In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Home found for seven aged-out orphans, but there will be eleven more soon!
Update: Boys’ building at orphanage has hot water for showers! / Return of the farm?
New: Nigerian children from a “Muslim background” / Entire families in Iraq!
Update: Final update on the 2023 supporter poll: Yes for Nigeria, maybe for Capitol Hill
“Aged Out” Orphans
As orphans turn 18 where do they go? That has been a compelling question, and now our prayers have been answered.
In Nigeria the Religious Freedom Coalition does not operate in a vacuum; we work with other ministries there as well. During the January mission and inspection trip to Nigeria we met with several other ministry leaders who also assist displaced Christians.
I brought several of those leaders to visit our orphanage and introduced them to the children and the staff. There were offers of assistance for those aging out of the orphanage.
Because of that cooperation, we have at least a temporary solution to help the orphans who are aging out of the orphanage. For now, seven of the aged-out orphans will move to Makurdi and serve in apprentice programs inside ministry operated businesses there.
But this is a temporary solution for only seven of the young adults. There are eleven more who will age-out of the orphanage this year, and there will be more in the future.
We just can’t turn 18-year-olds with no real job training out onto the streets. They had no families to support them and no source of income while they were in the orphanage. Job training and apprenticeships are a must!
We can do this!
The arrangement for seven of our graduates gives us time to plan for the annual graduation of even more young adults.
We have located an unfinished house near the orphanage that we can take over and refurbish and have plenty of space to house and train young adults. I am waiting for estimates to make this possible.
Our goal is for our graduates to stay in Jos. Giving up on Plateau State and handing it over to Muslims by moving everyone south to Benue State is the wrong thing to do. Jos needs to become a strong Christian enclave. Raising up strong new Christian leaders is the response we should have and that is the goal!
Please pray for those young men and women who are going off from our orphanage to represent the Lord in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, younger orphans are being escorted to our door because of the reputation of the orphanage.
We can’t take more orphans because the orphanage is functional, but it is not completed! To finish out the buildings, including the new chapel, will cost 46,738,196 Nigerian Naira. That comes to a little over $63,000 USD. That amount sounds like a lot, but for the results we will get it is a relatively small.
The boys’ showers: The land we bought for Jos Christian Refuge for Children had one well. We ran it dry the first week we moved in. We had to place new bore holes, raise new water towers and install new pumps. There is now enough water.
An existing building that the boys were relocated into had serious plumbing problems. During the move in, the toilets were replaced but there was no hot water for showers.
The cold showers may not have been a real problem in the summer, but Jos is in the mountains and the winter temperatures can drop.
Last month I transferred $1,750.00 to run additional water lines to the boys’ facility, increase the size of the shower room and add four new showers. Commercial hot water heaters were purchased to replace the one heater that no longer functioned at all. The boys now have hot water for showers.
Farming: We cannot recreate the farm we lost in Miango to the Muslim raiders, but we can save some money on food by growing on a smaller scale.
There is some room at the orphanage itself to grow some higher value vegetables. There is no space for a large Irish potato crop or corn.
The orphanage director was able to locate a parcel of land for rent just outside of Jos and it can be used for farming. It is still rural but in a safer area.
The cost of tools, seed, topsoil and other needed materials will be about $2,800. If the crops are successful, the food we produce will save us over $20,000 and perhaps as much as $30,000.
The rains have started the last week of March in the mountain area where Jos is located, and it is time to plant. The funds for farming have been transferred, and the kids are excited!
The orphans will get a chance to provide for themselves, which is important. For several years the farm brought pride to the kids, and they even assisted other orphanages that were less fortunate. All will appreciate the farm being back!
From a “Muslim background”
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The Middle East
Summer camp in Jordan: For decades the Religious Freedom Coalition has assisted Camp *Redacted for safety*, a summer camp for Christian children in Jordan.
My wife Nancy and I have visited the Camp dozens of times over the years including the summer of 2022 as the Covid- 19 travel bans ended.
Over the years the Religious Freedom Coalition has provided many necessary things for the safety of the campers, including cameras that covered the entire camp, and also new fencing and a new water system with new water towers.
One year every single mattress was replaced. A few years later, an entire new play area was installed, with swings and slides. We later added a cover for over the play area to keep children out of the sun.
Over the years we did a lot to upgrade the kitchen including buying one commercial refrigerator in 2017. We also installed new plumbing and tile floors! The commercial refrigerator we purchased is in good order and still working. An older refrigerator and a freezer have failed, and the camp starts up in June. We have about six weeks to replace the older refrigerator and freezer, and there are other areas with which we can help.
The summer camp trains Christian leaders for the future. The faith of many children has been strengthened and, in many cases, new and true relationships with the Lord were formed. I have met with many adult Christians in Jordan who have told me that their lives were changed by attending the summer camp as a child.
Every camp counselor at one time or another has attended the camp as a child. As adults they have returned to share their faith with others. That is a tremendous testimony to the presence of the Holy Spirit at Camp ***.
Final Results from Supporter Poll
Nigeria aid favorite of supporters: In February I mailed you and other supporters an overview of Religious Freedom Coalition programs and requested your advice on what areas to emphasize in 2023. The full results of the poll are now in, and the results really help me understand which programs supporters such as yourself want me to emphasize in 2023.
There were six categories and I asked supporters to rank each from 1 to 5. The six categories were:
- Increase aid to Nigerian Christian children orphaned by Islamic jihad.
- Establish transition houses and job training for Nigerian orphanage graduates.
- Continue Middle East adult diaper program and increase aid in Bethlehem area.
- Continue and/or expand Christmas for Refugees at current refugee locations.
- Work on Capitol Hill exposing persecution of Christians and promoting Christian values.
- Mr. Murray, please trust God to guide you in how to use my support.
The rankings were: 5=Must do, 4=Very important, 3=Important 2=If possible, 1=Maybe) More than one program could be a “5”
“Trust God to guide you” was clearly number one.
God is my guide in everything that I do, and I feel great comfort in supporters holding that standard high for me.
Caring for Nigerian Christian children orphaned by Islamic jihad is clearly the single most important aspect of ministry operations. The two Nigerian options ranked 2nd and 3rd after “trust God”.
The Diapers for Refugees program, that now assists primarily special needs and elderly adults is the second choice of supporters. Everyone wants programs in the Bethlehem area to continue but with different levels of service.
The Christmas for Refugees program had less support than in the past.
Advocacy on Capitol Hill was dead last which surprised me. Please see my last-minute update for my comments on Capitol Hill.
Please continue to pray for this work and for divine protection for the faithful all over the world who face persecution in their daily lives.
William J. Murray, President