we traveled to Mount Entoto.  This historical site is covered with Eucalyptus trees (thanks to Menelik II & Australia) and provides a beautiful view of the city of Addis Ababa.  There is an Orthodox church on the top of the mountain that people, seeking healing, travel to.

As we walked around, taking in the sites and history, a small group of kids came over asking for money.  (Begging is very common in Ethiopia and we were encouraged to not give money to beggers, which is VERY hard NOT to do.) I began to chat with the kids in my broken Amharic.  I asked them what their names were and how old they were.  I asked about their parents and most had lost one parent.  I told them I was sorry.  We were smiling at each other and a little boy said, “Me, America.” I understood what he meant immediately from his choice of words and body language.  He said it again, “Me. America.”  In his limited English he was gesturing to me and asking to be taken to America.

I kindly replied, “Sorry, no.  Ethiopia.”

What does the future hold for this young boy and his friends trying to make ends meet by begging on the mountain?

“God, today, give hope to that boy.  Provide for his family and bless them.  Help him to know he is loved.  Amen.”

So much need.  God help.

 

Sponsorship does help!

While I was in Ethiopia we stopped in to see our friends at Yezelalem Minch.  This is an outstanding, Ethiopian led, ministry to assist orphans and widows.  Bethany Christian Services does sponsorship through them.  My wife and I started sponsoring a girl named Meron while we were in Ethiopia to adopt Misgana.

When I entered Yezelalem Minch I was walking up the stairs of their compound and I noticed Meron.  She looked so much older, but I recognized her immediately because her photo is on our fridge.  I yelled, “Meron!”  She had a beaming smile and came over to me.  I gave her a little hug and I told her she was “Konjo” (beautiful) and then we chatted a bit and I gave her some little gifts from our family.

Her father, Furgasa, was also there to meet me.  Meron’s mom passed away years earlier and he has been trying to keep the family together and moving forward.  He said through a translator, “Thank you for sponsoring Meron.  I could not do it without your help.” I said, “It is an honor to be your partner.”

$30 a month makes all the difference for Meron and her family.

Sponsorship does work.  I’ve seen it give hope and help kids break out of the poverty cycle in South Africa as our church sponsors kids to go to school and university.  I’ve seen it first hand in Ethiopia where hundreds of kids are able to have an education, medical assistance, as well as food and family support.

$30/month can change a life.  I spend more at Starbucks in a month!  🙂

Interested?

 

Ethiopia bound

I have the opportunity to return to Ethiopia next month with Bethany Christian Services.  I’m going to explore ways Watermark can partner with an Ethiopian church to begin a foster care program for orphans.  I’ll also be looking into other ways we can serve widows and orphans in this remarkable, but poverty stricken area.

My wife, Vicki, and I sponsor a child through an amazing ministry named, “Yezelalem Minch.”  Their name means, “Everlasting Spring.”  This tremendous ministry has a wide range of social services and the best part is that they are Ethiopian started and led.

Above is a picture of me with Meron, the girl we sponsor.  I look forward to connecting with her again when I travel.  I’ve seen first hand the impact sponsorship makes for a girl like Meron.  For only $30 a month she receives food, medical and educational support.  If you are interested in helping a child through sponsorship you can do this through Bethany’s website.

Thanks!