Wednesday, March 22, 2023


On our first day here at the orphanage, we toured the construction progress of the school building. It probably is understandable why I wanted to do this, since this is the latest project that we have begun. But focusing on buildings and on tangible things that we can physically measure and touch is easy, and it is often quite gratifying, because we can often see daily progress. Nevertheless, we understand that these tangible structures are mere means to an end.

The lives of these children that the Lord has placed in our hands are of course our true concern, and the highest aspect of that concern is that each one becomes faithful servants of God.  Buildings of steel and concrete last a few years only, but what we build for God in the lives of these children will last an eternity.

But in this age, the physical and the spiritual are in some ways interrelated. It would be hypocritical of us to think that we can care for the spiritual lives of these children if we had no regard for the physical well-being.

Jesus himself showed us this numerous times, but probably best illustrated at one point in his ministry when for three days as he sat on a mountain, where “large crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind,

the crippled, the mute, and many others, and laid them at his feet, and he healed them.”

Then, when it came time when the great crowd of some 4,000 people to leave, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion for this crowd, because they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may faint along the way.” (From Matthew 15).

So it is at the orphanage that we are concerned for every physical need of the children as well as the spiritual. Food, in fact is the greatest cost in maintaining the needs of the children and the helpers. We are grateful for the staff, who work very hard in providing meals every day for a total of about 75 people, including the children of the orphanage, and also the staff itself along with their own children. 

The primary cooks are two servants of God by the names of Isaac and Edna. They provide very healthy and nourishing meals when they have the foods from which to make them.

The facilities in which they prepare this daily mountain of food my seem rudimentary to us, and indeed they are, but they are much improved over what I saw on my previous visits. On those visits, they were still using the “three rock system” of cooking, which is basically placing three rocks onto which the cook can place a large pot, and then building a fire underneath. It’s basically a campfire.

It burns a lot of wood and, because during the rains it has to be done inside a structure of
some kind, produces a very smokey and unhealthy atmosphere. Many women here actually have respiratory difficulties because of this.
On that last visit in 2019, I had brought with me plans to build a simple rocket stove that requires almost no money to build, is very efficient in the use of wood, and sends the smoke outside the building. Not too many months after I returned to America after that visit, Joel sent me photos of the stove that they had made. They now have two of these stoves in their new kitchen facilities. They are working very nice, and they are saving us money in the orphanage because of the more efficient use of wood.

Also constructed since my last visit is the dining hall where the children can eat. This simple structure has been helpful for not only eating during rainy weather, but also for completing their school work.


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