Making a Real Impact in the Lives of Orphans

The picture below is a significant one. It appears to simply be a crowded lobby at LifePoint Church. But its so much more than that. This is a crowd of people that want to know how they can help orphans and children that are vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment. In the middle of this crowd there are volunteer ministry leaders for Ukraine, Haiti, Guatemala, Rwanda and Legacy Orphan Ministry. This happened after our services on October 22/23.

That weekend, 38 kids were sponsored in 4 different countries.
74 different people signed up to learn more about being engaged in Global Outreach and orphan care.

This is just the beginning! We’re excited to see how God continues to use LifePoint Church!

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New Media about G.O. & Legacy!

We’re excited about a new booklet we’ve created to highlight LifePoint’s Global Outreach and Legacy Orphan Ministry. Click on the picture below to have a look!

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Love and Care Kits: Thank you!

lovencarekitsServing foster care and adoptive families is one of the main components of Legacy Orphan Ministry at LifePoint. We want to support families participating in both the state foster care system as well as Safe Families for Children. One of the tangible ways we’re doing that is with our “Love and Care Kits” drive. Thank you so much for 70 back packs and bags you’ve already donated filled with the things children need to add a a little security and comfort as their worlds change. Below is a heartfelt response from Alaina Haerbig, a foster care mom that received a couple of Love and Care Kits for her two foster sons.

“To the person who donated gifts to my foster kids:

I don’t know if you donated at church, or at Social services, or through work. I can’t tell you directly because I don’t know how your generosity found its way to my living room. But maybe someone will share this, and you’ll see it, and you’ll know:

Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtfulness more than you can comprehend.

I can’t tell you directly that when I put on the jammies you bought, he smiled a little – something I rarely see- as he looked at himself in the mirror. I can’t send you a photo of how proud he looked and tell you how he said, (more…)

Alpha Life Staff Visits LifePoint Church

It was wonderful to host our brothers and sisters from Ukraine this month! They are the staff of Alpha Life, which is an orphan graduate transition ministry in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Viktor, Zhenya and Andrew were all able to come, and Andrew was able to bring his wife, Anna, too! At the end of our weekend services on February 7 and 8, we introduced them to the church. Check out the video of that introduction.

Warming Hearts, Shaping Lives

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Upheaval. Chaos. Fear. Survival. Words that describe life close to Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia over the past several months. Many of you have asked about our friends in Ukraine. “What about the orphan graduate ministry there? Are they okay? Are they in danger?” The good news is that the city of Dnipropetrovsk has not been the site of any military actions in all this. But if you think about it for a minute, we could use those same words to describe the lives of orphans as they “graduate” from their institutional homes. Upheaval. Chaos. Fear. Survival. Unfortunately, the word survival should be followed by a question mark. Many of them literally don’t survive. But there is good news on this front, too! More and more orphan graduates, young men and young women, are getting loving, personal help, guidance and training to help them navigate the extraordinary time of launching from institution to independence. And at the heart of everything the Alpha Life staff is doing is the love of Christ Jesus.

As you can see on the map, Dnipropetrovsk is not terribly far from the hot zones, but far enough to keep them out of the action. However, we can't say they haven't felt the impact. Many Ukrainians have fled their homes, many of which have been destroyed now, and have landed in Dnipropetrovsk looking for help. Our friends at Central Baptist Church of Dnipropetrovsk have been helping with food and warm clothing.

As you can see on the map, Dnipropetrovsk is not terribly far from the hot zones, but far enough to keep them out of the action. However, we can’t say they haven’t felt the impact. Many Ukrainians have fled their homes–some have been destroyed. Many have landed in Dnipropetrovsk looking for help. Our friends at Central Baptist Church of Dnipropetrovsk have been helping with food and warm clothing.

Along with our Ukrainian friends at Alpha and Omega and Central Baptist Church in Dnipropetrovsk, we began developing this vision in 2012. Then we launched the Alpha Life ministry in 2013. Now, a year and a half later, we’re seeing the second school year of ministry bring exciting opportunities and growth.

