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Blog : Zambia Children everywhere


April 19, 2008

From a visitor

Apr. 15, 2008

Dear Family and Friends:

I first want to thank everyone for their prayers and support in the time leading up to my departure, through my travels and during my stay in Zambia. I arrived in Zambia Thursday, April 3 and other than being extremely tired I was excited that I had finally returned. Ever since I left in the middle of January I have felt called to come back, not only to help the people of Zambia but also to reunite with the friends that I had made during my short stay. Although there are some similarities to this time and my trip in January, the trip as a whole feels completely different. The place where I spend my evenings is actually an orphanage called House of Moses, for kids aged anywhere from 1 day to 3 years. I could not have asked for a more amazing place to stay because everyday I am reminded of why I am here. Although I spend my days helping out with construction of the new House of Martha orphanage, I try to spend as much time as possible in the nursery at House of Moses with the children. The kids are just amazing and everyday I am becoming more and more attached to them.

The construction that is taking place right now is the renovation of a house into an orphanage so that the children in the current House of Martha will have a larger and safer place to stay. This past rainy season the current House of Martha was in serious danger of being completely flooded. So that threat, along with the lack of space is the reason for the new building. As of now construction has been slowed by a few problems. A major issue in Zambia right now is the lack of concrete. Most of the smaller companies that were able to get concrete are charging outrages prices because they know that the demand is so high. Although we are trying to find other companies who are still at cheaper prices we may have to resort to the increased prices because, as of this Thursday we will have run out of concrete completely. We are also currently having a difficult time obtaining the bricks that we had ordered. This is causing us to stop work at the orphanage for the time being and is forcing us to go to other properties doing minor repairs while we wait.

Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia currently operates 3 orphanages and has set up many schools which they continue to monitor. It is a nonprofit organization which relies solely on donations for the day to day running costs of the orphanages as well as construction costs. Please consider helping this organization in showing children God's amazing love. Your prayers as well as your financial support will go a long way in building up the future of Zambia. Thank you from all of us in Zambia.

If you wish to contribute to this worthwhile cause, donations can be forwarded to my home church for a tax receipt. Please make cheques payable to Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church (9165 160 Street, Surrey, BC V4N 2X7 or passed on through my parents, Nick and Joyce Van Ravenstein) and mark on the memo line—Zambia project—Kevin Van Ravenstein. They will then wire the funds to us here in Zambia. Thank you for your amazing support.
God bless!
Kevin Van Ravenstein

Posted by ACE Staff at 3:46 PM | | Comments (0)

April 14, 2008


playday.jpgWe had all the kids here today from the three homes. Imagine over 52 children from ages 3 months to 12 years covering the lawn at House of Moses with nshim'a, soccer balls, watermelon rind, chicken leg bones and empty baby bottles.

Such was the scene today when the team from Union Presbyterian Church, Seattle WA. invited the children from the Bill and Bette Bryant home, and the older children from the House of Martha to House of Moses for a play day. They did play all day. We adults were worn out after a few hours, but the children were jumping and singing and playing soccer, jump ball and silly games since 10 this morning. They never did wear out. I was humbled that so many of them would be dead or still on the streets if not for the love and care in these homes.

Neither the Kanyama House of Martha nor the Bill and Bette Bryant home have areas to play on. Coming to House of Moses is a real treat for them, and for the staff as well. The new House of Martha will have lots of space and place to play, but until then, hopefully next month, House of Moses is the place to be!!

Wish you could have joined us, and so a photo will have to do!

Posted by ACE Staff at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)

February 23, 2008

Electrical rationing

In Zambia extreme demand for electricity has created havoc in the country. The power company ZESCO has issued a nation-wide schedule for what they call load-shedding, where entire areas are cut off for hours each day, or in some cases days at a time. The nation is both selling power to South Africa to raise support for new generators, and at the same time, building new generating capacity on Lake Kariba.

