From Institutions to Homes of Hope
Romania still has 60,000 institutionalized children in a corrupt, abusive system.
But our Romanian partner will soon be opening a second Home of Hope for six boys who will no longer be trapped in that system. The new family-oriented facility will, like the current home for girls, provide a stable family environment founded on a commitment to Christian principles. This is a home, not a house. It’s a favorable environment for personal development and we are thrilled about the expansion to a second home.
Support for both institutionalized kids and families in need continues. The Support for Life Center offers families and orphaned / abandoned children specific attention for their individual needs and concerns. Psychological counseling, academic tutoring, parental training, vocational training, financial assistance and Bible studies are all offered though the Center.
The Bible studies for teenagers offer activities and discussions about the value of education, human trafficking awareness, and discipleship. There is also spiritual and emotional support for these children, many of whom face terrible living conditions.
Reconciliation: Abandoned Children and their Families
Child abandonment remains a significant problem in Uganda.
CTL partner Mercy Childcare Ministry meets many such children. Mercy’s staff investigates each child’s family history and when possible facilitates their reunification with parents (if they are living) or with other relatives. Family empowerment programs offer a variety of support services to help these families create a stable environment for the children. Single mothers have access to “micro-lending” to establish small businesses. In cases where the families have been abusive, Mercy seeks possibilities for adoption or foster care.
For those children who can’t be placed in a family, there are eight family-style Mercy Village homes where the children live and receive care from a loving Christian couple.
Currently Mercy is ministering to over 200 children and has recently opened Mercy Medical Center to share the love of Christ with people in need of medical care and education on disease prevention.
Transformation: Protection, Provision and Church Planting
Children with no place to go in India are often vulnerable to human trafficking in its various forms. Stories of parent suicide, physical and sexual abuse, forced labor and extreme poverty color the background of many of the children receiving care from our partner ministry in India.
Not only does Berachah Children’s Home create a safe haven for these children, but the ministry has grown to support healthy families and communities. In outlying slum areas known for poverty and neglect, CTL (through partner Berachah Ministries) supports a health and nutrition program, family reunification and foster care. At the center of these services are local branch churches, meeting the spiritual needs of these communities.
Through Berachah Ministries there have been 69 churches planted, operating in five Indian states. Christianity has been spreading rapidly in India, but is facing many challenges and great persecution.
The ministry also supports single mothers and widows with vocational training and spiritual / emotional support in a sewing program, providing sewing machines and the training to operate them.
Two children’s homes provide children with protection in a family atmosphere as well as professional counseling, Biblical teaching and both life and study skills.
Some of the kids in the program attend college through the CTL / Berachah scholarship program. God is breaking the chain of poverty for these young people.
A new home was just completed for girls, meeting the requirements of the Indian government’s Juvenile Justice Act and creating more space for all the children in residential care. While family restoration is always desirable, in cases of abuse or neglect identified by state child welfare authorities, children are approved to be admitted to one of the two homes.
Children of War:
Living with Uncertainty
In eastern Ukraine, war persists between Ukraine itself and separatists supported by the Russian government. Children are especially vulnerable in this constant state of war.
Many of these kids live with their families in crowded shelters in filth and fear of the gunfire and bombs that have become a regular part of their lives.
Hundreds more are orphans, children whose parents are dead, missing, addicted or simply too poor to care for them. Many of these children live in institutions bordering the conflict.
A story that appeared online quotes one such child, a four-year-old girl who was abandoned to an orphanage:
”I have a brother and a sister and they are older than me,” she says. “They live at home with my mama.” And then, with hope rising in her voice, “My mama will come very soon and take me away from here maybe.”
Certainty is a commodity in short supply for these children, just like beds, food and parental love.
In response to these needs, Children to Love’s partner Future for Children Foundation is teaming up with SMILE, a remarkable group of Ukrainian Christian volunteers, to address the effects of war on children. SMILE is focused on introducing children to Jesus, and this Christmas will be visiting many schools, orphanages, shelters and boarding schools to share God’s love through evangelism programs and humanitarian care.
Message from John Penrose, President
CHRISTMAS IS COMING…
… And with your help our CTL partners will have gifts and special Christmas celebrations for the nearly 1,000 children we work with.
… There will be special Christmas programs in many of the communities where CTL regularly helps provide food, education, medical care, housing and the Gospel message. The Christmas programs and celebrations are a wonderful opportunity to share the Good News “A Savior has come!!”
… The work of our CTL partners is about so much more than just Christmas celebrations. It is focused on relational life transformation empowering those children and others we work with to “own their lives,” breaking the cycle of poverty, oppression, and spiritual darkness.
Your prayers and financial support allow this work to continue to help meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of so many without hope or help, other than what our CTL partners provide.
My prayer is that this Christmas will be a time of joy and blessing for you and your family.
Thank you for caring and sharing.