September Team: Bringing Kids Home
September 3rd, 2015 by Steph Whitacre
One of the main goals for our September team is to bring home 5 orphans to SERV’s House of Hope. These children range in age from 4 to 6 years old and will come from villages scattered throughout Turkana, within a 40-kilometer (approximately 25 mile) radius of House of Hope. For those of us who have never been part of a mission like this, the idea of introducing small children to a new life can be overwhelming! I found myself asking questions like, “How does SERV choose the children?” and “What happens when the kids first arrive at House of Hope?”
I asked Shelby Thayer, who is on staff at SERV, to share a little bit about what our September team and the children will experience. Shelby has a big smile and a genuine love for the kids who call House of Hope their home. Thank you, Shelby, for sharing your story:
In the summer of 2012, I took my first trip to Kenya with SERV. We had a great group of college kids and young adults. We also had the unique and special opportunity to bring in 5 new kids to House of Hope!
When I was told we were going to “bring in new kids,” I did not know what that really meant. My mind was filled with questions like: Were we going to go to a remote village and just choose which kids to come live at House of Hope? Would they have to leave their families forever? Did they even want to go?
The experience of bringing the children to House of Hope was nothing like I thought and better than I could have imagined! The staff at House of Hope (who are well connected with the local villages) had preselected the children based on greatest need. These kids had somehow lost both of their parents, due to sickness or the violent acts of others.
In Kenya, orphaned children often are left with a family member who may already have multiple children. Unfortunately, these kids may not be welcomed into their new family as “one of their own” and may suffer neglect and lack of care.
Once a child is selected to enter House of Hope, SERV’s staff gradually introduces him/her and the family to the House of Hope, bringing the kids in to meet the rest of the children and start making friends. When we went to “officially” pick the children up, they had been to House of Hope multiple times and already had some relationships built. The kids did not seem sad or nervous at all when our team pulled up to their hut. They simply took the clothes on their little backs and gladly joined us to start their new lives.
We often say they kids at House of Hope have won the lottery because they will receive constant care, an education, a safe place to live, and a family to call their own.
I could not be more excited for our September team to bring in the next 5 children because I know what an impactful experience it is all around. Our House of Hope family is growing!
Good news! You don’t have to travel all the way to Kenya to make a difference in the lives of these 5 children. House of Hope operates in large part through the financial and relational investment of individuals and families through child sponsorship. You can be a part of Evans’, Joshua’s, Ken’s, Kevin’s, and Nancy’s futures from the very beginning. To find out more about SERV’s child sponsorship program, please check out our Donate page.