I needed a phone charger, so I rode my bike to a the electronics store to buy one. The sales girl greeted me with a dazzling smile. There was something about that smile….
Astonished, I remembered! I first met “Alice” when she was 12. She had come to my office with her heavily-indebted mother. When I saw her at the store, she must have been 16.
Alice’s story as a 12 year old was tragic. She understood her mom’s debt burden and wanted to help her badly. Indeed, her love for her mom caused her to fall prey to sexual abuse.
A so-called family friend said to Alice:
“I know how we can help your mom. I’ll take you to Hue where Vietnamese men who live in American come to tour the old Imperial City. They’re rich and they’re easy to get money from. Just do what they want.” She then took Alice to Hue and set up evening meetings with men.
As bad as it was, the abuse was only for a night and for that we are thankful. One business man cancelled because a meeting ran late. However, at least one man kept his appointment.
Alice’s mom quickly found out about the abuse and reported it. Social Services asked Orphan Voice to help just days afterwards. We did all we could. While we weren’t able to carry out our complete plan to help her, enough was implemented to see that she wasn’t trafficked or abused again. The abuse was a one time event.
That vaguely familiar smile triggered that flood of memories for me that day. Lots of emotion there.
Alice was gainfully employed and on her own. Her smile that day also told me that all was well.
Orphan Voice staff, through your generosity, is enabled to touch hundreds of children, youth, and government officials each month. We need your support, both in prayer and in finances, to reach out to other “Alices,” to provide for the orphan, and to touch with Everlasting love the lowly and hurting. Will you help us today? Click HERE to help!
Enduring Voices 2017
Mission accomplished! 103 miles completed. Craig ran 92 of those miles and would have run them all except for severe calf strains incurred from Day 2’s running up and down steep mountain slopes. Colin, Gerald and Ryan teamed up to run the distance in relay fashion. It was Vietnam hot and 103 miles is a long way!
A box truck followed the runners. On top was a speaker looping a recorded anti-trafficking message: “I’m more precious than gold!” – “My body belongs to me.” The 8×15 feet anti-trafficking signs on both sides of the truck read: “For the children’s safety, call (hotline number)” and “Safety is their right.”
The novelty of seeing Westerners running on a hot day coupled with the messages emanating from the loud speaker and the signs served to raise awareness about the trafficking problem. The Enduring Voices runners successfully challenged the attitude that “it doesn’t happen here.”
While Craig and the team were running for three days, Daisy (at the left of the picture below) taught “More Precious Than Gold” anti-trafficking seminars to 4,000 school children! 4,000 in three days! Students, teachers and administrators were informed, challenged, warned and equipped to protect themselves and those under their care. Praise God.
Craig and the team not only raised awareness about human trafficking but they also raised funds for Orphan Voice’s three anti-trafficking programs – nearly $14,000 of it! Many of you gave to encourage the runners and further Orphan Voice’s anti-trafficking work. Thank you!
If you missed your chance to support Craig and the team and would like invest to protect the innocent, donate HERE.
Keeping Her Family Together
Phuc: A New Beginning
“I Don’t Know Who Will Help Me”
Hien’s mom died when she was two. Though he tried, her mentally handicapped father wasn’t up to the task of raising four children. Hien and her siblings were often alone and sometimes hungry.
Seeing that the children weren’t safe, government social workers took legal custody of them. They placed Hien in the village orphanage.
Vi and Grandmother Huong
Vi’s Certificate For Excellence At New Beginnings Awards Ceremony
“Grandma–I Won’t Stay With You Tonight”
Vi often spends the night with her Grandmother Huong, and like most grandmas, Huong loves that and always cooks Vi’s favorite foods.
Last month, Vi brought Huong tears of joy. How? She texted her grandmother in Vietnamese: “Grandma–I won’t stay with you tonight. I’ll go home with Mom.”
Why was that text so moving? Huong cried because since Vi’s early years, she thought that Vi wouldn’t be able to live normally. You see, Vi is deaf. And in the countryside, deaf children don’t attend school, don’t learn to sign, don’t learn to read or write or learn math. They don’t get good jobs later either.
