One thing we want to do at Heart of the Bride is be as open and honest as we can.  As partners of our ministry, we want you to journey with us through the highs and lows of what God has called us to do.  Orphan care is not easy and it is not always “successful” in the traditional sense.   No matter how well you care for a kid from the street or how hard you work to show love and provide stability to an orphan that has experienced abandonment, some of them leave.  Some choose life on the street with all of the “freedom” it promises.  Sometimes they just openly rebel like many of our own biological kids.  Oh, how we long for a 100% success rate, but we live in a fallen world. 

Our ministry to street girls in Kitwe, Zambia, Daughters of Destiny, is probably the toughest ministry we have. If you read the “Joy in Pain (Zambia)” article you got a little idea of what we’re talking about. This past year, the outreach of Daughters of Destiny felt led to step out of the box a little and help a pregnant street girl named Janet who really didn’t fit the profile of someone ready to be rescued. But Janet has been pregnant before with bad results for the baby. Our team felt led to intervene. Janet did well in the program but always kept a eye for the streets. There was hope that she would stay after her baby was born but she chose to leave her baby and return to a very difficult way of life. It was hard on our staff who love her so much, but they were able to place her baby with relatives and offer them assistance. It wasn’t the outcome we’d hoped for, but it is so much better than it could have been. 

Our team is Zambia has mourned several other losses this year. Before Mapalo was brought into the Daughters of Destiny house, her position was offered to Mary. After a few days, Mary ran back to town. Several months later we found out that she was killed when hit by a bus and was 3 months pregnant. Sylvester was a long-term resident in our program and had made it to the transition phase which gives them a little more freedom. He was lured by some friends into a drinking binge one night and apparently ingested something worse. He was in the hospital for several weeks and emerged with some lasting brain damage. Sylvester was transferred to our new Skills Training Center program and offered a second chance. After a few months, he left. His one-time decision to try the things of the world has left him permanently changed. 

In Kenya, we continue to discover children in horribly abusive situations. I won’t mention names because these are ongoing cases that we are working with, but we know something more must be done. “Hope from Brokenness (Kenya)” gives a little more detail on one that we’ve already worked with, and the change intervention brought in Nzlani’s life. We desperately want to offer this opportunity to so many more. 

Our HOB family has also seen loss again this year. Our missionaries and staffers have lost parents and grandparents from this earthly life.  One of our partners lost a sister and a brother.  But we do not mourn as those who have no hope, we know we will see them again.  Praise the Lord. We are also dealing with the fact that our annual Emerald Coast Mudrun for Orphans, our largest fund raiser each year, is still looking for a new site. We have one option but haven’t been given final approval yet. There is much to work out. Please pray as we seek God’s will for this event.