Wednesday, 16 May 2018 09:20

Children's Hope Mobilizing the Church to Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Written by  Angela Hardgrave
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From Montgomery, Alabama to 1,300 miles across the ocean in the nation of Haiti, Children’s Hope has been changing children’s lives for the past eight years. Their mission is caring for children, strengthening families, and serving communities in Jesus’ name, and they faithfully carry out this mission every day.

 

Children’s Hope was founded in 2010 by Andy and Tanya Birchfield and is closely connected with First Baptist Church in Montgomery. According to Executive Director Jared McCrory, their decision to found this ministry evolved from personal experience. “Through the process of adopting their daughter Hope from Moldova, the Lord led the Birchfields to begin this ministry to encourage and mobilize others to care for orphans and vulnerable children in various ways,” said McCrory.

 

The vision of the ministry changed slightly later that year. McCrory said, “The initial focus was on advocating for and supporting foster care and adoption in Montgomery County, but the trajectory of the ministry significantly changed with a trip to Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010. A vision team from Montgomery became aware of a small group of children in need of immediate care, and Children’s Hope began its initial ministry in Haiti through providing housing and caregivers for these sixteen children.”

 

Children’s Hope impacts thousands of lives annually in Haiti through various programs. They currently have 50 children in their children’s home, and there are over 1,200 students enrolled in seven church schools which the ministry oversees and fully funds. “Most of these children are from low-income families or live in remote areas where there are no other viable school options for them,” said McCrory. They also provide medical care, serving over 4,000 patients in the community. “We provide quality and affordable medical care through our excellent staff of two Haitian physicians, two nurses, a dentist, a lab tech, and others,” McCrory said. While providing housing, education, and medical care are crucial in Haiti, the overarching mission that ties all of this together is sharing the Gospel. “We mobilize 20 or more short-term mission teams each year, and last year these teams engaged and served over 5,000 people—4,000 of those heard the Gospel, with 284 known decisions to follow Jesus for the first time,” said McCrory.

 

Although Children’s Hope is focused on serving the children of Haiti, they also remain active in the River Region through foster care advocacy and support through key partnerships with the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Live the Promise. “Children’s Hope has been involved in training and facilitating foster care support teams in the Montgomery area that connect with and assist foster families. The ministry also assists in providing foster care training to prospective foster families and has sought to encourage and assist the Montgomery County Department of Human Resources (DHR) in various ways,” said McCrory.

 

Through their partnership and support of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes, they have assisted in hosting several foster care training classes, which has resulted in multiple families being licensed as foster families in Montgomery County. McCrory said, “This has impacted dozens of children that have been placed in these homes. We’ve also had the privilege of surrounding several of these wonderful foster families with support teams that assist them through providing meals, respite care, and consistent encouragement and help. We’ve held special events, such as a foster family Christmas party this past year, and have provided Christmas presents for dozens of DHR foster children over the past two years.”

 

Whether here or in Haiti, Children’s Hope stands with children and families whom have often been through terrible ordeals. “It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the devastating effects of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and the untimely death of parents on innocent children,” McCrory said. “We have the privilege of connecting people that care with opportunities to make a difference for these children. We are passionate about what we do because  we have see so many lives transformed as these children come into the care of loving foster families in the Montgomery area or the excellent care of our children’s home staff in Haiti.”

 

McCrory continued, “We see these children begin to thrive and experience restoration in a place of light, hope, and love. We see families strengthened as we help provide much-needed education, medical care, and life-changing Gospel ministry. We see communities transformed in Haiti as we partner with local churches that God is using to shine the light of Jesus in dark places. Individuals and families are choosing to follow Jesus and getting connected with local churches—changing their lives eternally and putting their families on a different path, hopefully for generations to come. God is at work in many ways, and we are privileged to join Him in that work—and to invite others to do the same!”

 

McCrory knows that the success of Children’s Hope depends not only on their caring and dedicated staff, but also on committed ministry partners. “We have individuals, families, churches, and businesses that see the real difference we are making together. They are committed to giving, going, praying, and advocating for our ministry,” McCrory said. “Without these hundreds of partners, there is no way we could have this impact.”

 

Although many people have committed to the success and continuation of Children’s Hope, there are always needs that can be filled by those willing to support the ministry. McCrory said, “We are a non-profit ministry that relies on the generous support of people who care about the needs we are meeting, and we currently have a significant need for more financial support. We are praying for more partners to join us and help fuel the life-changing programs happening in Haiti and the River Region.” In addition to financial support, they also need more volunteers for short-term mission trips, as well as more foster families to serve our area. For more information, email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or check their website at www.childrens-hope.com. Their direct giving link to make a tax-deductible gift online is https://childrenshope.givingfuel.com/give. They are also on Instagram and Facebook.

 

McCrory encourages everyone to try to make a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities in need. He said, “When we look at the amount of brokenness, lostness, and darkness in the world today, it’s easy to become discouraged, but you can make a difference—one life at a time, one situation at a time, one family at a time. Whether it is with Children’s Hope or another organization, seek out your place and join the cause of ministering to children and families through giving, volunteering, praying and advocacy.”

 

Angela Hardgrave is a graduate of the University of Mobile with a degree in journalism and currently works in the Marketing Department of Faulkner University as a graphic designer. Angela is also a freelance writer for several publications in the River Region. She resides in Wetumpka, Alabama, with her three awesome daughters and her dog, Emmy.

Last modified on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 09:25
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