Thursday, August 8, 2013

Israel's Story and the Birth of a Children's Center

I introduced you to Israel in this post...

Our in-country worker, Wisdom, was able to accompany Israel to the hospital to receive treatment for his burns while Jake and the team were in Cape Coast on Monday.

Israel & Wisdom

Yesterday Jake and the team were back in Asikuma, and as promised, the two ladies from Israel’s village came and got Jake and took him to meet him. In Jake’s words he said that meeting Israel and seeing first-hand his condition and the reality of how he lives was the saddest, most upsetting encounter that he’s ever had in all the times he’s been to Ghana.

The two ladies had found Israel living here….

But have since been able to help him get into this mud hut…..

where he now lives all alone and sleeps on the dirt floor….

he weaves together these fans and sells them to survive…

As it turns out, Israel is epileptic. He was cooking for himself one night, had a seizure, fell into the cooking fire, and that is how he got the burns. His father has died. His mother, is in fact not dead, but ran away. He has HIV. Because of all these stigmas the community has abandoned him. He looks at the ground when you talk to him, unsure of his worth.

Kingdom Cares gave 500 cedis ($250) to the women who are helping defend Israel’s cause. They will use that money to get Israel to the nearby hospital in a neighboring town each day for the next weeks to have his wounds re-bandaged. Next week the mental nurse will be at the hospital to evaluate Israel’s epilepsy and write a prescription for the appropriate medicine. Today Jake recruited a woman within in the community to cook for Israel and make sure he is getting to eat each day. KCI provided the woman with funds for her help and to cover the cost of his food. The two women advocates in the community will continue to monitor Israel and ensure that all these details play out as described. Thanks to some of the teenage boys on the current KCI team, Israel now has a handful of clothes to wear which he has on in the pictures.

My heart is so heavy and burdened for this young man. This all just doesn’t seem like even coming close to being enough to help ease his suffering or the torment and loneliness he must be feeling inside.

With Israel’s situation in full view, I think it is now the appropriate time to tell you about a project that KCI has had in the works for a couple of months. Israel’s situation has become another one motivating us to break ground and get moving on what I am about to share.

Earlier this year, our church – Cornerstone Church of Ames, decided that they wanted to take up a free will offering one Sunday with a very specific purpose in mind. Every single penny from this offering would be given away to local and global organizations who were reaching out to the poor, needy, oppressed, overlooked, ignored, and disadvantaged. Kingdom Cares International was informed ahead of time that we would be one of the organizations receiving a percentage of whatever the offering was. Our pastors and church leaders had no idea what to expect….no idea how much God’s people would give. They gave the congregation a few weeks notice of when the offering would be, and they listed off the different organizations that would receive percentages of the offering. The Sunday of the offering arrived, the money was tallied that next week, and in total our church body gave over $250,000 in an offering that day. Unbelievable. I have goosebumps just typing it. That next week Kingdom Cares International received our percentage of the offering which ended up being $40,000!!! Almost immediately God specifically laid out what to use the money for.

For children like Israel.

And Emefa.

And Emmanuel.

And George.

And….the list goes on and on.

A children’s center. A place in the community where we can meet needs. Hand out a meal a day. Ensure children are getting access to medical care and help to administer the medicines they've been prescribed. A place to take in true orphans in dire situations like Israel….give them a place to live, help care for their needs, sponsor them in school, love them in action. A place to share the gospel and give out the fullness of real hope.

In addition, we need a place to house our short and long-term missionaries. We currently have two interns from the U.S. that just arrived to live in Asikuma and volunteer for KCI for the next 6 months. They are staying at the lodge in Asikuma, but it would be much more ideal if they could live and serve out of the same place….the children’s center. Same for our family. We would love to make this center a place that we could stay in during our frequent trips to Asikuma.

With Cornerstone’s donation in hand, it has enabled us to start on the project right away. Over the past few months we hired architects from the Kwahu area in Ghana to begin drawing up the plans. Jake met with them earlier this week to review the drawings and to begin picking out the more detailed pieces of the home such as how he wants the security wall done and what kind of burglar proof windows he wanted to choose.

There are two chiefs in Asikuma, both whom fully support KCI’s ministry to the community. We found out on our last January trip that one of the chiefs was considering donating 5 acres of land to KCI.  Yesterday Jake and the team went and met with him.

The chief finalized the donation of the land, the land was commissioned (which is the official agreement between Jake and the chief and is the customary time for Jake to present a gift to the chief) and tomorrow the land will be surveyed. The children’s center will sit on 1 of these 5 acres. Friday the bulldozer will come in to clear the land, and next week construction starts! I told you we were moving on this! :)

There are numerous ideas of how to develop the rest of the land in the future, but for now we are focusing on the children’s center.

Jake will be writing a blog post on more of the details of the children’s center when he gets back, but for now you can picture it as a big, giant house. There will be 6 bedrooms for house mothers and orphans, 1 bedroom for our long or short-term missionaries, and 1 guest room for non-live-ins (like our family when we visit), bathrooms, kitchen, etc.

The project total looks like it is going to be $130,000. The $40,000 we received from our church has enabled us to start right now, and will likely be able to fund the first few months of construction. We are choosing to trust God to provide the rest, just as we did in our adoptions. The good thing about Ghana construction is that everything is paid in cash. So if you don’t have the money the work just stops until you get more money. They don’t do loans or credit cards or anything – you only hire workers as you can pay them in cash. If you don’t have the money you don’t hire and the project just sits. We are trusting in faith that this project won’t just sit. 


Brittany said...

Wow, it is so cool to read about how God is continuing to bless this ministry and the stepping out in faith to care for orphans and widows in Ghana. And what a powerful reminder to us in this country that we are indeed wealthy and ought to be generous with our finances - even what seems to be 'a little' to us can be used in huge ways. Thank you for sharing these stories, I am so excited about this children's center and the positive impact it will have on that community (from what you've shared). Praying for continued wisdom and provision in this endeavor.

Tully said...

I came across your blog via another. Israel's story has moved me and I would like to donate to help him. How can I help?

Janel said...

Hi Tully- that would be wonderful! We are trying to raise $2400 for Israel's care which would cover his costs for approximately 1 year. That would go towards HIV medicines (over $100/month for the best medicines – health insurance in Ghana does not give these patients access to the BEST medicines…so this is a cost beyond what is covered by insurance), medical care, schooling, food, and other assistance as needed. For donations, checks are payable to Kingdom Cares International and can be mailed to: 315 Ridgewood Drive, Huxley, IA 50124. Just put a note on the check or in the memo line designating the donation to him. Or you can also donate online by going to and clicking on the donate button. Thank you so much! -Janel-