This will go on till 2010 at the earliest. Here in Chelston, where House of Moses is located, we were made aware of our schedule yesterday. We will be without power on Mondays and Thursdays from 5AM till 9PM. The power will come on for 2 hours only at mid-day. With the CACZ offices located on the property and all of our babies needing water from our well which is electric driven, we are left with no option but to try to look for the funds to buy a generator that will run everything except the stoves. In faith we are going to purchase one on Monday. The other homes will be OK as there are fewer children and they have a city water supply.

If your church family is looking for a project, this would be an excellent way for them to invest in children in Zambia. The cost will be $2,000. Even with the generator, we won't be able to use the stoves, so we will be doing quite a lot of barbecuing—at least every Monday and Thursday.

Posted by ACE Staff at 9:33 AM | | Comments (0)

August 14, 2007

Helping Destitute Families Feed Orphans

Earlier this year forty people, most of them women, were chosen to participate in a micro-enterprise program designed to help them start a small, but sustainable business. Many of the participants are guardians of children at House of Moses or our other Crisis Nurseries. With the help of this program, called Heaven's Blessing, these guardians will be able to provide a home and food for the children of relatives who have died.

weighing mealie-mealHeaven's Blessing is a two and a half pound plastic package of ground corn, or "mealie meal", the staple food for Zambian families. Maize is ground and packaged at our hammer mill in the center of Kanyama, a Lusaka shantytown. Participants are grouped into cells, with five in each group. Ten packages of meal, each called a pamela, are given to each participant each day for six weeks. As they sell, they pay back the "loan" at the wholesale price of the mealie meal. In six weeks the new business people can have their loan paid and own enough mealie meal to keep the business moving at a level that will give them support for their families. We are extremely proud of all the participants, and we pray for their success as they work to care for their own children.

The Saturday before the first pamelas were to be distributed, students from our 8th grade showed up to volunteer with the packing and weighing. Having been helped themselves, they were quick to offer their help to others.

Posted by ACE Staff at 3:35 PM |

June 28, 2007

Update from Zambia (Sandra)

Dear Ministry Family,
I never knew four months could pass by so quickly. The Lord has been so good to me, and to the ministry here in Zambia. Knowing that all of you are very busy, even as we are, I at least wanted to highlight some of the wonderful news from this side of the world before traveling home on July 26th. Jennie has been with us since May 22nd (my 61st Birthday). She leaves on July 12th.

Child Rescue

Guardian and childWe are working hard to keep up with the numbers of children in our three homes. Each is at capacity. The poor are getting poorer and children are dying in the compounds at a faster rate than in previous years. House of Moses is caring for 21 infants, House of Martha has 17 children and the Bill and Bette Bryant Nursery has 16. Several, especially the older ones, are ready for adoption so pass the word along. We are also continuing to work toward, and pray for, good adoption laws and procedures.

New House of MarthaHouse of Martha will have a new location! The Goad Family, an internationally known evangelistic and singing family (been around as a family since the 1960's) raised the funds to buy a wonderful property just 5 minutes from House of Moses. Much has changed since the Outreach Foundation purchased the House of Martha property in 1998. The roads have deteriorated, the utilities became very unreliable and the area is cholera prone. The Goad's lost their mother many years ago and wanted a place to care for orphans and vulnerable children in her honor and memory. Her name? MARTHA!! The family was in Zambia last week and had several mission outreaches and also did a ribbon cutting and dedication of the new home. We will have to do work on the property before the children are moved, but they were with us for the dedication and everyone was smiling, singing and even climbing the trees in the big front yard. When the children move we will sell the Kanyama property and use the assets to continue to upgrade the new location. We rejoice as God brings many new partners together for children.


