>Creating Communities of Compassion

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My journey in Africa began with a deeper asking of what love looked like. Not in words but in action. What does love look like to a recovering warzone? Surely not another institution! But community, grass roots simplicity where people are empowered to become the answers to their own problems as Jesus pours out His creativity into their hearts from heaven. So in light of these values as we are actually beginning to develop the land trusted to us, we have adjusted course a bit to reflect our journey into love. We are so grateful how God leads us step by step.

Amy from NZ has come on board long term to grab hold of our vocational training program, which will become a huge part of what we do in training our children and leaders to be self supporting through creative sustainable means.

Already over simple charcoal and kerosene stoves she has had our older girls learning to bake scrumptuous cakes and breads!

Eventually our vocational program will include gardening/ag projects, a top end culinary program/restaurant with international cuisine in a garden setting, bread making, herbal cosmetics, arts, local crafts, microenterprise, business skills and periodic residential (3 month or otherwise) widow/single mother training for the community in skills, discipleship and hygiene. Amy has the vision for this, the skills to make it happen culinary and otherwise and is rearing to go.

We will also be building broader relationships with craftsmen in our community to set up part time apprenticeships for our children to learn various trades such as woodcraft or masonry. Chris has also joined us recently. He is a huge blessing not only for now overseeing our overall land development, but also for discipling our guys and helping them learn practical construction skills at higher calibers than are common practice here. YAY God!

We have decided to make the children’s village truly a village and scale down the number of houses and children, as our primary way of reaching more children will be to plant new churches or empower churches that we partner with to each care for 10 children in their communities. We will be doing this through strategic partnerships with these churches that help train leaders practically in vocational microenterprise skills to help support their families and as a church their ministry to the children. Love and the Gospel is holistic concerned with every aspect of life, not only spiritual development.

Our houses will now be arranged in sub-community pods with 7 houses around a central meeting structure called a pyatt. This allows for family, cluster and overall village community dynamics- creating levels of community instead of an institution. We will only be taking in 10-12 children per house with 2 pods on the boys side (140) and 2 on the girls/babies side. The 3rd pod on the girls side will be interspersed with children and widows housing for the vocational training program once developed.

Our goals are to keep it simple solid and sustainable which are the 3 adjectives God gave me at the outset. We want our children to leave with the life skills they need to support themselves and their families as they press into all God has for them!

If you would like more information on how you could help or be involved as we continue to pioneer these new programs and step into this vision, please contact me at irisminsudan@gmail.com for more information.

Love in Jesus,

Michele