I recently had a conversation with Annette Biggers of the ministry, Heart4Africa. I came away amazed by the work they are doing and wanted to share a bit of their vision with you. Annette is a professional photographer who, along with her husband Mike, started the ministry six years ago. Mike and Annette attended Saddleback Church in California at the time, and were encouraged to reach out to other nations through the teachings of that fellowship. They soon developed a heart for Africa and have hosted many African pastors at their home over the last several years. Upon visiting Uganda, their hearts were broken by the very poor conditions of a local orphanage.
Knowing they had to do something, they pulled together funds to purchase a new home in a safer area in which to house the children. They partnered with a local pastor to run the orphanage for them. I cannot do their story justice in such a limited space, so I encourage you to check out their web site at www.heart4africa.org. Watch the mini-documentary detailing the creation of the orphanage by clicking here.
What makes Heart4Afruca so special is the fact that two ordinary people came together and decided that they would be the hands and feet of Jesus to their world. Mike and Annette have no special training in running an orphanage, in fundraising, or even in operating a non-profit organization. In fact Annette told me they bought a copy of “Non-profits for Dummies” upon their return from Africa. They had no clue how to go about the undertaking God had placed on their hearts, but they did not allow that to get in their way. They simply knew what God had told them to do and they had the courage, faith and commitment to see it through. Mike and Annette are not super-humans or super-saints; they are simply two people who chose to live out the calling of Jesus Christ. They refused to see the plight of these children as a problem that existed “over there”, but instead sacrificed their time and finances to go and see firsthand what was happening. Upon seeing the situation, they did not turn away; they fully engaged the situation and trusted God to intervene. This is what we who are followers of Christ are called to do.
There are 26 children in the orphanage they started. It costs $120 per child each month to pay for their housing, food, clothing and schooling. Sponsorship of a child is $40 per month, which means each child needs three sponsors in order to meet all the financial requirements. Mike and Annette have given and continue to give sacrificially of their own resources to pay for the needs of the children. They do not yet have enough sponsors for all the children, and the recession has caused some to drop their commitment to the ministry. They have done whatever it takes over the years to make sure the needs of the orphanage are met. Annette turned her car in and they made do with a single vehicle in order to free up more resources for the ministry. How many of us are willing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of living out the mission of Christ?
Annette told me so many wonderful stories about her experiences with the children. She has witnessed miracles of healing and has been overwhelmed with the presence of Jesus while looking into the eyes of a child. Perhaps better than most, Annette truly understands that what we do for the least of these, we do for Christ. Please take the time to visit the Heart4Africa web site and learn more about this amazing ministry of love. I encourage you to support her business which sees most if not all of its profits go to support the ministry. You can find her on the web at www.triplecord.com. Finally, I challenge all of us to do our part in caring for the needs of these children. Let’s not be bystanders watching others do the work we were all created to do. Heart4Africa needs sponsors for ten children. Will you do your part and give to support these kids? I commit today to sponsor a child through this ministry. Will you join me in doing the same? If you cannot afford $40 per month, consider a commitment of a lesser amount and we can pool resources together to sponsor a child. Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org telling me what you can give to help sponsor a child, and I will assemble all the pledges together and pass along to Annette how many children the readers of this site have agreed to sponsor. She will get in touch with you to let you know where and how to send your gift each month.
This is such an easy way to do the work we have been given to do, yet the ramifications of our decision will yield eternal results. We’ll be talking more about Heart4Africa in the days and weeks to come. Talking with Annette, you cannot help but be caught up in her enthusiastic devotion to serve the Lord with all of her heart, and to reach out in love to those in need of His touch. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, people no different from you or me. They have simply decided to take seriously the Word of God and to be a sheep living among the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Let’s band together to support our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus to these children in need. Don’t turn away but rather join together in building the Kingdom of God.