Faith Works Schools continue to get better and better each year. There are over 2,500 pupils in Grades 1-7 and 58 in Grade 8 which opened in January. Grades 9 and 10, 11 and 12 also have our children who are now in Government schools with scholarships we are providing. We broke ground for the new Helen DeVos Christian School and the plan is to open in January 2008 for Grades 7, 8, and 9. The school will be one of the first in Zambia to offer a first rate education to orphans and children with no financial means. We are grateful to Helen DeVos for her faith in us and the $428,000 matching grant (we are about 25% along to matching that goal) that she gave Alliance for Children Everywhere which allows us to continue to raise the support needed to provide this kind of an education to eager children with hungry minds.

Empowerment of Guardians and Women

With a grant from a German organization, we have trained 40 guardians of orphans (men and women) in our community projects. We are providing them with a means of supporting themselves and their families. We are using our hammer mill to grind maize (corn) and package it in sealed bags with a consistent 1Kg. weight. Ground maize is eaten by every Zambian. The maize when ground is called mealie meal and this is boiled in water to make the staple food, nshima. The program is called a "Commodity Lending Scheme" This strategy is radically different from the existing way mealie meal is sold. The weights are typically not consistent, the bags are not sealed and the prices are not the same for the weight of the bag. People know they are being cheated, but that is how the market was—until now. We are being deluged by folks wanting to get in on the sales side of Heaven's Blessing Mealie Meal, but we are in a pilot mode and so are limiting ourselves to the first 40. If all goes as planned we may expand the operation to include more of the needy people we are here to serve.

Summer Teams

With 9 visitors left to come to Zambia during this next month, we have had over 30 visitors that have blessed us and been blessed in return. The teams were very well prepared by their respective team leaders, and each person had a chance to teach and to learn at the same time. We are already talking about 2008!

With love and thanks for making the lives of little children matter,

Posted by ACE Staff at 9:03 AM |

August 23, 2006

Zambiain Adoption

Adoptions in Zambia have multiplied since House of Moses and our other two homes opened. Our other two nurseries, the Kanyama House of Martha and the Bill and Bette Bryant home opened in 1999 and 2001 respectively. House of Moses in 2000. The age ranges of our children are from birth to age 10. (We do stretch the rule sometimes and have a few 12 year old children). Our homes are intended to be "safety nets" whereby we have the time to locate and empower extended family, or place children into foster/adoptive homes. There does come a point though where children have had to be moved into an orphanage type home, but we think we can find families for many of them.

As a side note: House of Moses was selected by UNICEF and the United Nations in 2003 as a "Best Practice Model in sub-Saharan Africa" and was presented to the Global Fund as an example of work being done in Africa. (The bad news is that NONE of the money flowed to the program!) Graca Machel Mandela who visited with us at that time said, "I have never before seen anything like House of Moses in Africa."

House of Moses has sparked much interest both domestically and internationally because it is a unique model providing 24/7 nursing care for pre-mature and high risk infants. Before House of Moses came on the scene, infants died for lack of milk and basic care. Most of our babies have lost their mothers, many in childbirth. Some are abandoned in the maternity ward, and others are found in places too gruesome to mention. They are brought to us by the police, the Department of Social Welfare or "Good Samaritans." Some children admitted to the home are under 2 pounds, and although we have no specialized medical equipment, the babies do survive and thrive! Although many of the mothers are HIV+, her infant has a 7 in 10 chance of NOT acquiring the virus. Another 1 in 10 will become infected through breast feeding, but we still have more infants that are HIV negative than HIV positive.

In just the year prior to our opening our first home in Kanyama, there were only two formal adoptions in Zambia for the entire year. Since that time our adoptions have been steadily increasing. In all, 76 of the babies and children in our homes have been placed for adoption, most of them into Zambian families. One went to Namibia, one to Holland, twins to Australia and less than a dozen have come to the USA, but most of the USA adoptions have been just this past year as regulations have been loosened.

Our vision for the future, and as funding permits, is to open homes like House of Moses in other areas of Zambia and possibly in other sub-Saharan African nations. We have had visits from Government representatives from Mozambique and Rwanda who have invited us to come to help them start a similar program. We, for the time being, have had to decline. We know there are many couples who would adopt children from Africa and why stop in Zambia? But in God's time, not our own.

