Bananas and Blessing

Bananas and Blessing

Every step brings joy to his mother’s heart! 

I’d never bought 30 lbs of bananas, but was glad to pay 200.000 VND ($10.00) because the cause was good! Anh supports her family of four by leaving home at 7:00 each morning to go to the Tam Loc Mountain where she gathers bananas to sell. After gathering a load, she carefully straps the produce to her motorbike, slowly putters to the village and sells her “crop” as best she can. On a good day, she makes 40.000–60.000 VND (about 2-3 dollars). This is her life. Into that life, Tien came.  He was beautiful and seemed normal.  But as time passed, Anh noticed that he was not developing normally. The daily grind of earning money kept her from quick attention to Tien’s problem.  Finally, an alarmed Anh took Tien to the Tam Ky Hospital where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy–and given no hope for improvement. Refusing to accept that answer, Anh took Tien to the larger Danang City Hospital.  Doctors there recommended that Anh take Tien to Orphan Voice’s Phu Ninh Therapy Center.  And so, nearly six months ago, when Tien was 18 months old, Orphan Voice staff saw him for the first time.

In those early days, Tien could not sit up unaided, could not roll over, and of course, could not walk. He was a very weak, young boy.We are grateful! Within a month of beginning therapy (and eating lots of better-quality food at the Center), Tien rolled over.  Then, he sat up!  Now he walks on the walker!  He exercises, and is gaining strength, mobility, and confidence.Anh is overjoyed.  That’s why we were happy to buy all her bananas.  We celebrated too!

Thank you, Orphan Voice partners!  Each day, you provide therapy to special needs children–many of whom are severely disabled.  Each day, you bring hope to the hopeless.  Each day, you provide supplemental food to families that don’t have quite enough. Each day, you train parents in family finances, basic health principles and how to care for their special needs child.  You do a lot– and there is eternal credit for you.  Bless you!

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You Changed My Life!

Orphan Voice is given the holy privilege of helping orphans, special needs children and children-at-risk in Southeast Asia. We are sent to the poor, to the oppressed, to the least of these.  We’d rather be here than in a King’s court.

In our American experience, if one of our children is born with a cleft lip, “getting it fixed” happens almost automatically–even for the poor.  For the precious ones that we meet here, that surgery may not happen.  Due mainly to “outlook oppression,” caused by extreme poverty, superstitious beliefs,  no belief in a loving Father, and lack of hope, a child may not get to the hospital.  That increases the chances that the child will not live, but most live and adapt-and learn to live, to speak after a fashion and to eat.

Orphan Voice and its partners simultaneously attack the causes of “outlook oppression” AND help the family get to the hospital and have food while there, and pay the hospital and doctor-none of which the family can do without help.  All this lifts, encourages, elevates, and en-nobles children and their families.

This is what Orphan Voice partners are doing.  You are not only paying for “things.”  You are lifting people up on the inside to a happier, more joyful and better life.   Thank you on their behalf-until they can thank you personally.

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“We Are More Precious Than Gold”






Orphan Voice staff recently spoke to 600 students and 25 adults at Tran Phu Junior High School. With creative techniques and student-interaction, the anti-trafficking seminar, titled “More Precious Than Gold,” was a big hit!

One skit is about a girl who spends all of her time talking with friends online and playing internet games. After skipping school for three days, eating in her room and playing constantly, she owes the internet game shop 500.000 Vietnamese dollars. With no money to pay, she calls a loan shark (very common in Vietnam) and he comes to collect. Normally the girl would get money from her family to repay the loan, but when he arrives, he takes the girl to a Karoke Shop (sex trade) and sells her.

At various times during the seminar, we have the kids shout: “We are more precious than gold!”  The kids are excited–very excited. They don’t usually see an American, and that is some of the novelty, but Orphan Voice Vietnamese staffers really share in an interesting, informative way. We also review the information and give a prize to students who can remember.

“This is new. It is good for the students because they can protect themselves,” one teacher remarked. Another teacher asked for a copy of the material to go over with her class later.

Each student gets a pen with “More Precious Than Gold” written on it. They love it.


From Singapore With Love

Dr. Caleb Ho led a team of enthusiastic medical students to Danang to minister to the poor and to “the least of these.” Dr. Ho’s team personified “giving.”

First, they gave their time. The team worked long, hard hours–seeing 455 patients! They gave their money–buying all needed medicine. And they gave their talents–teaching good hygiene practices through creative skits and song to 1200 junior high students. One would hardly believe it possible to accomplish all they accomplished during the week. But I saw it. They are givers!

