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Breath of Heaven Children’s Village

 This newsletter was written by Sue Hall, Breath of Heaven Academy Administrative Consultant. Sue and her husband Don were at the Breath of Heaven Academy Grand Opening in January.

   Vision Imparted, Vision Birthed, Vision to Mature

The Eaglets have broken out of the shell and are spreading their wings!

On January 5, 2015, Breath of Heaven Academy opened its newly hung doors for its first ever open house.  Breath of Heaven’s sixth through ninth graders, in their pink and gray uniforms, soared like their Eagle mascot as they gave tours of the brand new classrooms and administration building.  They also did a stellar job helping their teachers get the rooms ready for the start of a new school year, in a real building, with real desks.  

Breath of Heaven Academy teachers enthusiastically communicated the school mission to families from the community. The school opening was a vision fulfilled for the Breath of Heaven directors, the Zambian teachers, the sponsored children, numerous American educators and for me. 

Did you know that eagles have very keen, focused vision?

Educating the orphans and vulnerable children of Breath of Heaven Children’s Village was always part of the plan.  It has taken the hard work of all involved to make the actual school building a current and exciting reality. After my first visit to a barren piece of land in 2006, a vision was imparted and named, Project TEACH (Together Educating Africa’s CHildren.) We did not know exactly how it would unfold, but knew that hiring and training Zambian teachers was a first step. 

Nine years later, teachers Mwase, Perpetual, Bruce, Memory, Bertha, Sunday, Monica, Do, Lazarus, and Principal Mtonga grinned from ear to ear as the vision became a reality.  Their classroom doors opened ready to welcome both youngsters from the Children’s Village and eager students from the surrounding neighborhood. 

And did you know that eagles push into the wind so that  they can rise above the storms and soar?

The vision, now birthed, is poised to grow and mature much like an eagle newly hatched from the shell. The school motto, Soaring to New Heights, takes on a deep meaning as the fledgling school seeks to educate students at high levels both with Christian character and solid academic achievement. Our dream is that they will be equipped to pass the high-stakes exams, and ultimately to launch careers and sustain communities. 

Project TEACH is maturing. The next developmental stage is to secure full teacher salary sponsorships, as well as financial support for each teacher to achieve the Zambian professional credentials needed to take the EAGLES to high levels of academic achievement. Together, the impact on the local community and the nation will be immeasurable. To our joy, returning teachers Mwase, Monica, and Perpetual announced they are each engaged and will marry in 2015. This development is evidence of the stabilizing influence that Breath of Heaven Academy has on their lives and by extension to the students they teach.  

Second only to the gospel, education is the means of changing the trajectory of lives for a positive impact on a community, a nation, and the world. 

Thank you for helping our EAGLES Soar to New Heights!

 

For more information about sponsoring a teacher or make a one time donation to Breath of Heaven Academy, please go online at www.bofheaven.org or call us at (951) 640-8032.

                

 

 

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas from
Breath of Heaven Children’s Village

As I write this Christmas letter, my thoughts are drawn to a simple but beautiful song that is sung at this time of year, “Away in a Manger.”  The first verse is:

     Away in a manger no crib for a bed

     The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head

     The stars in the sky looked down where he lay

     The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

When in Zambia, I have many opportunities to visit the homes and compounds (neighborhoods) where our children lived before coming to The Village. I want to tell you about Alice who is seven years old.  Her father died three years ago, and  unfortunately, her mother is very sick with HIV/AIDS and probably won’t live much longer.  Because of her illness, Alice’s mother was not able to take care of her daughter physically or financially, so the little girl went to live with her aunt and uncle and five cousins.  They all lived in one tiny room without running water or electricity.  Most of the time, she ate only one meal a day and slept on the dirt floor

Sadly, Alice’s uncle also passed away leaving her aunt barely able to care for her own children, let alone Alice. I can’t imagine the fear, anxiety and pain that this little girl felt not knowing what would happen to her.

Fortunately for Alice, her need was made know to us at Breath of Heaven and she now lives at The Village. She has her own bed, is well taken care of and lives in a family home with her loving housemother and lots of new brothers and sisters to play with. She also gets to go to school where she is learning how to read and write.
Alice’s story is not unique.  Unfortunately, it is all too common among the 1.7 million orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia.  Through your financial support and prayers, we are making a difference in these children’s lives.  The transformation that takes place after their arrival at The Village is amazing!  

We are reaching out to provide hope to Zambia’s orphans not because we are noble, but because God has called us to do so, and it is what is close to His heart, caring for widows and orphans. We are so thankful for all of you who help us to bring hope to our kids.  If I may, I have a request to ask of you. This coming year, can you join with me in being an ambassador for Breath of Heaven?  By that I mean, can you join with us in telling others about the need and vision we have to rescue these kids from a life of hopelessness and despair? Can you ask your friends if they would consider sponsoring a child for as little as $30.00 per month or maybe making a one-time gift?  We will be living in Zambia for six months or more during the year and need your help to spread the word about our mission.

 I pray the last verse of “Away in a Manger” for you and your family at Christmas and throughout the year:

        Be near me Lord Jesus I ask you to stay

        Close by me forever, and love me, I pray

        Bless all the dear children in your tender care

        And fit us for heaven, to live with you there.

Ted and Judy Lawler

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Breath of Heaven Children’s Village

On Thursday, November 28, we in the United States will be celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday. On that day, we will gather together with family and friends to enjoy a wonderful dinner and warm fellowship and to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. In that spirit, Judy and I want to let you know about the people we work with in Zambia and how thankful we are for each of them.

