Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A New Project

I am excited to share with you a new project that Jake and I have been asked to help with! But first, I want to give a little background on the reason for this project…..it all starts with a man named Eric Idehen…..here is his story, in his own words:

Cornerstone of Hope is the result of the vow my wife and I made to God after we were unable to have our own children. We had vowed to adopt two children. We got married in September 28, 1997 at the Church of The Nazarene in Kiev, Ukraine. Pastor Bob Skinner, Pastor Sunny and Pastor Briggs Ibiso offered prayers to God in our behalf for the fruit of the womb. Miraculously, God gave us our first child, Enrique Edoghogho (meaning the day of joy), in May 8, 1999 and the second child, Edward Emwanta (meaning truth), in July 16, 2000. In October 2001 we had our third child Elliott Edosa (meaning this is the day the Lord has made). Praise God!

In one of our deliberations on our vow to God, my wife suggested that it would be better to support an orphanage home instead of adopting just two children. We both agreed on this idea because it would enable us to reach out to many children. Our investigation of a few orphanages revealed mismanagement, lack of adequate care for the children, and in one orphanage, we observed serious neglect of these children. We were totally disappointed by these findings. We quickly concluded that our objectives would not be effectively achieved if we were to throw our money into orphanages of these kinds. Thereafter, we decided to establish and run our own orphanage home in Benin City, Nigeria.

Nigeria, like other countries of the world, is affected by HIV & AIDS. An estimated 3 million people now suffered from HIV & AIDS epidemic. Out of the estimated seventy thousand orphaned children in Nigeria, about eighteen thousand children are orphaned due to HIV & AIDS alone. As we consider this crisis, we become more and more moved to put our ideas into concrete action. We also recognize our financial limitations, and we reach out for others who would like to share our vision to reduce the suffering of orphans in the world. We are impressed by the enthusiasm and passion of other founding members of Cornerstone of Hope. Pam Avaux, James Adams, Kevin McGuire, Ron Matthews, Paula Galloway, Brian Worthington, Fritz Trost, Kim Blacksmith-Davis, Mark Havemann, Tammra Swartwood, Michael Terry and Robert Welch, joined in forming the strongest bond in this noble course.

We are determined to make Cornerstone of Hope the best orphanage in the world. Together, we shall work tirelessly to take abandoned children from mean streets into the loving arms of good people of our orphanage where they will receive physical, intellectual, and emotional care. As part of our mission, we seek to make these orphaned children productive members of society and facilitate their adoption by loving families. With your help and the grace of God, we will make a difference.

Eric Idehen, February 2006

Jake and I have been asked to help coordinate an event being held in Ankeny in August to help raise funds to support an expansion project for this orphanage (more about this event in tomorrow’s post). In Eric’s words, the reason for the expansion is this:

We want to do more for more children and we need your help! The reconfiguration and expansion of the orphanage is critical to our plans to bring in more children and change their lives! Initially, we thought that we could fit as many as 20 children in the facility when we thought that they would send us infants, but the children that we have are between 5 and 10 years old. They need a lot more room and we need to have separate facilities for the boys and girls as well as separate areas for the younger children and older ones. We turn down new children that the government brings to us frequently because we don't have the appropriate facilities to handle more children. We want to change this!

We were referred to Eric by our social worker that is coordinating our Ghana adoption. She recently began working with Eric to begin the process of possibly creating a Nigeria adoption program through her agency. Along with this, Eric had begun looking for individuals moved by his cause that would have insight and interest in donating time to help make his fundraising event for the expansion a success. Our name came up, and now we are serving as chairs on the event planning committee. Our first meeting was last Thursday in Des Moines, and I must say, as I looked around the table at those gathered, I was very humbled that I was sitting there….sitting amongst the company of Barry Spear (among many other notable titles, he is the founder of the Make A Wish Foundation of Iowa), a marketing major originally from Ghana, a director from a local African children’s choir originally from Rwanda, our social worker, 2 local & professional musicians, a top notch event coordinator, and Eric Idehen (founder of the orphanage). Oh, not to even mention Jake’s contagiously energetic presence! As I glanced around that table I was SO INSPIRED by the passion that each of these people had! It is so refreshing to see people who see a need, jump in, get their hands dirty, stretch their limits, and GET ‘ER DONE! Wow, I can learn a lot from this group!

As I said above, I’ll be sharing more about the event that we are planning for in tomorrow’s post. For now, I wanted to leave you with the website for Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage, as well as a video detailing many things about Eric’s story, the orphanage, and Nigeria in general. You will notice that right now there are 6 children in the orphanage. There are so many more orphans, and Eric’s vision is to help - one orphan at a time….doing it the right way….sufficient facilities, capable staff, financial support to give each orphan ample education, food & clothing.

Website - Click this link:

Video - Click this link:

1 comment:

Alivia said...

Very cool you will be a part of this experience. Wish you well in this journey.