…. 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
It is with great joy we can report that the Dondo Orphanage that Jesse Lee Church had committed to build was dedicated October 12, 2017.
Update from Rob:This past October I travelled to Mozambique with Wayne Lavender. It was a mission trip with several priorities and a lot of travel throughout the country. Officially, we were going to the dedication ceremony for the completed director’s house building of the Dondo Orphanage and to attend a groundbreaking of another orphanage at another site in the far north of the country. Informally, we were there to create stronger relationships with the church leadership of the Mozambique North conference and to establish stronger timelines and expectations surrounding the completion of the Dondo Orphanage.
On behalf of the congregation, Carole Stathis had created a scrapbook of all of our ministries, which I shared with the Mozambique North conference at the dedication ceremony. It was taken by Alzira Isaac, the head of the United Methodist Women, in custodianship for giving to the director of the orphanage that the church will soon appoint. At that meeting, I told the leadership of the Mozambique North that we as a congregation are looking forward to the orphanage opening in order to start an ongoing dialogue with the children and the director. There was a wave of happiness and hope that spread through that room at that moment. Mozambique is a country that is developing, growing and expanding every day out of the shadow of war, but it is still an area neglected by Westerners. Having people come from the opposite side of the world and say they want an ongoing relationship… that’s not something they’re used to hearing. The specifics of what that relationship looks like will develop over time and, of course, all this needs an operational orphanage to even start.
When we met with church leaders in October, we discovered the root causes of what has been creating the delays and worked on a readily agreed-upon solution for completing the project. The committee is now using a contractor with a strong previous relationship with the Mozambique North conference and who built their largest church in Beira, the second largest city in the country, of which Dondo is a suburb. Over these past few weeks, we feel that we’ve had an excellent plan and support system to make the opening of the Dondo Orphanage something that we would see very soon, and we are happy that our visit led to the Spirit restoring the fire to their hearts as it did to our own.
That plan reached an exciting new phase on January 15th, when we were notified by Alzira Isaac that enough work had completed to enable the 25 currently identified orphans to move into the orphanage and for the orphanage to become operational. We were thrilled to receive this news and are very excited to move forward to the phase where they are purchasing furnishings for the orphanage and considering operational elements like guards on site and fence construction around the property. The joy of reaching the everyday details!
When I was at Dondo in October, I tried out the cell service – there are three bars at the Dondo Orphanage and we will be able to video Skype with them at the appropriate time. We actually did a little of this while we were in Mozambique – we visited the previously built Carolyn Belshe Orphanage in Cambine where we FaceTime’d Wayne and the 40+ children at that orphanage into his church service on Sunday morning (US time). I’m looking forward to laying the groundwork of being able to do something similar with the children of the Dondo Orphanage once they are moved in, settled, and acclimatized.
Once the orphanage is fully operational, we will be planning an event here at Jesse Lee to give details about the trip and to celebrate this long-anticipated moment. Until then, here are some pictures of the children at the dedication ceremony of the director’s house and some work done on painting the dormitory interiors that were nearing completion when we left and that are now done. Again, please continue to ask God to surround this effort with every last drop of continued “love in action” so that the doors to the Dondo Orphanage will finally be opened.
Submitted by: Rob Mayette, Outreach Commission
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!