For those of you that have been following this blog for the ten months since its inception, you are aware of my family’s love of the Ochoa family, and of the great loss (this side of eternity) of Talitha Ochoa to cerebral malaria earlier this year. In fact, this blog was started as I was deeply moved by the tragedy and started writing about Talitha.
You also know that God blessed David and Rhonda Ochoa with a new baby, Josiah, last month. We praise God for again adding to their numbers and expanding their legacy yet further.
During the past couple of years, the Ochoas were serving in Uganda to train indigenous leaders in ministry to children. In their region they had over one thousand churches at their disposal, churches that hadn’t established (or didn’t know how to establish) children’s ministries.
David and Rhonda’s goal was to see the vibrant, holistic development of children in the developing world, through the training and equipping of indigenous leaders.
It still is.
To that end, I’m pleased to announce that they have now joined us at World Orphans for the continuation of this purpose. The official start date is January 1st – a new year of ministry to children, a new year of service and endless possibilities.
Rhonda described the role discovery and transition in the last Ochoa prayer newsletter as follows. I encourage you to read it as a lesson in perseverance and faithfulness. Good lessons for all of us as we face a new year ourselves…
After we returned home early this year we began to pray, "What now?" "Where now God?"
The two previous years we spent working with HESED Ministries in Jinja, Uganda, under the umbrella of Africa Inland Mission (AIM). Earlier this year we stepped away from ministry with HESED. David and I were both agreed that this horrible tragedy was not meant to stop us from Kingdom work. Both of us still had such a passion to reach children by the training of indigenous leaders, yet our souls needed deep healing and direction.
"God we belong to you. We want to follow you, even though we are scared and crushed. Show us your will. Direct our path and give us the strength to follow." This was our prayer.
We left our future in God’s capable hands, trusting that He would be faithful, and went about the immediate – the nurturing of our family.
Early summer we were invited to join some dear friends in the ministry to orphans. When time availed late summer, we planned a trip to Castle Rock, Colorado, where we could hear about the ministry and stay with Paul and Lisa Myhill for some needed fellowship. Paul enthusiastically shared with us about the ministry of World Orphans and his dreams to go deeper in their partnerships with the orphan homes. We felt as though we had known about World Orphans, for we had met up with Paul several times in Jinja during his visit to some of the children’s homes. Yet what we heard was so different than what we had understood previously.
David and I were so excited to hear of World Orphans’ partnerships with indigenous church leaders to foster care for their local orphans. Notice I said partner, not make dependencies. We have so often seen that westerners give nationals what they truly do not need – money. We do understand that nationals usually are lacking the basic needs of life, but the approach to fixing that can’t be to just hand them money if we want to see spiritual transformation occur.
The problem is much deeper than that. God is the only true answer to their needs. Besides, it is not our job to "FIX IT." That is God’s role and we do not want to be seen as the "FIX IT MAN!"
World Orphans find strong, reputable national leaders that have formed a home for orphans through their local church. They then fund them to build a children’s home/church building. The national leader is responsible to hire local men and women that can construct and complete the building. No western construction crew.
When an orphan home is in the middle of a township or village, then the community can begin to see the local church reach out in compassion for their own orphans as well as the people of their area. This is crucial in building the local church and this is the World Orphan model.
Many times we have found beautiful, faithful leaders with a passion in a given area, yet they have not been discipled to do the work of the Kingdom. World Orphans desires to come along beside the national leaders to equip them in the work at hand.
This is a dream job – to be able to gracefully equip indigenous leaders around the world to raise up godly, loved, secure children with a deep foundation in their Lord Jesus Christ.
After a great visit, we headed back to Texas. Several months later, David and I realized the great peace, actually more than peace – even excitement – that we had about this opportunity.
God had made HIS direction clear and had so graciously laid it out before us: We were ready to follow Him in joining World Orphans.
If you wish to support the Ochoas financially during their transition, please make checks payable to World Orphans, 1840 Woodmoor Dr., Monument, CO 80132. Write "Ochoas" in the memo line of your check. All contributions are tax-deductible.