And other Singaporeans in Danang “caught” their same giving spirit! At lunch one day, Dr. Ho met Mr. James Wong of the Oriental Shipping and Logistics Company. Oriental Shipping and Logistics works worldwide and has offices in Singapore, China and Vietnam. When Mr. Wong learned of Dr. Ho’s mission, he immediately arranged for a company donation to orphans and to the poor.

Orphan Voice’s office was soon flooded with rice, cooking oil, soy sauce, eggs, pork, fish, and other food–worth about $1,000.00!

Thanks Singapore!

Corporations Who Care!

The Oriental Shipping and Logistics Company, headquartered in Singapore, but with offices in Vietnam and Shanghai, recently donated 1,000.00 worth of food that blessed over 300 orphans in Kon Tum Province. Company officer Jimmy Wong said: “We will help give them a merry Christmas.” They sure did!

If your company would like to practice some “corporate philanthropy,”  email There can be significant tax advantages in doing so.

The Least of These

Thanks Orphan Voice supporters. I know that your day is busy and that you have many pressing responsibilities. But take a moment to appreciate how you have blessed, helped, encouraged and loved “the least of these.” These Highland orphanage children are not used to picking out a pair of nice, stylish shoes, nor have they had multiple choices from which to pick. They are used to cheap, uncomfortable hard, plastic sandals–that are just given to them with no prior thought given even to a preference in color.

What is the value of the bright smile of a teenage girl who has just put on the latest fashionable shoe, that fits her, and that she has picked out (has shopped for)? More importantly, what is behind that bright smile. It is an unspoken message that reaches the home of her heart that she is important and that she is loved. You did that! So take a moment in your perhaps difficult day to appreciate that you have changed the world in one’s child’s life.  Thank you.

To bless other children:

Out of the Rain

I was driving home on my motorbike Saturday in the blinding rain–covered as best I could be with protective rain gear. It is rainy season here. On the sidewalk, halfway across the Hanh Bridge, I came upon an older women, probably 80, with a very thin plastic smock on, for protection, along with the traditional, rice straw conical hat. Despite her best efforts, she was wet. Why was she there? She is a banana saleswomen and they usually stay out even in rain unless they have sold all their goods. They don’t make much doing this and thus they have to stay out. After I passed her, the thought came (and kept coming) to me to go back, and buy what she had left, so that she could get out of the rain. I went back, communicated to her in broken Vietnamese what I wanted and bought all she had left–and a happier women I have not seen for some time.

Probably few of us are Mother Theresas. Certainly I am not. But no matter where we are in life, there is someone in our day that we can bless and help. Let’s look for that person today


Child Anti-Sexual Abuse School Seminars

At the 5-Star resorts which clutter Danang’s pristine beaches, flights from Moscow and Beijing bring men to gamble, drink and party. Others join them from Japan, South Korea, Australia, Europe and America. Danang is becoming an international tourist destination–for good in many cases, but also for evil.

Poverty stricken teenage boys and girls growing up in neighboring Quang Nam Province are at risk for child sexual abuse and trafficking. But in an important joint effort, Orphan Voice and the Government of Quang Nam Province, which borders prosperous Danang, are saying: “Not here, not now!”

On August 24th, Orphan Voice trained 27 school administrators, teachers, school social workers and police on the warning signs and dangers of child sexual abuse and trafficking. Upon completion of the training, each of the 27 adults became members of the Orphan Voice/Quang Nam Province Anti-Child Trafficking Network. Each leader’s awareness of the issue is higher now, each leader is equipped to replicate the same seminar in his/her classroom or other forum, and each leader knows who to contact in case of discovered abuse/trafficking. We believe that this will help stop child-traffickers and abusers in their tracks!

Later that same day, Orphan Voice staff travelled to a junior-high school and presented the information again–with plenty of visual aids, stories, and prizes. In all, 450 students learned about the pitfalls, tricks and dangers posed by child traffickers and abusers. The school conference theme was “More Precious Than Gold.” And several times, OV trainers led the students in shouting: “I am more precious than gold!” OV is giving each student a new pen with those words engraved on it.

They shouted this truth: “I am more precious than gold!”   They sure are!

If you would like to help us present more anti-trafficking seminars, you can do so here. Thanks!

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A great Vietnamese anti-child trafficking advocate was tragically killed yesterday. Ngo Thi Loan will be greatly missed. May her successor fill her shoes as well.

More Precious Than Gold

At a school assembly this past Friday, Orphan Voice staff led 400 secondary students many times in the affirmation: “We are more precious than gold!” They shouted it! They smiled when they shouted it. They believe it!