Chairman’s Report April 19, 2024

In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Program to move newly orphaned children from IDP camps to homes
Update: Orphanage in Jos prospers as we train Christian leaders for Nigeria
Update: Work continues for transition house for orphanage graduates
New: Full results from Religious Freedom Coalition supporter poll

Heart for the orphaned homeless

The first 100 families have been vetted and cleared to take in orphans from the 2023 Christmas massacre of Christian families in Plateau State.

There are a staggering 1,000 children made orphans and homeless by Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen attacks just before Christmas. Many of their parents died on Christmas Eve.

I saw incredible devastation and cruelty by the Islamic State in Iraq. In Iraq I visited Christian towns that had been completely destroyed. But the barbarism I have seen exhibited in Nigeria by the Fulani Herdsmen is worse than that committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria during the time it held large territories.

The focus of our ministry in Nigeria is still the orphanage in Jos. The orphanage currently houses and educates 145 children. At the most, 160 beds can be fitted into the current facilities.

Christian villages are being destroyed by
Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen leaving
hundreds without families or homes.

There is no space in the orphanage for the new orphans created just before Christmas when Christian villages between 30 and 50 miles south of our location were attacked by Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen.

Hundreds of mostly men died, but mothers were murdered as well. To make sure those surviving could not return, the houses were burned, irrigation pumps were destroyed, and cattle were run through the small farm
plots to destroy the crops.

The death counts were high, but there were also a great number of devastating injuries from high powered rifles and machetes. The farmers have no guns. It is against the law to own a gun in Nigeria, but the Fulani
herdsmen have military style weapons.

What can we do? Ten dollars a month does not sound like much compared to a Starbucks Frappuccino which can cost that much or more in some American cities. In rural Nigeria where many families live on very
little, that $10 is a lot of money.

The small amount of $10 monthly can make a difference for a family in deciding whether to take in an orphaned child that is a relative, such as a cousin.

More than 1,000 children were orphaned during the Christmas, 2023 attacks in Plateau State just south of Jos, Nigeria. Currently they are in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps and living in common rooms.

The younger orphans, particularly the girls, are in danger of being taken by traffickers for dubious purposes.

Many of the children have relatives in nearby rural areas that cannot afford to take them in.

Over 1,000 Christian children were orphaned in the 2023 Christmas-time attacks in Plateau State.

In rural Nigeria where food is cheap, $10 a month would cover the cost of food and other costs of caring for an orphaned child in their homes. This small stipend can make the difference in a child being in an actual home rather than in an orphanage.

Heart for the Persecuted Church is setting up a program to assist rural families by giving them $10 per month, per child who is related to them under spiritual guidelines.

What guidelines? The family must be associated with a church and attend on a regular basis. Interviews are being held to determine the commitment in the home to Jesus. The head of the family will be required to sign an agreement that the child will be in a Christian environment.

Will the children starve waiting for homes? No … A very generous supporter of the Religious Freedom Coalition in California has offered to send funds to feed for one month all 1,000 children who were orphaned just before Christmas. With some tribal help we can stretch that to two months. During that period, we should be able to find homes for every child.

Then what? We need $10,000 a month to meet our commitment to assist families in raising these orphans by giving them $10 per month per child.

I have already made this commitment with the full confidence that the Lord would provide. The Apostle Paul told the Philippians that God would provide all their necessities.

And my God shall fulfill all your necessities through His riches with glory in Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:19 1588 Geneva Bible

I have confidence that the Lord will lead supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition to make monthly commitments to support this group of 1,000 Christian children made homeless during December of 2023 by the relentless attacks of blood thirsty Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen in Plateau State, Nigeria.

Please pray for these newly orphaned children.

Please pray for God to intervene and stop further attacks against Christian famers in Plateau State.

Please pray for commitments of monthly contributions to help the children stay in the homes of relatives.

The most important aspect of helping these children is guarantees to the families who are taking them in that financial support is long term.

Current orphanage and transition house news.

Do these children look like orphans in a poverty ridden nation? We are preparing them to be athletically and academically strong. But we are not just feeding these children; we are preparing Christian leaders of the future.

