There are hundreds, if not thousands, of charities and ministries that offer support within the war-ravaged, poverty-stricken countries in Africa, but how do you know that your money is going to the proper places? How do you know, when you send sponsorship support each month, that those funds will actually go to the child? Do you completely trust that your financial assistance is not being used to pad the wallets of wealthy charity directors? It is almost impossible to know unless you know and see with your own eyes how the money is helping…or if the people who are operating those ministries are your good friends that you know and trust.
In this blog post, I would like to highlight 3 different organizations that are working very hard to combat poverty, providing schooling and shelter and food, and employing single mothers. They are operated by good friends of my family that we have known for many years. In alphabetical order :-), these ministries are: 1) Feeding The Orphans, 2) Future Hope Ministries and 3) Restoration Of Hope Ministries International.
Sydney O’Leary, at the age of 7, could not ignore the plight of the orphan. She would spend hours looking at photos of orphans in Africa and decided that she was going to do something about it. Her passion was not ignored by her parents, so at the age of 10, Sydney began the grassroots organization Feeding The Orphans in 2010. Since then, the O’Leary family has adopted 4 children from Ghana, making them a family of 9. Feeding The Orphans (FTO) exist to advocate for the fatherless of West Africa in Jesus’ name by providing for their basic earthly needs in order to provide for their spiritual need to know Christ. Orphan care, clean water projects, and family preservation (offering employment training opportunities for single mothers/widows so that they can provide for their own children) are a few of the ways in which FTO can meet the needs of the local Ghanaians. My 16-year-old daughter, Tiffany, visited Ghana with FTO in May/June 2014 and witnessed firsthand the immense impact that FTO has on the orphans, students and single mothers. FTO has an online store in which you can buy t-shirts or handmade items, or you can also make a financial donation securely online. My family has known the O’Leary’s for 4 years and the compassion they have for the least of these is evident in every aspect of their lives.
I was introduced to Future Hope Ministries almost simultaneously in 2 different ways in 2012. We served at a Christian camp in Kentucky for 18 months and while there, we met The White family at church, and then I realized that Laura White was also my children’s pediatrician! Mark and Laura White were comfortably living The American Dream in 2009 when God brought them on a different path, one that would break their hearts for the children of Uganda. They have since adopted 2 children from Uganda and partnered with an existing ministry in Kampala which strives to protect, sustain and equip children in impoverished areas. They want people to know that they aren’t “special” or “chosen” to do what they are doing, they are just trying to be obedient to the needs God placed in front of them. Those needs just happen to be in Uganda. Their most pressing need is always money. It takes cash to pay for food and school. Sponsorships (both child sponsorships and new school fee sponsorships) are crucial for that. In combination it allows them to cover basic care needs for the kids and cover the expenses of the new school. It will also allow them to reach out to community kids who won’t be able to go to school any other way. Their sponsorship program for $20 a month allows them to educate TWO kids, and they will eat twice a day at the school. You can also shop on their online store to help support their ministry. I have enjoyed getting to know the White’s as personal friends, sharing dinners together, our daughters becoming close friends. Even though we are living 4 hours apart now, God has knit our hearts together forever.
Last, but not least, is Restoration of Hope Ministries International in Kenya. Pastor Joseph began this ministry January 18, 2009 to give the street children hope in life by giving them education and skills so that they will become responsible people in life. Pastor Joseph and his family share God’s love with the street boys by helping them to wash and have basic hygiene needs cared for, teaching them God’s word and feeding them. They are praying for a children’s home where the boys can leave the streets for good. They have 58 boys who are still on the streets. Restoration of Hope has many needs, but the two most pressing needs are: (1) Getting a better means of transport to help them move faster when they have an emergency. Two lovely boys were sick on two different nights and because they did not have a more faster means to take them to the hospital, they died while en route. Their normal means of transportation is a bicycle which makes it especially difficult at night. (2) They have a lot of heavy rains and because the boys are sleeping on the streets, they are exposed to this extreme weather. Pastor Joseph is in need of funds to purchase jackets and bedding for the boys both in school and those still on the streets. If you would like to partner with Pastor Joseph in Kenya, I know that the funds will be used in an honest manner.
All three of these ministries would be blessed by your support. They welcome your questions and encourage visits to the areas they minister to so that you can see with your own eyes how your help does make a lasting impact on the physical and spiritual needs of the people. Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”- Matthew 25:35-40.
Whether you choose to help in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda or in your own city, please choose to do something.