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In the summer of 2011, the five members of the Ward family went to Lusaka, Zambia with Family Legacy, a ministry devoted to restoring hope to the orphans in that country. The stories of the children that we met so gripped our hearts that we were moved to action. On the plane ride home, we set a goal to build a house at the Tree of Life Children’s Village to provide 12 orphans with a place to live, complete with loving caregivers, food, access to school, counseling, a real “home” and a “normal” childhood.
In order to build the house, we needed to raise a lot of money. We welcomed donations to the cause, but rather than “just” ask people to donate money, we decided it would be better to find a way to work to raise the necessary funds.
The original funds were raised primarily thru the sale of home-cooked meals, bread and desserts. Also, we were able to give several presentations to various groups in Ruston and surrounding areas. It was exciting to watch those who listened to the presentations be moved to find a way that THEY could participate in helping to raise funds. Bake sales, garage sales and estates sales were held. Christmas Camps were begun. Personalized day-planners were made. Guided fishing trips were taken . . and ALL proceeds went to the construction of Mercy House. Many people were so generous with their talents, time AND their resources.
Happily on July 21, 2012 the doors to Mercy House opened at the Tree of Life. Twelve children (and two full-time caregivers) found a new place to live where they are welcomed, cared for, and loved.
As soon as fundraising for Mercy House was complete, we began working alongside a dear friend to help her raise the remaining funds on a second home, John Mark’s House. We are so grateful that through the generosity of many people, God brought in the necessary funds to allow construction to begin. In May, 2013, our friend Katy will have the privilege of welcoming 12 more orphans into their new home at the Tree of Life!
The work in Zambia is far from over. Many more orphans need a new home. Our goal is to continue raising money through donations AND fundraisers to bring hope and HOMES to the children of Zambia.
Currently, we are working on a third house at Tree of Life. Fundraising has already begun for Ambuya’s House. Ambuya (um-BOO’–ya) is the Nyanja word for “grandmother”. This home will be named in memory of my mother, Sue Fast, who was “Boo” to our children and who lived with our family for the past 16 years. The day after we moved the children into Mercy House, our sweet Boo went to her new home in heaven. She had been excited about the project and urged our family to make the trip to Africa even though she assumed that the next time she would see the five of us again would likely be in heaven. She knew how important it was for the children to move in and for us to be there. She assured us that God would either heal her or take her on to heaven and she was fine with either option, but the rest of us needed to go on to Zambia. We felt like another home would be a fitting tribute to a woman who so dearly loved her own children and grandchildren, as well as the Zambian children she had never met. When the funds are raised, twelve more orphans will find a home in “Grandmother’s House.”
To learn about the children who moved into Mercy House, to follow the progress on John Mark’s house or to learn more about specific fundraisers (like the sale of “have mercy” t-shirts and jewelry), please “like” our Facebook page called “Mercy House and More” https://www.facebook.com/MercyHouseAndMore or contact me by email at email@example.com . You may also message me on my personal Facebook page “Kim Fast Ward” https://www.facebook.com/kim.f.ward.7?fref=ts.
ALL money made from fundraisers as well as ALL online donations made on this site will go to help complete Ambuya’s House at the Tree of Life Children’s Village. As soon as all money is raised for the construction of that house, we will let you know the NEXT project up for funding!