Huong knew that Vi attended Orphan Voice’s New Beginnings School for the Deaf, but she didn’t know about the quality of her classes. When Vi texted her in perfect Vietnamese, though, she realized that New Beginnings is very much a school and that Vi is very much a student!
Because of you, Vi and her classmates are learning signing, math, writing, reading and character. She’s gaining skills that will make her an overcomer!
In its special needs outreaches, Orphan Voice provides deaf education, physical therapy, wheelchairs, and cleft lip/palate operations. But you make it happen.
To “keep it happening” for our special needs community, donate HERE or mail your support to Orphan Voice, P.O. Box 910410, Lexington, Kentucky 40591. Thank you!
New Beginnings Award Ceremony
Students celebrate a successful school year! Enjoy the smiling faces of students, parents, grandparents and teachers!
You enable Orphan Voice to feed the hungry. We recently discovered three siblings, from 8-15, living in their village whose mom lived 5 hours away in a larger city. The mom’s plan was to work in the city for several months, build up her savings, and then return to her children.
While she worked apart from her children, she returned home monthly to see them, bringing them a large bag of rice each trip. Trouble was, that bag wasn’t enough to last until she returned the next month and the children were reduced to asking neighbors for help when the food ran out.
When we visited, the children were eating only two meals per day. The oldest child plaintively said: “Please help me. They (his younger siblings) always ask for food and I don’t know what to do.”
In the end, we provided the children sufficient food until their mom could find work closer to home– which she did.
Mobility: Personal Energy Transportation Carts
Some physically handicapped men and women in the Vietnamese countryside don’t own a wheelchair. They depend on others to go from place to place– maybe a friend lifts them onto a motor bike and carries them or maybe they make “lifters’ with blocks of wood and carry themselves around with their hands.
Mobility is just as important to them as it is to us bi-peds!
Because of the generosity of Orphan Voice partners, 20 rural people now experience the mobility that we take for granted. Check these grateful ones out!
Orphan Voice’s special needs ministry consists of the Phu Ninh Therapy Center, transportation cart distribution as shown here, cleft palate and lip repair and deaf education. All happen because of your care and love! Thank you!
Family Life Transformation
We are compelled to bless the least of these, and that means Family Life Transformation. We want families moving from dependence to independence. Put another way: we find blessing in the delivery of rice to hungry families, but ultimately, that family providing for its own needs is the goal. That’s what our Keeping Families Together program is all about. We don’t want a destitute, single mom looking for an orphanage to place her children in.
Today, you meet Phuong. The emotions of Phuong’s story run the gamut – from despair to joy and you’ll see why.
“I Don’t Want To Leave My Mother!”
With three children, ages 10, 8 and 3, Phuong and her husband, Duc, had family riches, even though as the world reckons they were poor. Duc worked as a builder’s helper which paid enough to put food on the table. Phuong stayed at home with the kids. Given that Phuong is deaf which makes finding a job difficult anyway, she was happy.
The family’s life was upended when Duc died of a stroke one year ago. Like a bolt from the blue, Phuong’s life suddenly and drastically changed.
After the funeral, with mounting bills, no income and the emotional loss of her beloved husband, Phuong sank into deep depression. She could barely function. Neighbors and friends provided food for the children.
At the nadir of Phuong’s grief, fearing that she couldn’t feed her children and send them to school, she arranged with a lady from a neighboring village to adopt her oldest daughter, Nguyen. Everyone thought the adoption best for Nguyen and the family in the long run, but not Nguyen! She cried out: “I don’t want to leave my mother!” That stopped the adoption!
At that point, local leaders asked Orphan Voice for help. Soon afterward, Phuong and her children were accepted into our Keeping Families Together program. Check it out to see what happened.
“Have I not wept for her who is in trouble?
Hope is Born
During our staff’s first visit, Phuong and her children were visibly depressed. First, we got food into the house. We then obtained needed medical care for the children. Several counseling sessions followed. Only slowly did hope arise in Phuong’s heart. But it did arise!