House of Moses has a physical capacity for 40 children, but at the moment funding for only 25 (and that is stretching it!). Older children and children with special needs are also in our homes and we believe there are families waiting for them as well.

We are now seeing some of the other child care facilities in Zambia beginning to look at adoption as an option and ACE is planning to further advocate in that direction from our well recognized platform. UNICEF has said they would be open to having ACE be involved in drafting the national adoption policy which is now in motion and of which UNICEF is integral.

We look forward to seeing what God will do!

Posted by ACE Staff at 11:33 AM |

August 2, 2006

I Love Africa!

Dear family and dear friends,

What I love most about Africa are the people. For instance, I loved
greeting Irene today, (the House of Moses Head Nurse) who just
returned from a one month all expense paid trip to Canada to visit
her son and Canadian daughter-in-law. Irene is now a new
grandmother....a boy named Dan. She was cheered during Monday
morning devotions this morning by the over 30 staff who missed her
too!!! Everyone missed her...not just me.

This evening I had a chance to drive Daisey, our Social Worker to her
home. She worked late to admit a new pre-mature girl (just 2 pounds)
and the sun was going down. I offered her a ride which she glady
accepted. I was rewarded with a glorious sun-set the likes of which
can not possibly be described in words over e-mail. I love Africa!

On the drive back I was counting....that is counting people walking
on the dusty roads going to their homes in the shanty compounds. This
reminded me of the streets of New York where I grew up. Most of the
people have no cars or other means of getting from place to
place. They walk everywhere. I had my window rolled down. Then
there were shouts. Sandra... there is Sandra. What in the world I
asked myself? Suddenly I remembered....I had appeared on national
TV the day before giving thanks on the only TV news channel for the
gifts brought to House of Moses by the Women of the Anti-Corruption
Defense League. One elderly man thanked me for what we were doing
for the children of his country. I had to watch my pride, but in an
instant remembered all of you who faithfully pray and give of
yourselves so that tiny children may have a chance to live and grow
in a Christian family.

With just one week left before leaving for the USA, I am pounding the
doors of heaven and the Zambia Embassy of the USA to complete the
final adoption paperwork for ********, two orphans (10 and 11
respectively) who are booked on my flight August 1st to travel with
me to their new home in Montana.

Guys....help us pray this rats nest of paperwork through. We need a
miracle to leave the country with the documents in place!

Giving Him all of the Glory and Praise,

Posted by ACE Staff at 5:30 PM |

July 18, 2006

This is what child rescue is all about...

His name is Charles, a common enough name in Zambia for a boy. But this little guy does not have a common enough story and it needs to be told to those of you that are investing your time, prayers and resources in the House of Moses.

Charles is 9 months old, but looks like a new born child. He has sores in his mouth and on his face. Due to lack of formula he is starving. His mother is a street girl and just had her 17th birthday. She came off the street two years ago and entered a rehab program that we partner with called The Cannan center. She left the program when she learned that she was pregnant and HIV positive.

With no where to go she travelled back to her village, a 12 hour grueling bus trip with Charles. Arriving back to her home tow, she was immediately asked to leave for the shame of having brought a child into the village with no husband.

At the end of her strength she visited a local clinic where she was started on ARV's the medicine for HIV positive people. Now homeless with a child she managed to get back to Lusaka where she went to the Department of Social Welfare for help. We got the call yesterday. Charles and the mother were on the way to House of Moses.

The nurses went into action quickly. He got a warm bath and a bottle. He went right to sleep and did not wake till almost morning. His mother was offered a place to sleep and rest for a while till she recovers. It is likely that she will return to another part a Zambia where she still has family who do not know about Charles or her HIV status. Please pray that Charles is not infected with HIV and that Daisey, our social worker can eventually manage to have Charles released for adoption.