It started with one–Vadim. A wonderful young man who is now studying at a medical technical school. Many have followed Vadim!

Zhenya works with the young women through Alpha Life. She is currently teaching and mentoring 3 young women who have already graduated out of orphanages: Sonya, Nastya and Tanya. They are studying logistics, electrical engineering and management, respectively. And there are 4 more young women who have visited the ministry several times so far. Please pray for these young women that are still “getting to know” the ministry and Zhenya. Pray that they will feel the love of Christ and be drawn to the “family” at Alpha Life.

Here is Viktor (center), the administrator of Alpha Life, watching a video during a lesson he was teaching.

Here is Viktor (center), the administrator of Alpha Life, watching a video during a lesson he was teaching. Andrew says the boys look up to Viktor “like a father.”

Alpha Life takes its name in part from the key partner ministry–Alpha & Omega (AO). AO is a great ministry for young adults that is based in a facility that is for all intents and purposes a community center. They also hold church services there on Sunday afternoons. Depending on when you walk through the doors, you can find any number of things going on: ping-pong tournaments, life skills classes, Bible studies, music lessons and more!

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Andrew Rubel, the newest Alpha Life team member

Four young men are regularly attending Alpha Life lessons as well as activities at AO. Paul, Ruslan, Vlad and Victor. They are all studying  at the same college to be electricians. Three more guys have attended a few events at AO and seem to be interested in getting connected to Alpha Life. Several of the guys have also been to the services at Central Baptist Church of Dnipropetrovsk. Andrew has been building relationships with them and has even started teaching guitar to a couple of guys! Andrew is Zhenya’s male counterpart in Alpha Life. Andrew joined the staff at the end of the summer. It’s great to have him on board to help mentor the young men. Not only is Andrew a musician, but he’s also an athlete. He just finished a career on the Ukraine National Track and Field team! In one of his updates about the young men Andrew mentioned that he was encouraged to see “their hearts warming” to him and the Alpha Life staff.

We thank God for the reach Alpha Life is having already! In fact, Zhenya says they are working with 11 other orphans in 3 different orphanages who are set to graduate in 2015.

Please pray with us that God will continue to warm the hearts of these young men and women as Viktor, Zhenya and Andrew share with them the love of Jesus.

 

Alpha Life Ministry Up and Running

PrintIt’s great to hear the reports from our friends in Ukraine about the beginning stages of Alpha Life! You may remember the post from the summer that described the launch of Alpha Life (you can read it by clicking here). Viktor and Zhenya are the two Alpha Life staff, and they have been doing the exciting work of getting Alpha Life off the ground!

Victor and Zhenya with captionsViktor and Zhenya have been visiting orphans that are approaching their last year in the orphanage and some orphans that have already graduated. They have been getting to know them and helping them with homework. You may remember the name Vadim. This young man graduated last year, and Zhenya helped him apply and get into a medical tech school. She continues to help Vadim. And he comes to church with her on the weekends and spends time with some great role models! She said this is helping Vadim because he’s faced with a pretty challenging environment in the dorm.

Both Viktor and Zhenya have been preparing themselves, too. They have been to training in life skills curriculum. And they have visited other orphan graduate ministries to learn from them. They’re also meeting with orphanage administrators to introduce the Alpha Life Ministry. These meetings have gone well. So they are looking forward to beginning the life skills training classes. Here is just a sample of some of the modules they’ll be teaching: Identity, Communication Skills, Health and Hygiene, Love, Sex and Marriage, Home Economics, Time and Money Management–and several more!

Another important part of the ministry is transporting these young men and women to events, activities and church. So Alpha Life has just purchased a van. They bought it as an empty shell and then had the passenger seats put in. Check out the before and after photos.
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Thank you for giving generously to NEXT! We’re helping influence lives around the world through your generosity. Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters: Viktor and Zhenya with Alpha Life, and our partners Alpha Omega Ministry and Central Baptist Church of Dnepropetrovsk. And most of all, pray that the young men and women in this ministry will find their Heavenly Father that loves them and wants to adopt them into His family!

