In September 1984, Rev. Harold Lovestrand, a Christian missionary and the Asia Coordinator for AMG visited Bacolod City in the Philippines. It is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Negros Occidental with approximately 600,000 residents. Just 55 minutes by plane from Manila, Bacolod sits on the northwestern coast of the large island of Negros and is known as the “City of Smiles.” Along its highways, sugarcane plantations are a typical scene. Most of the residents make their living working in those fields. Unfortunately, this work is seasonal and does not pay well.
While visiting Bacolod City, Rev. Lovestrand discovered there were many orphaned and neglected children needing help. Along the way, he met a grandmother that urged him to found an orphanage. This poor woman was feeding ten people at her home, and her husband didn’t have a job. She was trying to care for children and she needed help.
In December 1984, the Home of Hope Orphanage was founded when six orphans were adopted and provided temporary shelter in a rented house. News of the orphanage serving the under privileged spread quickly, and the number of children served grew to 27 in just one month. These children came from dysfunctional families and broken homes, with many having been abandoned and neglected by their parents.
Home of Hope Orphanage was opened in an effort to meet a deep need for addressing the plight of destitute children. Some of the children we care for either have no parents or were born out of wedlock and their mothers can’t afford to keep them. Still others come from single-parent homes where the families face near starvation. These children come to the center and find an abundance of love and acceptance. They often come to us extremely thin and malnourished, but soon the fear of going hungry dissipates as they enjoy three meals a day. All the school aged children attend local schools and are tutored by center teachers. The children also receive daily training from God’s Word that helps them grow in their faith.
With the help of our generous partners, a sponsorship program was started as a means of sustaining Home of Hope. The center now has 10 staff members and four teachers who provide educational assistance, food, medical care, counseling, and spiritual training to 57 children in need.
The orphanage nurtures, mentors, and cares for 28 boys and 29 girls; five of whom are in preschool, 38 in elementary school, 11 in junior high, and three in high school. The loving staff provides school supplies, monitors academic performance, and offers tutorial services. The teachers provide incentives for the children who receive awards and commendations in school, as a means of motivating the children to student diligently. Home of Hope encourages children to participate in evening devotions and Sunday church services. They regularly attend Sunday school, worship services, prayer meetings, Vacation Bible School and summer camps where they are exposed to the Word of God on a daily basis.
I began this letter with a quote from Richard, a 10-year-old boy living at Home of Hope. He goes on to say, “I can now sleep soundly knowing that I don’t have to worry any longer about where my next meal will come from. For the first time I am able to enroll in elementary school. I have friends to play with, and I am enjoying my Bible training. My life is now filled with joy and contentment unlike before. The love and care I longed for from my own family was found through Home of Hope and AMG. But, the most significant change in my life was when I found Jesus as my Savior for without Him I am nothing.”
Home of Hope children receive instruction in essential basic life skills including leadership, decision making, time management, self-discipline, communication, stewardship, and cleanliness. Parents of the non-orphaned children are also invited to quarterly Family Enhancement and Transformational Leadership Training through the center. In addition, the orphanage works hard at being partly self-sufficient. It currently has three pigs, 12 cows, and nine chickens, while maintaining an organic vegetable garden that is tended by the children.
One of the goals of AMG’s Home of Hope is to inspire hope and, in the process, transform the surrounding community, and elevate the generational cycle of poverty. Our donors make this possible. They also provide the children at the center with new clothes, shoes, sandals and toys every Christmas, for which the kids are very thankful.
Home of Hope director, Ritche Olivares, has made us aware of an urgent need facing the center – one I hope our supporters will get behind. The orphanage is in desperate need of a safe vehicle to serve the children, staff and volunteers. The orphanage’s present passenger van is over 20 years old and is out of compliance with Philippine Government’s Clean Air Act.
A new passenger van will allow us to safely transport the children to and from educational field trips, summer camps, meetings, and recreational activities. It will also serve as an ambulance in cases of emergency, will transport supplies, and haul staff members to off-site meetings and seminars. The cost of a new 12-foot passenger van is $20,620.
Would you prayerfully consider joining us and other faithful donors by investing in this important need today?Together, we can bless the children in the orphanage, the center and its staff for years to come. Please make a generous gift today. Thank you so much for your thoughtful consideration.