Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Our Visit to Sheltering Wings

Written by: Sarah
Our family had the great privilege of visiting a Sheltering Wings orphanage in Burkina Faso this past March.  We have been serving as church planting missionaries in the neighboring country of Niger since 2011, but we also have a desire to be involved in orphan care ministry.   We are so thankful for the hospitality of Amy and Rebekah and that they allowed us to come for a week and be involved in the ministry and visit with the children.  Our four children were also warmly welcomed and enjoyed playing with the babies and toddlers as well as playing soccer and coloring with the older kids at Sheltering Wings.
In Niger, I have been visiting a government run orphanage weekly for over a year.  It’s heartbreaking to visit each week and see first hand the great needs these children have, yet feeling helpless to actually do anything about it.  I love on the kids during my weekly visit, but I desperately wish I could do more.
When I visited Sheltering Wings I was hoping to find a well-run orphanage where the children were being cared for on a deep level.  And that is exactly what I found.  I found a place full of Christians who love orphans and who live out their faith by caring for them, loving them, teaching them the gospel, and helping them get back into a home.  In doing those things they witness to the community and reveal the glory of God!

Sheltering Wings does not just take kids in and do the minimum to keep them clothed and fed.  They do so much more!  The baby and toddler helpers interact with the kids and play with them in a lovely outdoor facility with a slide and lots of toys.  They treat them with love and care as if they were their own.  The older kids are provided a good education and also given opportunities to learn skills such as gardening.  They also have a weekly worship night and Christians on staff to share the gospel with them and disciple them.

We were also encouraged to see the many projects that are going on in addition to the orphanage.  They care for widows, have a child sponsor program, hold clinics in remote villages, run a women’s program, and are working on a research center that will benefit the whole community.   All these good works are being used to be a light to the people around them.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

By the time our visit came to a close we were very encouraged to see and experience an amazing example of what an orphanage can be.  We want to support Sheltering Wings as well as take some of the ideas we saw and incorporate them into our ministry among Muslims in Niger.