At Breath of Heaven Children’s Village, there are currently sixty-one children who live in five individual family homes with a house mother. During the day aunties also come to help in the care and supervision of the children. In each home, the children grow and live together as brothers and sisters. Most of our children come to us with abandonment issues, insecurities, feelings of rejection, fears and little hope. But our mothers embrace each child as their own, giving them love, nurture, understanding, spiritual guidance from the Word of God and prayer. The mothers’ and aunties’ role in the lives of these children is huge. Their work is both hard and rewarding. These women literally lay down their lives for each child, and Judy and I are so thankful for each one of them.
Our Village also has a school that meets in the homes. Mr. Mtonga, our principal, and his staff of four teachers are doing an excellent job working with the children, most of whom come to The Village with little or no education. Our teachers approach their duties not just as a job but as an important ministry.  They bring encouragement to the heart as well as instruction to the mind. 

Another member of our team is Mr. Tembo who lives at The Village with his wife Mary and their five children.  Mr. Tembo is technically our grounds keeper, but actually he is a jack-of-all-trades. He is a true servant who is always on call, gives his all and brings joy to everyone with his smile and laughter.

 

Pastor Joseph Phiri is our intake worker and also handles the interface with the Department of Social Services. He has his hand on the pulse of children who have become orphaned,  understanding their special needs.  With his pastor’s heart and godly character, he works tirelessly on their behalf, not as a hireling but as a servant.

Finally there are Michael and Aretta Devine and their two grandchildren, Jared and Nathanael. They work and live at The Village and oversee the operations and construction. They too have literally laid down their lives for our orphans. Papa Michael and Mama Aretta teach, train, encourage, correct, embrace and build up each child showing them God’s love, care, and mercy.

So as you can see, we have much to be thankful for at Breath of Heaven! We have a team with hearts to serve and to care for orphans in their distress. This verse from I Thessalonians 2:8 mirrors their hearts of service:

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our very lives as well, because you have become dear to us.”

Happy Thanksgiving and a special “thank-you” to all of you who help us financially and with your prayers.

Ted and Judy

 

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News From Breath of Heaven
Children’s Village – Lusaka, Zambia

You Can Change the World Through Child Sponsorship

This is Jameson, age 9. He arrived at The Village this year.  His mother and father died and he was staying with his 70-year-old grandmother who had

 no means of support. Since the death of his parents, Jameson’s life has not been easy.  He had very little hope, was very depressed, and more than likely, would have wound up on the streets begging or stealing.  But someone cared and sponsored him to come to Breath of Heaven Children’s Village.  A picture is worth a thousand words.A cover-story article in the June issue of Christianity Today (http://www.bofheaven.org/want-to-change-the-world-sponsor-a-child) confirms what we in the field already know about the life-changing benefits of child sponsorship.  Now a groundbreaking research study, done by Professor Bruce Wydick of the University of San Francisco, confirms that the impact upon the lives of sponsored children is dramatic. He notes, “The educational impacts of sponsorship are large.  In all six countries, we found that sponsorship results in better educational outcomes for children. Overall sponsorship makes children 27% to 40% more likely to complete secondary school and 50% to 80% more likely to complete a university education. Child sponsorship also appears to be the great equalizer in education. In areas where outcomes are worse, such as sub-Saharan Africa, impacts are bigger.”

Another key factor in improving sponsored-kids’ lives is what he calls the hope hypothesis:  “You see, poverty causes children to have very low self-esteem and low aspirations. The big difference that sponsorship makes is that it expands children’s views about their own possibilities.”

That is why our goal at Breath of Heaven is to bring orphaned and vulnerable children hope and a future–especially through education.
We have 11 new children who are in need of sponsors.  If you would like to help us make a difference in an orphan’s life through sponsorship, please go to http://www.bofheaven.org/donations/.
 

“Knowledge is Power!”

A popular declaration you will hear often in Zambia is, “Knowledge is Power!”  In light of the article referenced above, we are looking forward to constructing two block buildings, which will house four classrooms out of the ten we ultimately envision for our elementary/middle school.  In January, we built a wall fence around our eight acres, drilled two wells, dug footers for four buildings, submitted our building plans, and applied for a zoning change, which would permit us to build a school on our property.  As a result of the $85,000 that was raised at our fundraising dinner in May, we will be b

reaking ground for the four classrooms in September.

Our goal is to provide an excellent education not just for our Village orphans and vulnerable children, but for those in our local community that cannot afford to attend a Government school. We firmly believe that an education is a way out of poverty.  If we can give hope to a child, he or she can bring hope to a family, a village and, ultimately, a nation.  We still need to raise $160,000 to complete the elementary/middle school.  If you would like to donate towards the construction of our school, please go to http://www.bofheaven.org/donations/.


 

Tilapia Aquaponics Project
We are excited that our Tilapia aquaponics project is up and running, with our first 900 fingerlings enjoying their new surroundings.  This Fall, we will be able to harvest mature fish for our Children’s Village as well as have a business that sells Tilapia to the local community and fisheries. 
We are so thankful for all those who made financial contributions, as well as those who went to Florida to be trained in how to operate our project.  They were a great help to Michael Devine in getting it up and running. 
Fish tacos anyone?

If awesome were inches, we’d dwarf the Sears Tower.

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