Last month I was blessed to travel to Kenya to visit our Ogada Orphanage. I was privileged to travel with 19 members of our congregation, along with 10 members of a sister congregation. We did not take this trip as tourists, but rather as pilgrims. Almighty God blessed us to touch the lives of boys and girls who were placed in this orphanage; many of them abandoned by their parents, or lost their parents through death.
Bethlehem sponsors nearly 100 children in this orphanage, and when we arrived their faces lit up with hope. They greeted us singing God’s praises. Their living conditions are very poor; we are working diligently to provide a borehole so they will have permanent water. They are not impaired by not having fresh water, as they have learned to survive on the water they receive from rainfall. Their dorms were in horrible condition when we arrived three years ago, and are now improved with fresh paint and murals on the walls.
God has given us the opportunity to try to make a difference by showering the children with the love of God and the resources that God has given us. We have received our mandate from the Word of God, for Matthew 25:35 reads, “For I was hungered and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.” While in Kenya, we felt the power and presence of God in the lives of these beautiful children. They clung to us as if we were their biological parents. Their smiles and hugs were like the very hand of God. As we looked into their eyes, we saw the reflections of God and knew he was pleased with our service to him and to His children.
I had an opportunity to preach in Kenya with the aid of an interpreter, and again realized we have so much in common as a people of God. The 10 days we spent in Kenya were the most memorable days in my ministry. We have committed ourselves to change the name from Ogada Orphanage to Ogada Children’s Center. Our prayer was that God would honor our work in Kenya, as we serve with passion. In 2013 we celebrate our 125th church anniversary, and plan to bring six children, along with the Center’s director and his wife, to spend two weeks with us. The children will have an opportunity to attend daily Vacation Bible School, stay in the homes of our members, and we will go on cultural trips. I believe with all my heart we cannot afford to ignore the plight of God’s people. Even in this economy, we believe in the power of God. We can make a difference; we will make a difference.
Our work in Kenya is just a part of our mission thrust, for I firmly believe foreign and home mission go hand in hand. It is not one or the other; they both play a vital part in the work of the kingdom. Our commitment to Kenya will be matched with our commitment to serve those at home. We will help to provide shelter for those in need, assist those who are struggling financially, help educate our children and care about those who are less fortunate. We are all children of the Most High God. Life becomes more meaningful when you look at it through the eyes of God. The focus no longer becomes centered on you, but rather on others. I know I speak for the entire team when I say, all glory belongs to God, for the Earth is his and all the children of the world are his.
The Rev. Charles W. Quann serves as the pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church.