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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Children’s Hope Orphanage continues to grow, plans for phase 2comment (0)

November 17, 2011


When a group from First Baptist Church, Montgomery, took its first missions trip to Jacmel, Haiti, in August 2010, it discovered 16 orphaned children who had been living in a tent since the January earthquake.

“Our hearts were burdened for these orphans. We knew we needed to take the first step of getting the orphans out of a tent and into a … home,” Andy and Tanya Birchfield explained.

God provided a temporary home.

Some months later, another group from First, Montgomery, traveled to Jacmel seeking land to purchase for a permanent residence. Four acres were obtained through a Canadian ministry, the Manna Care Foundation.

God led the church to Martie and Charley Elgin, who lead the work of Pathfinder Mission, an extension of Gateway Baptist Church, Montgomery.

The couple agreed to be in charge of the construction of a permanent residence for the orphans, who by this time numbered 18.

The Elgins began the first phase of Children’s Hope Orphanage by converting five huge shipping containers provided by the foundation into boys’ and girls’ housing units, shower and bath facilities, a kitchen and an eating area that also has space for tutoring. An orphan ministry of First, Montgomery, also is named Children’s Hope.

Today church members Tommy and Joy Schwindling (see story, this page) direct the orphanage, along with Samuel Lafalaise, who was caring for the children when the First, Montgomery, group found them.

The now 19 children who live in the orphanage are enrolled in school and taught English.

Plans call for the second phase to begin in January 2012.

That phase will provide several permanent homes with house parents caring for about 10 orphaned children each and a Children’s Hope school.

“God has put all this together,” Tanya Birchfield said excitedly. “It shows He has a heart for orphans.”

Alabama Baptists have a heart for orphans, too. “We have had numerous volunteers involved in ministry with the children — backyard Bible clubs, medical care and construction on phase one,” said Scotty Goldman, an associate in the office of global missions of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. “As construction of phase two begins, we will be looking not only for teams but individuals who can help with framing, electrical work and plumbing. Ten minutes with the kids will make you glad you came!”

For more information, call Goldman at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 387. (TAB)

To view a video related to this story, visit the video library.

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