My Trip to Africa 2011/Don Henry, CED Delaware County, Ohio
Early last summer I was surfing the web and came across an article about orphans that caught my eye. The article was written by a former orphan who had a heart for the 147 million orphans worldwide & had started a ministry to increase awareness of this tragic reality. They offered the opportunity to go and visit orphans with the scriptural theme of James 1:27 which admonishes us to go & visit orphans and widows. I thought to myself, I could do that, in fact, I should do that. So I filled out the application online at Visiting Orphans (www.visitingorphans.org) and hit the send button.
In just a few weeks I found myself on a 777 Ethiopia Airlines jet headed for a 15 day adventure in Uganda & Ethiopia. It was no ordinary adventure as this trip was called the “Man Up to Protect & Love the Fatherless Trip”. It was the first group that Visiting Orphans has ever sent that was mostly men. Our goal was to simply love on orphans. I was unprepared to see the extreme poverty there but I was taken in by the beauty of the people and landscape of these countries. We visited 7 orphanages and 2 prisons. Many orphaned children end up in prison being unjustly accused or abused and have no one to defend them so they are stuck there for many years. A ministry we worked with called 60 feet (www.sixtyfeet.org) is working to improve prison conditions for these children, helping place them in a family setting or to provide education to give these kids a future and hope.
There are 43 million orphans in Africa, many orphaned by the aids epidemic and other diseases while many others are orphaned due to civil unrest. I have such admiration to those who have given their lives and put feet to their vision to help the fatherless. In almost every situation it was one person who started an orphanage and they were nationals who had compassion for their own people. We were there to come along side and provide support.
I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with these beautiful children. I was always surrounded by kids just wanting a hug, to be held or to spend time with a father figure. That was the biggest joy of my trip.
We also spent time in the village of Korah, located literally at the city dump in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, where the unwanted lived. Many lepers and their families, and many widows and orphans as a result of aids in their families, lived here in deplorable conditions, finding their food by digging in the dump. It was most heartbreaking to see the children and women searching for scraps with the vultures, wild dogs & hyenas.
We were able to do some home improvement projects here as well as feed the children goat stew. This place literally broke my heart and it is my privilege to sponsor a child here through the ministry of Project 61 (www.p61.org).
I enjoyed seeing the agriculture of Uganda & Ethiopia as well. We saw large fields of egg plant, tea bushes, sugar cane, pineapple and bananas as well as multi-acre buildings housing roses. Most work in these countries is done by hand. Beef cattle and goats were everywhere as well as donkeys used for transporting goods.
We also visited a village in the bush called Chuko where 80% of the deaths are from drinking contaminated water (see photo). 1 in 5 children do not survive to age 6. They simply need good drinking water and we were involved with a project which is drilling a water well in this area that will serve four villages. If interested in helping with this project visit Glimmer of Hope (www.aglimmerofhope.org).
I would encourage you to take a trip with Visiting Orphans. It will change your life, expand your worldview, help you realize just how very blessed we are, and challenge you to do something to help others. I’m thankful for this experience and I know I will never be the same. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASCOE Publicity Contest Announcement
Thank you for participating in the NASCOE Publicity Contest. Your dedication and the hard work you have put forth in the promotion of NASCOE through publicity is to the betterment of all members. It is a commitment of your time and talents that are greatly appreciated by the Officers, Area Executives and Committee Chairs.
The judging results are now in and I am proud to announce the winners for the 2011/2012 year. As with any contest, there can be only one winner in each category but let me make it clear that all submitted newsletters, feature story articles and websites were fantastic to see and review. The scoring and judging in all areas was extremely close, a testament of the quality of the items submitted. This is a compliment to each winner.
The Winners in the Publicity Contest are:
Best Newsletter Renee Boykin, South Carolina
Best Single Issue South Carolina Spring and Summer Issues, Renee Boykin, Editor
Best Website Aaron Moore, Wisconsin
Best Feature Story Human Interest Don Henry, Ohio-”My Trip to Africa”
Best Feature Story Humor David Stromer, Iowa-“Wedding: A Fathers Point of View”
Congratulations to all the winners! And a Big THANK YOU to all of this years participants and judges. Your time committed to NASCOE Publicity is greatly appreciated.
I look forward to seeing you at the National Convention in Boise, Idaho!
NASCOE Publicity Chairperson