I really can’t tell you how excited I am to kick off The Giving Challenge today. I’ve been praying about every aspect of this project for months, even down to which ministry would be first. I’ve never felt more confirmed in something from the Lord than that this is the right ministry to get us started:
147 MILLION ORPHANS
I have seen co-founder Gwen Oatsvall from afar (pictured on the left with a Haitian baby) and admired her work with orphans for several years now. I finally met her in person last year at the dotMOM event in Birmingham. She’s actually from Nashville and lives right here in my part of town, but it took going out-of-state before we could finally connect. Then just last week, as we were making the final touches on this launch, I was out running on a nearby trail—and I literally ran into Gwen! It was such a moment of the Lord’s sweet presence and His blessing, confirming to me that The Giving Challenge is definitely His will for Faithful Provisions.
Gwen Oatsvall and co-founder Suzanne Mayernick are simply two moms who have a heart to care for orphans everywhere. When they met each other nine years ago, they were both in the process of adoption—one pursuing a domestic adoption and the other going international. They found they were “kindred spirits” with their love, compassion, and concern for orphaned children both in their community and across the globe. As they began to learn more and more about the world-wide needs of orphans, they felt God calling them to be a voice for these children who have no voice.
Today, the ministry of 147 Million Orphans has not just two voices in Gwen and Suzanne (pictured above with their families), but many arms and legs as they provide others with multiple ways to help the world’s orphans:
- Sponsoring a Child
- Volunteering for Orphan Care Ministry
- Rocking babies at an orphanage
- Financially supporting those who adopt
- Purchasing products that provide needed funds for food, water, and medicine
I asked Gwen what we could do specifically, as a community, to help 147 Million Orphans. They have a lot of different things going on in their ministry and there are so many needs. I wanted to know a specific need that we, as a community, could do something about.
“Well, we have 28 babies in our feeding program in Haiti who need baby formula,” Gwen answered. “Because of the immense poverty and malnourishment here, the mothers’ milk has dried up. They have no way to feed their babies unless we help. Can you imagine not being able to feed your baby? That’s the plight of these moms. They can’t.”
You may be feeding your baby right now as you’re scanning this blog post. What if you couldn’t?
Gwen shared that in every third world country, there have to be strict checks and balances in place. “If you are just giving things away,” she says, “with no questions and no accountability, more than likely it is being sold. Moms don’t do that to be mean to their children; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. They live in such poverty that they can actually sell that can of formula and buy something cheaper, and not as healthy, that would feed more members of their family. But, of course, that defeats the purpose.”
So they have a system in place. Partnering with myLIFEspeaks, a ministry on the ground in Haiti, 147 Million Orphans seeks to provide formula for the 28 infants in their feeding program. Mothers are given a canister of formula each week. The canister is dated on the bottom. In order to get another canister of formula, the mom must bring in the empty one the next week. At that time, her baby will be weighed and checked by an on-site registered nurse. (In the photo on the right, you see nurse Carmela with Suzanne, Gwen, and a precious little one.) The nurse makes sure the baby is healthy and gaining weight. If the baby is not thriving, the medical staff is alerted to a problem.
It takes $1000 to provide formula for one month for these 28 babies. That is a lot of money to any single one of us. But if we put our resources together, we can do it easily. All I’m asking for is for 100 people to give $10. Honestly, I’d love to see Faithful Provisions be able to supply the funds for 3 months, or 6 months! I’d like you to give what you’re able, but if only 100 people gave $10, we could take care of the needs of these babies for one month—little ones who are so precious to our Lord.
28 babies who don’t listen to Baby Einstein…
28 babies whose lives aren’t documented on Facebook via pictures and video of proud parents…
28 babies who don’t ride in plush car seats to the mall, Chick-fil-A, and the nearby superstore…
28 babies who don’t have every benefit known to man…
28 babies who need our help.
Providing $1000 this month would shake down this way:
- 1000 of us give $1
- 500 of us give $2
- 250 of us give $4
- 200 of us give $5
- 100 of us give $10
When I saw Gwen last week, she said that she and Suzanne will be making a trip to the Haiti clinic in May. She will be able to bring back a full report and pictures of what we were able to do as team to help the orphans.
Remember, the only difference between you and Gwen and the ladies she works with is that they said, “Yes!” when God called them. Are you ready to be a part of something bigger?
Make a Donation for Baby Formula
- Go HERE to donate to 147 Million Orphans via Paypal.
- On the “Purpose” line, put “The Giving Challenge”
Learn more about The Giving Challenge and what we can do as a community on Faithful Provisions!