LightBridge International Non-Event
We’re so thankful for your participation as you've heard stories of orphans God is calling each of us to care for. How appropriate it feels to celebrate all God is doing during this Thanksgiving season. Family is the most special and significant part about this holiday and we’ve learned that the reality for many of our orphans and orphans around the world, is that somewhere family broke down for them. They’re not at a table full of food, a living room ready for the Christmas tree, or a home full family of their own.
This realization can be difficult to comprehend and yet we’ve seen God connect our worlds with theirs so that they can have a home, education, a support system and an environment where they are learning to live life with Jesus.
As Thanksgiving approaches this week, we want to give you an opportunity to open your heart up to caring for orphans together, as a family. You can do this by taking a moment during your holiday to sit near the fireplace with a computer and watch our video. We invite you to hear about the lives of orphans in Thailand, and to pray together that God would surround them. Talk together about participating in God’s care for the orphan through LightBridge. Maybe you want to sponsor a child together as a family. Maybe you want to create a new tradition this year where you pray for orphans each Thanksgiving. Maybe this year, you pool a gift together as a family and donate to LightBridge during this Non-Event. We believe that when we do things together, as family, we can make a great impact.
We are so very thankful for your engagement and support thus far! There's just one day left in the Non-Event, and we'd be honored if you'd donate and help us reach our goal of $10,000.
This week, we've shared stories about the orphans in our care. We love to share the work God has done to redeem the lives of these kids. Their stories are compelling to read and even more stirring to witness and tell.
But the reality is sometimes the stories take an unexpected turn. Stories like:
- Twin boys who decided they didn't like the rules of our orphanage and left as young teenagers. Their lives have taken a turn that was not what we had hoped for them. They live in danger now of traffickers who, in this part of the world, seek to victimize young boys as much as their girl counterparts.
- A teen girl who struggled with her identity and was noticed by a cute boy at school. This same cute boy took advantage of our orphan girl and then began physically abusing her. In a system that doesn't judge fairly, the school decided the girl was to blame and refused to report or protect her. Our orphanage had to make the heart-wrenching decision to move her from the loving orphanage home to a boarding school far away for her own protection.
You see, the truth about orphans is:
There is a narrative at work.
The enemy has a goal to steal, lie, kill and destroy the lives of Jesus followers, including orphans. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you that he has won battles with some of our LightBridge orphans. But, I also wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you that I believe he won't win the war. Some days, I have to remind myself of the fact that we have a Savior who reigns supreme. When the battles mount and the losses are significant, my heart can become overwhelmed by the casualties and destruction. Some days, it seems like the enemy gains ground. But, the narrative isn't finished yet.
I have to remind myself of stories like:
- Japu -- a young man who grew up in one of our orphanages and is now a pastor in a village in his own country. Even though he was an orphan, he has found purpose and now leads others to the Savior that redeemed his life.
- Pae -- a young woman who now works as an elementary school teacher in a Christian school near her orphanage. Pae may have grown up as an orphan, but Jesus is using her past and her gifts to teach children with special needs.
- Bay — a college student studying to be an engineer. He recognizes that God has a calling on his life and is in full-tilt pursuit to live a life ‘worthy of the gospel’.
Stories like these lead me to the truth about caring for orphans:
The narrative is up for grabs. While many of our orphans are becoming healthy, and filled with Christ’s love, there is an enemy who is working to sabotage their lives. He is full of evil and sometimes is relentless.
The stories reveal truth about engaging with orphans:
God’s Word commands that we care about the orphan. The story-line for orphans has much to do with us. God’s solution involves our engagement in the lives, well-beings, futures and eternities of these precious ones. Their narratives are not finished and God calls us to be a part of His story for these kids.
As we move to wrapping up our Non-Event, I pray you are stirred and even compelled to join in this work. Whether you choose to become a monthly sponsor for one of these kids, a monthly donor for the overall ministries of LightBridge, give a one-time sacrificial gift to LightBridge, or join our prayer team, my prayer is that you would choose to be a part of this end game with us. God is at work and He uses us to be a part of His story-telling! Will you join us?
Our $10,000 match is coming to an end. We have made headway, but still ask that you prayerfully consider ways you can help us meet the matching goal. Don't wait another moment. Don't wait for someone else to take up this cause. God uses us, people like you and me in the story-lines of orphans. He uses us so these children can know Him, and can grow up in a healthy environment where they are empowered to become difference-makers for Jesus in their part of the world.
Will you take time right now to respond and join us by clicking the donate button and giving sacrificially? I’m so thankful for the ways God will use you and I in His narrative!