We needed to find a way for Phuong to support her family. Her deadliest enemy continually discouraged her. Many negative, even compelling facts, supported failure: 1) Phuong is uneducated; 2) she’s deaf; 3) she’d never worked outside the home and thus had no to skills to build on. Overwhelming, huh?
But, Phuong lives near a busy road. With encouragement and hope, that busy road provided a way forward!
Making More Money
After much prayer and Orphan Voice-provided training, Phuong opened a food shop along the busy roadway near her home to sell sandwiches (banh my) and sugar cane juice (nuoc mia).
We employed a multi-faceted approach. First, Phuong grew vegetables to use and sell in her new business. Second, we purchased a sugar cane press and cup sealing machine to equip her to make and sell nuoc mia. Third, we mentored her to buy vegetables and bread at the village market, add value to them by making sandwiches, and then sell the sandwiches (banh my) and sugar cane juice (nuoc mia) for a profit. We also trained her in book-keeping, budgeting, and business planning.
After cleaning, splitting, skinning and cutting the cane into the 12 inch lengths, Phuong squeezes the sweet juice out of the sugar cane by running it through the press. The press deposits the exhausted cane in a throw-away pile while collecting the nuoc mia in a separate bowl. Phuong then pours the nuoc mia into cups and adds a little ice. Another Orphan Voice-provided machine seals the iced nuoc mia with a plastic wrap. Then, its ready to sell!
Hot and tired men and women coming in from the fields love it! The nuoc mia is a powerful thrist quencher and it tastes great!
Phuong also sells sandwiches. At 5:00 each morning, Phuong walks to the village market and buys bean sprouts, eggs, bread and cucumbers. These will make their way into her sandwiches. Vegetables grown in her garden supplement these morning market purchases.
A clean and attractive “food-cart,” purchased for Phuong by Orphan Voice, has compartments to hold the various sandwich ingredients. At breakfast and lunch time, Phuong first warms the bread (baguettes). She then adds eggs and the customer’s vegetables of choice to round out each sandwich. It tastes great!
Now you’ll understand why Phuong is happy. Her profit from selling banh my and nuoc mia is 100,000–150,000 VND per day (from $4.50 to $6.50)! That’s enough to provide for her children, including sending them to school!
A Wounded Warrior
“My Wife Will Love Me Now!”
(Click on the picture to see the video!)
Note from Tony: My Pepsi Challenge to you: If you watch Huong’s 15 second video and don’t like it, I’ll buy you a Pepsi (or Coke) the next time we’re together!)
Huong fought in the army and was injured in battle years ago. That injury left him unable to walk unassisted. He walks today only with the help of his devoted, 70 year old wife, Dung.
During their lives, Huong worried about the burden that his disability caused Dung. He says: “I always wanted to release the burden off her.”
Huong never owned a wheelchair or walking aid – only Dung’s helping hand.
Hope came to Huong and Dung’s hearts when Orphan Voice delivered a shipment of PET (personal energy transportation) carts to his village. We quickly qualified Huong to receive a PET cart. It was an exciting day! After training, Huong was “off to the races.”
The results? See for yourself by clicking here. Wow! When you watch, you’ll see one happy guy! (Remember Tony’s Pepsi Challenge!)
Huong has gained control over his life and feels more independent. Before receiving his PET cart, he was largely immobile; now, he rides daily to neighbors’ houses to visit. He will even use his newfound mobility to make some extra money!
Dung says: “Thank you, Orphan Voice, for giving my husband the cart. Without your help, he would never have had this precious gift!”
Huong simply says: “I will remember Orphan Voice’s help forever.“
Orphan Voice is heavily invested in caring for the needs of those with special needs: at the Phu NInh Therapy Center; at New Beginnings School for the Deaf; with PET cart distributions; and by cleft lip and palate corrective surgeries. With your help, we will reach even more. Want to be a part?
To change a life forever, click here to DONATE today.
It Was Me
Click on the picture to view this powerful video!
Recently Orphan Voice partnered with Danang International Fellowship to visit patients at a local cancer hospital. Medical care being less developed in Vietnam than in the United States, many of these patients have little hope. Take a moment to see how reaching out to others brings hope and powerfully affects lives – even with a language barrier! (Click below)