Caring for Orphans in Guatemala

Guatemala orphan alliance 1st mtgIn Guatemala, something new is happening, and LifePoint has played a significant role! The church in Guatemala is coming together to answer God’s call to care for orphans. The Guatemala Orphan Alliance met for the first time after being created at the inaugural Orphan Ministry Conference held in Guatemala earlier this year in June. A subset of the 225+ Guatemala orphan advocates attending that conference have decided to step up and work together to address the orphan crisis in this beautiful country. The Alliance will focus on coordinating a National Orphan Sunday later this year and in working together with the government to have the local church step up to care for orphans through foster care and adoption.

The Orphan Conference was conceived by Legacy, LifePoint’s Orphan Ministry, and Oscar and Anna Maria Campos, our missionary partners working at the SETECA seminary in Guatemala City. Legacy then engaged other key partners such as Hope For Orphans, Orphan Outreach, and the Christian Alliance for Orphans who provided great content in numerous presentations alongside local Guatemalan speakers that included the former First Lady of Guatemala and the Undersecretary of Child Welfare and Protection. It is amazing to see how God can use ideas generated at LifePoint to impact global orphan care. Please continue to pray for the Guatemala Alliance for Orphans and most of all for those beautiful children who will find forever homes due to these efforts

Alpha Life Launches in Ukraine!

AlphaLife logo_colorTry to imagine being an orphan. You’ve never known what it means to live with  parents in a loving home and family. You’ve only known this orphanage as “home”. But you’ve always dreamt that one of those people that visit the orphanage from time to time would choose you and take you home! But year after year, you are left in the orphanage. You get older. And your dream slowly fades. Then, you’re sixteen years old, and now its time to leave the orphanage. Its time for life on your own. If you had any hope left of being adopted, its definitely gone now. Its like its official now. Nobody chose you. Nobody wanted you.

What a way to start the next season of life. This is the reality for older orphans every year in Ukraine. And we have committed to helping some of those orphans navigate this extraordinarily challenging time in their lives. Alpha Life is the global initiative of NEXT , Navigating Extraordinary Times.

Just a few days ago, on July 14, in a Sunday morning church service at Central Baptist Church in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, this new ministry for graduating orphans was launched! We’ve been working on it for quite a while. One year ago, our two ministry partners from Ukraine were here at LifePoint Church. We spent many hours praying and discussing ideas and plans with Pastor Sergii Sizonenko and Slava Iotko. Sergii is the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Dnepropetrovsk, and Slava is the director of the campus outreach ministry called Alpha and Omega based in a building just a few blocks down the street from the church. We three are working together to provide a graduate transition ministry to orphans graduating from orphanages in and around Dnepropetrovsk.

Orphans graduating from institutions in Ukraine are faced with extraordinary challenges. They are about to live with independence and the responsibility of making their own decisions about their lives and futures. Unfortunately, most are not ready for this. There are all kinds of statistics about where these kids end up. And while the exact numbers vary depending on the source, one thing is clear–many orphans fail to navigate this extraordinary transition to adulthood well.

The government helps them by covering the cost of their tuition and dorm rooms at technical colleges. Unfortunately, these kids need more help than that. They simply are not prepared to make wise choices with money and time and choosing the right kinds of friends. And there are people who are poised and ready to take advantage of them. Its not long before these kids have run out of money and start looking for new income sources.While that may sound a lot like American college students, the difference is that these kids don’t have parents to call for help. They’re on their own. And that’s not a secret to those who seek to exploit them. As a result, drugs, crime and even prostitution rob many of these kids of their futures. Even worse, the suicide rate among graduated orphans is very high.