Written by Karla Tillapaugh
kah say - orphan story number four
Can you imagine what it would be like to run for your life? What would it be like to be stripped of your family and your home in a moment? To spend each night hiding and sleeping in a jungle eating only what you can find?
It sounds like a movie, doesn’t it?
This was the reality for Kah Say, a 19 year old young man who barely survived after the Burmese army destroyed his village. The destruction and chaos was so devastating that Kah Say lost his family and could not locate them. All he had left was a friend who ran away with him to save their lives.
For one month Kah Say and his friend by foot trudged through the jungle. Their destination was a refugee camp in Thailand that would become their home.
This is the story of many of our war torn orphans from Burma who God has graciously placed in Jury’s Orphanage on the border of Thailand and Burma. They live as victims of war, displaced, growing up in a camp where rations of rice are distributed to them through the United Nations. A refugee camp that was only supposed to be a temporary safe location until they could go home has become their permanent home as a result of a war that just won't end.
Kah Say’s story is one of heartache and inspiration. Today, he is an example to the younger children at Jury’s Orphanage as an example of someone who has overcome a life that has been so cruel to him. Kah Say is a Christian and believes in the love of Jesus. He feels like God has called him to tell people about Jesus. He attends school in the refugee camp where he is dedicated to sharing the salvation message of Christ with his peers and friends.
The beautiful part about Kah Say’s story and others like him is that God never forgot about them. When the world moved on and these children began finding a new home in a refugee camp, and began dealing with the trauma of their past, God drew near to them. In fact, He began orchestrating a way for the orphanage to be sponsored by people like you and me.
Two worlds collided. I can’t help but imagine what will happen when all the kids are adults like Kah Say, who after losing everything, can still proclaim the name of Jesus as their source of life and love.
Will you join us in continued prayer for Kah Say and the children at Jury’s Orphanage? Would you consider donating toward the on going work of supporting each of these orphaned children?
Your donations this week will be doubled. Your $1, automatically becomes $2. For young men like Kah Say, who can never repay you for your giving, it simply means the world. It provides a world of safety and refuge. It gives him a place not only to survive but thrive.
Kah Say’s story reveals this truth about orphans:
Orphans are like us, built with the innate desire for love and family.
It leads me to this truth about caring for orphans:
Not one person can reach all of these orphans. It takes an army of people who will partner with God in his work among them.
That leads me to the truth about you and I engaging in orphan care:
Even if we’re oceans apart from them, we can surround orphans with love through prayer and giving.
Written by Amreitha Jeevamanoharan
Anonae - orphan story number three
When the word orphan comes to mind, I think of someone who was not wanted. Someone who was cast away by the people who should have held that person most dear. I think of my own parents who would rather sacrifice themselves than see their children in pain. Anonae is an orphan. He is one of the youngest and smallest orphan in any of our three orphanages.
Anonae has a story that is different than most, and in a way, even more heartbreaking. When Anonae’s birth mother found out she was pregnant, she attempted to abort her baby. She was very poor, and her methods were unconventional. The abortion failed. God saved this amazing baby’s life from being snuffed out before he even had a chance. Some months later, precious little Anonae was born. He lived with his unstable birth mother until he was four, and he was then given to Blossom Home because she was unwilling and unable to care for him. He was cast away by those who should have loved him most, but mercifully he ended up in the arms of two women who love him like their own.
Our Blossom Home directors have a special affection for little Anonae. His smile lights up a room, his energy is infectious, and he makes friends much more readily than any of the other kids at Blossom Home. This stands in stark contrast to his demeanor when he first came to the orphanage. In those early days, he wouldn’t talk, he wouldn’t smile, and he wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. The signs of neglect and a lack of love were all too apparent. Today you’d never know or suspect that Anonae had ever been unloved. He radiates joy. The other thing you should know about Anonae is that as a result of the botched abortion his physical growth is stunted, and he has learning disabilities. Anonae is now seven, but much smaller than he should be. The Blossom Home directors say that he’s growing faster, and learning faster now, but he still has a long way to go.
Anonae’s story reveals this about orphans:
Each orphan has different needs and wounds that we must implore the Spirit of God to help us minister to effectively.
That leads me to the truth about caring for orphans:
It won’t always be easy, and it certainly won’t be cookie-cutter, but God can reach into even the most difficult situations to turn them into something beautiful and glorifying to Himself.
Anonae’s story reveals the truth about engaging with orphans:
If we don’t do it, who will? Anonae could easily be another statistic, instead of the little miracle you see pictured here.
Your donations this week will be doubled by a generous donor. Your $1 will automatically become $2. Join us in caring for orphans like Anonae, who, without the support of people like you would be just another statistic.
Written by Sarah Addy
$10,000 MATCHING DONATION!
