Friday, April 6, 2012

Inauguration of Kwahu Orphanage

In the days leading up to and following Jake’s previous trip to Ghana in January, we felt that God had re-connected us with Kofi, our case worker who had handled the in-country tasks of Justice’s adoption. On that January trip Jake and the team got to spend a day with Kofi in an area called Kwahu, viewing an orphanage project that he had started but didn’t have the funds yet to finish (you can read that post here). Kofi had an inspiring vision for the project which also included future hopes to build a Christian boarding school next to the orphanage, as well as an apartment complex that would help generate income to support the orphanage.

For the time being, Kofi had been taking in orphans to his own private residence in Mpraeso (a township of Kwahu), which he had transitioned into a foster home. But this place is not ideal – at all. When Jake visited the foster home in January he was so perplexed about the conditions that he felt a sense of responsibility to do something.

Meanwhile, Jake and I had been following God’s leading to consider constructing our own foster home in Asikuma. But last fall the Lord ended up closing the door on our plans for the time being. So our hearts had already been stirred to do something along these lines – then, seeing the conditions of the Kwahu foster home, and catching Kofi’s vision for what could be sent Jake into action. By the beginning of February Jake had met with the global missions director at our church and put in a proposal for a donation that would bring the new orphanage to its completion. Our church approved our proposal and by the end of February the donation was in Kofi’s hands. He was bound and determined to have the construction finished in time to hold the inauguration ceremony during our March trip. And he got really close. Everything was finished except for the electricity hook up, and once that is completed the kids will get to move from the foster home to the beautiful new orphanage.

Here are pictures of the current foster home, where all the orphans in Kofi’s care are residing [including our two girls] until they can move to the new orphanage.


Everyone in the house shares this shower:

And this toilet:

Living room:

Outdoor space leading to gate. The road is right outside the gate.

Playing alongside the road right outside the gate:

But just take a look at what is waiting for these children now that the construction on the new orphanage has been completed. First of all, the new orphanage is not located on the house-lined streets in town. Rather you drive about a mile or so outside of town to a beautiful, serene setting located on green and lush rolling hills. The orphanage sits off by itself on a huge plot of land.

Walking up the road to the orphanage – the tan wall with blue roof is the security wall that lines the entrance:

A picture showing once you are inside the entrance and looking down to the road you just walked up – that’s the orphanage on the left - just look at how beautiful this setting is!

Probably my favorite part about the new orphanage is the fact that it sits all alone in the midst of wide open space. The hills and land are perfect for running, digging, exploring, and playing. There will be no more confining spaces and lots of room to just BREATHE! Hooray!

The exterior as it sat in January, before our church's donation:

The finished exterior:

Water borehole:

The living room [the blue door frames on the right lead to each of the bedrooms]:

This is a look into one of the 4 bedrooms – each bedroom has its own shower and toilet which is greatly needed when you have both genders and all different ages residing together.

A peek into one of the bathrooms:

New bunk beds (donated by our adoption agency) waiting to be arranged in the rooms – they are so low to the ground because Kofi gets worried that the kids will fall out of bed!

The day of the inauguration came and we all got to celebrate and bless the new orphanage.

All the important people were there from the community including various chiefs of the towns that make up Kwahu, social welfare workers, pastors, and a bunch of others with prestigious titles that I can’t remember! I think what was so moving was listening to how this community has opened up to the idea of orphan care and adoption because of Kofi’s vision. There was one speaker in particular, the District Chief Executive, who spoke of how over the last year he really forced Kofi to prove himself, prove his vision, and prove his credibility in order for this project to come to completion. [The important people in the community have the power to shut down a project like this at any time if they don’t like it or don’t trust the person in charge.] As I listened to the speakers and recalled some of the stories of hardship that Kofi had told us on the drive, I began to see that Kofi is a man of perseverance. It has not been easy for him to stick with this – he has faced persecution, mistaken judgements and perceptions, and has even been the subject of some good rounds of community gossip! Through it all Kofi has become a living, breathing example of trusting in the Lord’s commissioning, just as Joshua did ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). You did it Kofi!!!!!!!

Ribbon cutting by Chief:

Pastors from the community’s Methodist churches prayed a blessing over the entrance to the orphanage.

Jake and I feel SO EXCITED to have been able to play a tiny part in this, which really only happened because our church ROCKS and has been so on board in supporting our heart for the orphans of Ghana! Yay for Cornerstone Church of Ames!

My heart is also dancing in this project knowing that this orphanage is a place that we will stay forever connected with, be able to supply donations for, send volunteers to, visit on our missions trips, and have confidence in knowing that it is a loving, safe place for orphans to be cared for - because we will get to check-in often!!!!!!! I will keep you updated as the last few details of the place get finished up, and of course will do some major rejoicing here on the blog once the children get to move in!

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. ~Helen Keller~

1 comment:

The Nikkels said...

What awesome Godly work you do!! These before and after pictures are amazing, yet somehow I feel they are even more amazing in person and seeing the transition LIVE with your own eyes!! You are an inspiration to others, including me. Love reading your blog and seeing what you have been doing! Blessings to you and your family!!!