Posted by ACE Staff at 11:03 AM |

September 30, 2005

House of Moses Update

Babies Arriving:

Chimfwembei—This tiny little boy was born August 14th and arrived at House of Moses two weeks later, weighing just over 4 lbs. After delivery Chimfwembe's mother was in intensive care for several days before she was released from the hospital. Since the day she left the hospital she has not been seen. We do not know if she purposely disappeared, leaving her baby, or if she died.

Jonathan—Jonathan was found a few hours after his birth, lying in a grassy field where he had been abandoned. He was taken directly to the hospital, and after one week was released to House of Moses. As far as we can determine, his family has not been located.

Judy—Judy's mother was sick, complaining of malaria and cough, when she went into labor and delivered Judy on August 14th. After delivery her condition became worse and she died. Her husband is now left with four children, and is not able to care for such a tiny infant. Judy's grandmother works picking coffee at a plantation just outside of Lusaka. Her father plans on asking the grandmother to quit her job and come live with him and help care for Judy, as soon as Judy is a little older and more stable.

Joseph—Joseph's father died last February. Then his mother became sick shortly after delivering her son on August 19th. After being ill for a week, she also died. Joseph's 16 year old sister brought him to House of Moses. Joseph comes from a very poor household, but his sister loves him dearly. After she left Joseph at House of Moses we gave her a ride to the bus stop. All the way there she continually, and tearfully, thanked us for caring for him.

Babies who have died, passed into Jesus' Arms

Ireen—Born in late July, Ireen was at House of Moses less than two weeks when she died August 21st. During the time she was with us she was a fussy baby, but showed no signs of illness. Her temperature was normal, she ate well and appeared to be well. Then one Friday evening, Caroline, the nurse in charge, fed her and burped her and laid her in her crib. Thinking Ireen was sleeping, Caroline continued to care for the other babies. About an hour later when she checked on Ireen, she was no longer living. Deaths of our babies are always heartbreaking. We do thank God that during her short life, Ireen knew love, cuddling, singing and prayer. Most of all we are comforted by knowing her eternal life is just beginning.

Martha—Born on May 15, 2005, Martha was admitted to HOM on July 13, 2005. Martha spent most of her short life in the hospital. Twice she was released to return to House of Moses, but each time, within a few days, she had to be taken back to the hospital. Martha passed into eternal life from the hospital on August 30, 2005.

Babies Chosen for Adoption:
Blessing—We reported last month that Blessing had been chosen for adoption by a Zambian pastor and his wife. Since they were only beginning the adoption process, they were allowed to take Blessing home for the weekends, but were instructed to bring him back to House of Moses each Monday morning. The first weekend passed well, but when they brought him back from the second weekend, Blessing absolutely refused to let go of them. He protested in loud and decisive terms. He had found his mommy and daddy and there was no way they were going to leave him at House of Moses!! The nurse on duty called the social worker, who laughed and said, "OK, let him go home. He knows his parents." Since that time the couple has completed their paperwork and Blessing prospers more each day in his chosen family.

Mode—This tiny baby girl was at House of Moses only two weeks when a Zambian couple delightedly claimed her as their "prayed for" daughter. She is growing well, happy in her adoptive family.

Babies Going Home:
Musalifyanji—Musalifyanji has become a strong healthy baby. Last week he was able to go home with his grandmother, who is well able to handle his care.hom-0905a.jpg We will continue to provide him with baby formula and other food supplements, since the grandmother, though full of love, has very few resources and is very poor. The photo to the left is with his grandmother on the day she took him home.

Other Babies at House of Moses (Introduced in previous updates):


Notable Events:

Gift—Gift's father and his sister have arranged to take him home. The aunt was here last week to visit with Gift and decide if she was able to take him soon. She has a small child who is about Gift's age and wants to be sure she can handle two babies at the same time. After consulting with Gift's father, they have asked us to keep him here for two more months, until she can make preparations and until her baby is walking, and then she will be ready to have him with the family of which the father is a part.