Today through Monday, 11/24, we have the incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of orphans through a $10,000 matching donation. Starting TODAY, every dollar that is given (up to $10,000) will be matched -- doubling the size of your donation!
Would you join us by making a donation to LightBridge International?
Your partnership with us is directly affecting the lives of orphans. We look forward to posting each day how much has been raised and how much is left to go! We're thankful for all God is doing to raise awareness about orphans and the ways He will provide through this Non-Event.
LEMA - Orphan Story Number TWO
Lema seems too old to be considered an orphan. Today, she's 23 years old and still lives at Huen Nam Jai Orphanage in Chiang Mai Thailand. Lema grew up at this orphanage and has suffered with a pretty significant learning disability that has greatly affected her educational pursuits. But that hasn't limited her dreams.
Lema's story is similar to many of our orphans. Abandoned by her mom when she was young, Lema was brought to the loving embrace of Huen Nam Jai Orphanage, where her learning disability began to surface. Like many of our orphans, Lema's early years didn't afford her the privilege of beginning school when most children do; instead, she began first grade at eight or nine years of age. As the years continued, her peers seemed to easily graduate to the next grade level in school while Lema remained behind.
Lema came to know and trust Jesus as a young teenager; yet each time we visited her orphanage, I couldn't help but notice her inferior countenance and insecurity. As one of the older orphans, Lema was tasked with helping make meals and also had additional responsibilities in caring for the children. She was quiet, always in the background, and always seemed to be working. Throughout the years, I watched discouragement and failure push her further to the background. Isn't that how the Enemy of our souls works? Using our weaknesses to defeat us. This was indeed true for Lema. We prayed and asked the Lord to work a change in her heart...a change of healing, confidence and security.
As Lema approached graduation from high school, her choices for higher education were extremely limited due to her disabilities. However, God was at work. I watched as a stirring originated in her heart. Lema began to allow her Creator to instill her with a confidence and security in who He had created her to be. She began to dream about what she wanted to be. The transformation in her heart has been subtle but undeniable. Today, Lema is in college majoring in community development. She sensed God's call to work with poor communities-- with people who lacked resources and abilities. Isn't that how the Lover of our souls works? Using our weaknesses to craft compassion and develop a calling towards His Kingdom...even using our weaknesses for His Glory?
Lema's story reveals this truth about orphans:
Each and every orphan has dreams! As followers of Jesus, each one has a part to play in God's Kingdom work!
That leads me to the truth about caring for orphans:
We hold a responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus with each and every child in our care and invite them to follow Jesus.
Finally, Lema's story reveals the truth about engaging with orphans:
We are a part of their story and their story is a part of ours.
Through our prayer covering, encouraging words and sacrificial gifts, we have a part to play in seeing these orphans grow up to follow the dreams God has planted in their hearts.
For His Kingdom, may we choose to engage in their stories during this week. Thank you for joining us!
Written by Karla Tillapaugh
ABBA - Orphan Story Number One
As I interviewed Abba, many years ago, I couldn't help but notice her shy demeanor. Just a six year old at the time, Abba was the most quiet and introverted orphan that we had interviewed. I assumed her shyness was because of the camera steadily recording her translated words. I pressed on, asking question after question, hoping she would warm up and open up.
The questions I asked each child started off easy and non-threatening. Slowly, my questions probed deeper until I was able to delve into how each child was placed at the orphanage. For most of the orphans, this question is emotional to answer. It reminds them of a time of immense pain and sorrow. We ask because we want to know their stories and be able to share with their sponsors ways to specifically pray for them. We also believe there is redemptive healing that happens when children are given the opportunity to share their wounds in safe and loving environments. For our LightBridge orphans, we strive to provide the kinds of homes in which these amazing children feel safe and unconditionally loved, both by our staff and especially by their Creator.
As I turned the vulnerability corner and asked Abba how she arrived at Blossom Home, her entire demeanor changed. Instead of looking at me and answering in quiet and simple words, Abba shifted her gaze from mine and proceeded to withdraw into complete silence. I wondered if perhaps she didn't understand my question, so I phrased it differently and watched her eyes glaze over, staring into emptiness. The silence hung precariously between us, screaming for a way out of the interview. This little girl retreated into a place where she couldn't answer. The far away look in her eyes revealed to me that she had been through something terrible. She didn't cry. She didn't make eye contact. And she didn't answer another question.
We ended Abba's interview and she left the room to join the other children. I turned to the Thai house parents, who sat through the interview. They were now in tears. They proceeded to share that Abba had been sexually abused before she was placed in the orphanage. Only recently had Abba been able to begin to speak with them about the horrors of her abuse. Her raw and deeply wounded heart was just beginning down the road of healing...a very, very long road.