So what are we doing about it? Alpha Life is a ministry where staff will begin teaching life skills to orphans in their last year in the orphanage. We will invite them to church events and young adult events to give them positive options for social outlets, friendships and role models. Once they graduate, we’ll give them the option of living in the home of a family from Central Baptist Church rather than living in the dorm while they go to school. All these things together add up to giving these orphans the family and community of loving, caring people that they wouldn’t have on their own. This is what can make the difference in their transition to adulthood and independence. But most importantly, being connected to the family of God will give them the opportunity to know how to live forever! Yes, we are concerned about their future here on earth, but we’re also concerned about their eternal future.

We ask you to pray for this ministry. Pray for the orphans that agree to be in it. Pray for families at Central Baptist Church to be moved by God to provide housing to these orphans. And pray for the staff that will run the program. Victor and Zhenya (pictured below) will run this ministry. They will be the ones building relationships with the orphans and teaching them about life. Our brother and sister on the front lines of ministry. Remember them often in your prayers.

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Joe and Becky Paschal with Alpha and Omega leaders. From left: Victor, Slava, Joe, Becky, Zhenya, Alexey

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Partners in ministry: from left, Pastor Sergii of Central Baptist Church, Joe from LifePoint, Slava and Pastor Alexey of Alpha and Omega

Helping Without Hurting Seminar

Brian Fikkert photoThe posts on this blog keep repeating things like “serving should be our lifestyle” and serving “24-7-365.” These themes come from our annual serving event we’ve done the past 3 years called Risk Love. It has been great to see many LifePointers take this challenge seriously. We’ve even seen some new outreach ministries start up as a result! That’s really taking the “invests relationally” part of being a Christ-like Influencer to a new level!

when helping hurts book coverAnd now, here is a great opportunity to help you as you invest relationally and serve others. Brian Fikkert is the co-author of a book we love here at LifePoint Church. The book is When Helping Hurts. In our own outreach ministries we follow the Biblical principles found in this book. Below is information about a seminar where Brian Fikkert will be speaking on this topic at a church here in Baltimore! We highly recommend that you attend this seminar.

Helping without Hurting seminar
with Dr. Brian Fikkert, co-author of
“When Helping Hurts – How To Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…And Yourself”

Hosted by: Faith Christian Fellowship Church in Baltimore  on May 18, 8am – 4pm.

Register Here

  •         $45 for early registration – discount applies through May 5th
  •         $50 May 6th through May 17th
  •         25% discount to students and seminarians
  •         Major credit cards accepted on a secured site
  •         Ample free parking

Price includes lunch, snacks, & materials.  Childcare (7 and under) is available at a nominal cost.

About the Speaker

Dr. Brian Fikkert is a Professor of Economics and the founder and Executive Director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College. Dr. Fikkert earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University, specializing in international economics and economic development. He has been a consultant to the World Bank and is the author of numerous articles in both academic and popular journals. Prior to coming to Covenant College, he was a professor at the University of Maryland–College Park and a research fellow at the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector.

Directions to Faith Christian Fellowship

Download Flyer

Orphan Summit 9: Nashville, May 2-3

CAFO logoThe Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) does an incredible job with their annual conference! Legacy Orphan Ministry highly recommends this conference to all and encourages you to seriously consider going this year. Whether you’re just learning about orphans, supporting the cause or considering foster care or adoption, this conference will educate, motivate and inspire you! Legacy is coordinating a group to go from LifePoint. For more information, see the details below this great video of Francis Chan talking about the Summit.

This year, the conference is in Nashville, TN, and  we hope to have as many of you attend as possible. We want to carpool to decrease the travel costs. We estimate the cost per person will be somewhere around $400 to $500, including transportation, lodging, and summit registration (but excluding food).

If you plan on going, please take the first step and register for the conference. Some will be going down a day early for one of the intensives. Please join us for that, too, if you are able.

This is late notice, but there is a discount if you register before the end of this month. Please refer to messaging below.

Please contact us at lpcorphanministry@comcast.net with questions.

Thanks!

Legacy Team

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