Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 8--Emmanuel

{Emmanuel wants his children's dreams to come true!}

Yesterday I shared the story of Jogma with you. Today I’m going to share the story of her father, Emmanuel. Emmanuel and his wife Evelyn are the directors of an orphanage that houses 33 children. They have three biological children (Jogma and two younger daughters), but their huge hearts enable them to love and nurture 30 other children as well! I don’t know how they do it! They have also endured alot--two armed robberies, children becoming teenagers and making poor choices, the death of Emmanuel’s mother--but they press on. They also are very familiar with plenty and want. They know hardship, hunger, terror and suffering; but laugher, joy, hope, determination and love abound!

{Emmanuel teaching a computer class in the school building that he built with dirt, mud, rock and his hands}
Emmanuel is the hardest working orphanage director that I’ve ever met, by far. Not only is he a parent to 33 children, but he also juggles running a school for more than 100 community children, running a successful cold water business, up keeping a large garden, and his hands are always dirty because you can usually find him making mud blocks for another one of his construction projects. Oh yeah! He also teaches adults about computers and wants to start a driving school. And, he coaches and plays on a community football team with young men and kids.
{One of my favorites...a father watching over his children}
Emmanuel and Evelyn don’t just sit back and wait for free handouts. They are constantly doing things for themselves. We dug them a clean water well about two years ago, and Emmanuel decided to start a cool water business. When I left Liberia, he was making a new building to house the generator and freezers for his business out of handmade dirt blocks. He is such a hardworking man! 
{Evelyn and I sorting out seeds for their garden}
Emmanuel isn’t the only entrepreneur and hard worker. His wife Evelyn is the main caretaker for the kids--she lines them up everyday for baths, medicine, lotion, powder, fixing hair, brushing teeth and meals. She is the master gardener--they grow enough vegetables to eat at least a few meals a week from the garden. Evelyn also in the charge of the cool water business. She fills bags, ties them, loads up coolers of people who sell their water and handles all of the finances. She also holds sewing classes for the girls in the orphanage, but also teaches women in the community how to sew. And, four months ago, Evelyn added grandmother to her list of duties.

{Evelyn holding a sleeping Eddy}
Emmanuel and Evelyn truly care for their children, and it is so evident. Their living situations are modest, at best. They take care of what they’re given. They have managed to create a warm and inviting home for their children, and for the constant stream of visitors who want to see an orphanage director doing things right. Emmanuel and Evelyn have high expectations, hopes and dreams for their children. Emmanuel never finished college and has spent his life working very hard. He wants his children to have the opportunity to go to college and to have a job. That’s why he opened a school for the community--because education is so important to him! 
{An afternoon under the plum tree with Emmanuel} 
Those hot afternoons under the plum trees that I talked about yesterday...Emmanuel and Evelyn are frequent participants in the dancing, singing and laughing. Emmanuel will take a break from back-breaking work to sit down and laugh. Some days, he just can’t stop laughing and it makes me giggle to watch a grown man turn into a child! Emmanuel is not just an orphanage director, but he is a friend. We share rice, stories, joys and hardships together. And he loves my cake! Emmanuel greets me with a hug on every visit, and loves to grab my hand (or if he’s covered in dirt, then he extends the top of his wrist--the Liberian way) and show me what he’s working on that day. 
We have big dreams in the upcoming year for Emmanuel, Evelyn, Jogma and the rest of the children! We have a dream for a new combined school and dormitory, along with a new security fence. Construction began on the security fence a few weeks ago, and we can't wait until it is complete. We are currently raising funds to start on the school and dorm. You will see below what their current school looks like, and what we hope to provide for them.

Your action steps for today are: PRAY. Pray for Emmanuel and Evelyn--for strength, energy, wisdom, rest and renewal. Pray that God would reign in their home. Pray for safety, security and good health for them and their children. Pray that God would bless them for their sacrifices and that He would bless them beyond measure for their genuine love and care for their children. Pray that God would enable us so that we can better empower Emmanuel and Evelyn--for their sake and for the sake of their children. Join us in making Emmanuel's dream come true by clicking here to donate.

{Rendering of orphanage property and the dreams we have for Emmanuel, Evelyn and their children}

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