In 2006, after adopting two kids from a Kenyan orphanage and being haunted by the ones we left behind, my beloved husband of now 26 years and I helped open Sanctuary of Hope in Kenya, where Hope’s Promise now cares for 24 orphans in two families. In the process, I came on staff with Hope’s Promise until 2012, when I left to focus on our own four precious kids. For the next seven years, my passion for orphans burned even hotter (and more painfully). Again and again, I asked God to either release my heart from Hope’s Promise or allow me to return. God blew me away this past June when He most unexpectedly opened the door for me to serve again as Director of Orphan Care. I share this story below, not as an employee of an organization; but from a heart that breaks for orphans around the world… Including these boys I met in North Vietnam last month.
He needs a family. He hunches beside four other boys on the lower mattress of a bunk bed.
Thanh, Hope’s Promise (HP) Vietnam Country Coordinator, explains. This church where we now stand, one of one hundred born over the past thirty years from a ministry to addicts and drunkards, rehabilitated through Scripture and the Holy Spirit, cares for five orphaned and vulnerable children. Altogether, the ministry harbors a total of seventy kids scattered in extra church rooms across N Vietnam.
I glance at the row of eyes, wide and watching.
I ask through translation, “Who feeds these boys?” They eat with the rehab ministry men.
“Who provides clothing?” Members of the church.
I probe, trying to get at the question burning at the core: who parents them?
“Who takes care of them at night?” Oh, the twelve-year-old is in charge at night.
My heart sinks. Physical needs provided, deepest longing unmet.
“Has the church ever thought of placing the boys in families within the congregation?”
The pastor replies through Thanh: yes, he recognizes the boys’ need for family and belonging. He himself cares for four children in need.
But here, where newly ignited, flaming passion for Christ includes caring for orphans, resources are few.
One of the boys, Giang, age ten, lost his father to murder and then his mother when she remarried and abandoned him. Duong, age eight, orphaned by his mother’s death from cancer, lost his father as well when he left to re-marry and never returned. Both began their lives in impoverished mountain H’mong villages.
It took a typhoon for us to meet these boys. We were supposed to have traveled that day to central Vietnam, but an impending storm delayed our flight. Instead, we visited this congregation in the heart of a Communist Commune, stumbled upon these boys. And now I can’t forget them.
I’m twisting like a stymied typhoon to get these kids into a family. Willing house parents are identified, but still those boys return to their bunk beds in the extra room of a church. Watched over by a twelve-year old.
Blocking the way, a gap of $600/month to consistently fund our existing ministry of twelve kids in four families in Vietnam.
If you are a current HP Vietnam partner, would you consider increasing your monthly donation? Or, if not, would you pray about becoming a new monthly donor? You can sponsor a child already in our care, starting at $40/month: Vietnam child sponsorship or simply donate to Vietnam general.
If God can send a typhoon to make sure we discover these boys, surely, he can make a way for them to join a family.