Andrew—Andrew has been sick with pneumonia twice this month and both times was hospitalized. The doctors are now testing him for TB. Please pray for health for Andrew, and pray for his father, who loves him dearly. Each time he was in the hospital, his father did not leave his bedside and when Andrew is at House of Moses, he visits every weekend and often after work on other days.

Elijah—You may remember from last month's update that Elijah is a premature baby, with a dislocated hip and frequent vomiting, whose mother died shortly after childbirth. When we had medical tests done to find the cause of the vomiting, it was discovered he had a twisted bowel that was blocking food from entering the intestines as it should. Two weeks ago he had surgery to correct the problem. Elijah is now back at House of Moses. recovering well.

Esther—This little girl is recovering well from malnutrition and has been placed, with her older brother at a Christian home for children called Open Arms.

Kristen—Kristen is also recovering from malnutrition and has been placed at the Bill and Bette Bryant Crisis Nursery, our home for toddlers in crisis.

House of Moses Alumni:

hom-0905b.jpgWe had a special visit this month from Grace and Mercy and their adoptive parents. These twin girls were among the first residents of House of Moses when they were newborn infants, without mother or father. They were also among our first adoptions. The Australian couple who adopted them has been serving as missionaries with Radio Christian Voice in Lusaka. They are now returning to Australia so the girls can benefit from the superior schools there. Although it doesn't show well in this picture, Grace and Mercy each have a baby tied on their back, African style. Their parents wanted them to understand they were just like these babies when they first arrived in this home.

Sponsors Needed—We need friends who will "adopt" House of Moses babies during the critical time they are with us. Those who pledge at least $50 each month will be sent a picture and profile, along with the special prayer needs of your infant.

When your child moves into a family you share the joy—and get to "adopt" another infant who also needs extra care through a crisis time. Although we never know how much time a child will spend with us, we do know it is our job to help bring each one through the hard times, and into a place where a Godly future can be found.

Andrew has a sponsor.
Emmanuel has a sponsor.
Cecelia has a sponsor.
Jeremiah has a sponsor.

Jesus says, "Whoever receives one little child like this in My Name receives Me." Matt. 18:5

Posted by ACE Staff at 9:30 AM | | Comments (2)

April 5, 2005

Cecelia: Sponsored by Josephine

CeceliaThis is a photo of Cecelia. She is 8 months old, and although she is small, she crawls around the nursery with determination and smiles. She loves bright toys and is always one of the first babies to lift her arms and beg to be picked up. No one can resist her, so Cecelia has lots of attention!

Cecelia came to House of Moses when she was only two weeks old. Her mother is mentally ill and is not able to take care of herself, much less of a child. Cecelia's grandmother takes care of her mother, but is very elderly and not able to care for the baby. Additionally, there are two other adults in the home that also suffer from mental illness and the family is extremely poor. The grandmother has been asked to release Cecelia for adoption, but has not yet agreed to sign the papers.

Please pray for the grandmother to agree to adoption and for the perfect family to adopt Cecelia. Pray also for protection from mental illness, as apparently this malady runs in the family.

Posted by ACE Staff at 4:49 PM |

Jeremiah: Sponsored by DryCat Graphics

This little boy was approximately four months old when he was found outside an apartment complex by one of the residents. She picked him up and took him to the local police station. From the police, he was brought to House of Moses. Although the authorities have conducted an investigation, they have not been able to locate parents or relatives.

Jeremiah is free for adoption. A few months ago there was a couple interested in him, but the process was halted because of Jeremiah's frequent health problems. For a time he was thought to be "FTT", or failure to thrive, which here in Zambia generally means infected with HIV. However, Jeremiah seems to have overcome his health problems and is bright and healthy. He has lots of personality and is, as Sandra says, "way too cute"!

Pray for Jeremiah's continuing health and for the perfect family to adopt this little boy.

Posted by ACE Staff at 4:46 PM |

2009 Apr 15