That first interview with Abba had a significant impact upon her. Whether it was the camera recording her, or the fact that this western lady with blond hair and blue eyes wanted to know deep things about her past, something triggered inside Abba and caused her to completely shut down during that first interview.
Six months later, we decided to gather short snippets of the children on video for their sponsors. We helped them rehearse the simple sentences that they would say to their sponsors that went something like this: "Hello, my name is Abba and I am six years old. Thank you for sponsoring me." The task seemed harmless enough and for most orphans, it was fun (and funny) to learn the English words and try to pronounce them correctly. As Abba stepped into the camera's view, we waited for her to begin speaking. With the camera rolling, we watched as she nervously twisted her fingers in circles and then absently look into a far away place in her mind. As we tried coaxing her to say the words to her sponsors, Abba's eyes filled with tears that rolled down her perfectly brown cheeks. My mother's heart kicked in ferociously and I immediately shut down the camera and knelt beside Abba, holding her in my arms as she gently cried. The filming was over. Abba needed to feel safe.
About a year later, we decided to try gathering short snippets again. This time, I pulled Abba aside and asked if she felt like she wanted to be on camera for her sponsors. I was surprised by her excitement and agreement about filming. We rehearsed sentences with the children with this message: "Hello, my name is Abba. Thank you for sponsoring me. Merry Christmas!" As Abba's turn came to be on camera, she sheepishly looked at me and her house parents. Then, taking a deep breath, she quietly but flawlessly said her lines. In my surprise at her completion of this task, my emotions got the best of me. I clapped and cheered and then said: "Abba, you did it, without any tears!" She looked at me, smiled and then immediately burst into tears. I realized the enormous courage it required of her to face the camera and immediately ran to kneel beside her while she cried again. Her tears were genuine. They weren't tears of trauma this time. They were tears of courage, of healing, of hope.
I can't begin to unpack the physical, psychological and spiritual processing that Abba has been through...and continues to go through as she grows up at Blossom Home. I realize that orphan care doesn't just happen. It takes years of intentionality, prayer, immense love, patience, hard work, and at least a dozen other things that I didn't list here. I also realize some truths about orphans. And some truths about caring for them. Each day we share these stories with you, we will share the truths we have learned (and are continuing to learn) about orphans and caring for them.
Abba's story reveals truth about all our orphans:
Each and every one of them has deep wounds that cannot be ignored or brushed aside.
That truth reveals a truth about caring for them:
We don't merely provide food, clothing and education for them, as important as those things are. Rather, we provide homes of safety in which our children are immensely loved and given the kind of childhood in which their wounds can begin to be healed by their Creator.
Abba's story is not yet complete. Today, she can say a lot of things in front of a camera without bursting into tears. Her wounds aren't erased, but they are in the process of healing.
That leads me to a truth about you and I engaging with orphans:
Without the prayer support, encouragement, and financial gifts of folks who care about orphans, this kind of work wouldn't be happening in these kid's lives.
Written by Karla Tillapaugh
WELCOME TO THE LIGHTBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL NON-EVENT
Thank you for caring enough about our LightBridge orphans to read their stories. I hope you'll join me in praying for Abba because of what you've read. And I hope you'll consider giving towards this work through your sacrificial gift at this time. Click the donate button below to be a part of the LightBridge non-event.
Fall is typically when non-profit organizations host big event fundraisers. This year, LightBridge decided to take an alternate route and host an event called the LightBridge International Non-Event. Rather than spend funds and energy on a large scale event that only local folks could attend, we're asking you to be a part of our LightBridge International Non-Event from wherever you are!
For many years, LightBridge has been deeply involved in orphan care at three orphanages operating in Thailand and the Burma Border. Since 2006, our sponsorship programs (which many of you are a part of) have clothed, fed, educated, discipled, and raised up children in each location. Orphan care is one of the foundations that LightBridge was built upon. Our Non-Event is a time in which we highlight this specific part of our ministry and ask you to be a part of it as well.
Whether you live in the US, Europe, Asia or the North Pole, we're hoping you will join with us in caring for the Orphan during our LightBridge International Non-Event.
Here's how to be involved:
- Watch the video below and hear about God's work with the orphan at LightBridge International.
- Share the video with your family. Watch it and talk about how you, as a family, are specifically caring for the orphan.
- Pray about the needs we share during the week.
- Tag and invite friends/co-workers/family members/associates to join in the Non-Event as well.
- Join us through your additional or first time donation (one-time gift or monthly commitment).
- Become a sponsor! Commit to sponsor an orphan at $34 per month. You will receive prayer emails, and a bio card with yearly updates on your child.
- Check this page daily to read the stories of the orphans that we work with and all that work entails.