Our Orphanage: All major construction is done for now. At some point a new administrative building will be needed. Our aid projects for displaced Christians in Plateau State are being run out of our orphanage, with the help of paid staff and volunteers.

The children from the orphanage have made several trips to Mangu and Barkin Ladi, to distribute aid to children far less fortunate. Bedding, clothing, food aid and spiritual guidance originate from the orphanage location in Jos.

The children at our orphanage are thriving. Bicycles are now available and some of the teenagers have participated in local races and won.

Chess and scrabble sets have been purchased for leisure time, but Bible study is still the most popular time for the children.

None of the “extras” the children now have are expensive in Nigeria. The minimum wage is 65,000 Naira a month. That minimum wage at the current exchange rate is equal to $49. Much of what we buy is used, and most often made in China. It is then sold at much lower prices than in the United States.

These very nice bicycles were imported used and cost less than $25 each.

Just eight years ago, when the Lord first led me to the now abandoned orphanage, the children had two meals a day consisting of cereal or gruel. There was limited clean water and no flushing toilets. The children had limited clothing and the original orphanage was in a rural area, thus making leaving the compound nearly impossible.

The orphanage did not even have a van to transport children until I purchased one.

My goal is not merely to clothe and feed these children. My goal is to prepare them as Christian leaders in their adult lives. Many will become church leaders and pastors.

Transition house progress: Preparation of the transition house for the orphanage graduates is continuing and it will be ready to occupy by late May. The transition house is not just a place to live, it will be a place of learning and preparation.

An agreement has been reached with a Christian college in Jos on education and training for the young men and women who have aged out of the orphanage. Continued education and training are essential to their success in a nation that has a large rate of youth unemployment.

Above I mentioned the average minimum wage in Nigeria is about $49 a month. That is for a full time 40 hour a week job. There is no hourly minimum wage for part time employees. Most youths have two or three part time jobs.

I want to make sure the young men and women we are shepherding receive an education that will put them in full time jobs, preferably in ministry for our Lord.

Results of our February poll: Have Christians given up on Congress?

In February I mailed you and other supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition asking for direction on our ministry efforts for 2024.

I do this every year, and seeking this direction from supporters is important to me. I am so close to our programs that it is very difficult to see one as a direction over another, yet sometimes financially those decisions have to be made.

The poll made clear that in at least one area many had given up hope.

Advocacy work on Capitol Hill placed dead last.

Supporters were asked to rank each area of our work in importance from one to five with five being the most important. Many supporters left the Capitol Hill line blank!

Not only was the line left blank, but many wrote comments such as “Don’t’ waste your time.” Others said Congress was “dysfunctional.” Some said to give up on any efforts with the State Department because it was “interested in gay rainbow flags at embassies.”

Advocacy work on Capitol Hill is time intensive and currently does yield few results, as there is constant infighting even within individual parties. Democrats are fighting each other over Israel and the Republicans fight each other for no apparent reason. Still, we must maintain some presence on Capitol Hill to bring awareness of the persecution of Christians worldwide.

The Results

Support for assisting Christian orphans in Nigeria was nearly double the votes for advocacy work on Capitol Hill.

Overall, the vote totals in some areas were close but these are the results.

  1. Continuing work with orphaned Christian children in Nigeria.
  2. Establish transition house and education for graduated orphans.
  3. Continue adult diaper programs for disabled Christians in the Middle East
  4. Continue the Christmas for Refugees program in needed areas.
  5. Advocacy works on Capitol Hill.

Regardless of the number of stars a supporter gave to individual programs, most also gave five stars to “ As God leads you.”

In every newsletter there is a reply form that supporters can use to designate their donations to certain areas. For the past year or two the gifts designated to work on Capitol Hill have drastically decreased. The results of the supporter poll were not surprising to me.

I am still participating in meetings on Capitol Hill. I still try to get the message across that America must be the light on the hill for religious liberty.

Please pray for the persecuted Christians around the world and for the safety of the newly orphaned children in Plateau State. And yes, please pray for our leaders in Washington!

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