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The Magnificent Seven

2007 January 8
by Mike

Several weeks ago, the NT Times carried a feature article on seven children in Ghana who were sold into slavery by their impoverished parents.

So what happens? The 1.6 million subscribers read the story, feel bad about it, and go on — right?

Normally, maybe. But, thankfully for the children, this article came out when my brother and my sister-in-law were in NYC. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, since their son’s death in 1999 they have been on a mission to provide care for orphans around the world. In the beginning, it was mostly in SE Asia. But that concern has expanded.

Since the article came out, it has expanded to children in Ghana.

My sister-in-law has been praying for those children since then. But it was prayer backed up by action (the best kind). She asked me for contacts in Ghana. So I put her in touch with Dan McVey, a longtime Ghana missionary and now a prof at ACU, and with Tommy Drinnen, who is one of the leaders at Village of Hope. Through those contacts, the seven children were rescued and brought to Village of Hope.

Recently, Pam and my niece, Crista (an ACU freshman), went to Ghana to care for the children. They have horrifying stories — such as one young boy who was tied to a tree for a night because he hadn’t met his quota — yet they also have amazing stories of hope and deliverance.

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done–
on earth as it is in heaven.

– – – –

I’ll be spending this morning with my friend Butch.

Butch is an orthopedic surgeon.

Back in November when my knee (torn meniscus and all) kept throwing out, it was easier to commit to arthroscopic surgery. But I’ve almost backed out lately since my knee, perhaps knowing what’s ahead, has been behaving properly. I have to keep reminding myself that just because my knee is acting GOOD, doesn’t mean it isn’t BAD.

35 Responses leave one →
  1. January 8, 2007

    Praise God for hearts of compassion! We can never right all the injustice in this world but perhaps we can touch a few lives with the love of the Lord.

    I’ll be praying for you today, Mike.

  2. January 8, 2007

    Thank you for letting us know about the children in Ghana and for sharing your brother and sisterinlaws story.

    People like that teach us what being “Christ-like” is all about.

    -Paula

  3. January 8, 2007

    Mike, don’t know if you remember I tore cartilage in my knee playing raquetball about five years ago. I waited till I had increased the initial damage by continueing to play before having the orthoscopic. I know now it would have been better not to wait. The larger the tear the harder the recovery. One more word of advice. Be sure and keep up excercizing the knee after the physical therapy is over. I’ve found cycling and an elliptical trainer are good. Walking does not do much for it unless it’s uphill. My knee never really felt normal after surgery till I lived in Switzerland five months a couple of years later. The constant need to walk or cyple up and down hill there really excercised it. If I get out of the habit for very long it goes back to bothering me.

  4. January 8, 2007

    Our church in Michigan helps support the Village of Hope. In addition to yearly support, we take all the change from the collection and send it to them. (Last year our congregation of 200 gave a couple of thousand dollars just from the change in our pockets.) Fred Asare does a very good work there, I think.

    It’s wonderful to hear of people who are helping others. I often wonder what I could really do, but it’s true that even if you only help one, that one person benefits.

  5. January 8, 2007

    I’m speechless about your brother and sister-in-law. What they are doing is incredible!

    Have fun with Butch. What a name for an orthopedic surgeon. Ouch!

  6. January 8, 2007

    Knees are like some people. Just because they’re acting good, doesn’t mean they aren’t bad.

  7. charlie s. permalink
    January 8, 2007

    As I explained to you when we first talked about your “procedure”, my daughter , at age 10, survived it and so will you. A little bit of therapy, and you will be out there calling pitches in no time.

  8. January 8, 2007

    Many of us in NYC get the Times. And many of my Christian and non-Christian friends read that horrifying story. May I please copy/paste your post on my blog for my NYC readers?

    This post, BTW, is the most inspiring post I’ve ever read!

  9. January 8, 2007

    Matthew 19:13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

    14 Jesus said, β€œLet the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
    Matt. 19:15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

    God be praised for such people that care for children and their welfare.

    Peace.

  10. January 8, 2007

    WOW!
    Really.
    WOW!
    Your brother and sister-in-law are just incredible people! They have turned their personal tragedy into a vehicle of salvation for many! Thank God (literally) for them! They are an incredible example to all of us! I will read the newspaper this morning with new eyes!

  11. January 8, 2007

    I’m with Joe Hayes. This is the most inspiring post I’VE ever read, too. A movie needs to be made about it – how it all came about and happened. This is as good as “Hotel Rwanda” or “Schindler’s List” I think.

    Thank God for your family Mike. I’ll be praying for the children and all who care for them, including you, your brother and sister-in-law.

  12. January 8, 2007

    beautiful beautiful…Man, that is awesome. I love her for that!!

    Whitney came home from seeing Blood Diamond the other night just really torn up about the army of children..she made me promise that the next time I buy a diamond I will ask if it is a conflict diamond. (ummm….of course I’ve never bought a diamond but sure babe I’ll do that..)

  13. Jim H. permalink
    January 8, 2007

    Thanks Mike for sharing about this connection. I will be travelling to Vilage of Hope this saturday for 3 weeks. Looking forward to seeing these children. Actually had a reply fron Sharon Lefraniere the NY Times journalist, who was excited about the children’s fate but anxious about their future. This story of hope has transcended to a lot of people and truly God has been glorified by the efforts of all. As Fred Asare says… “Hold Hope High”

  14. Richard permalink
    January 8, 2007

    I know that many, many people read this blog so I wanted to add some more information. I have been to the Village of Hope several times and it is a place unlike anything I have ever seen. It is a place that always finds a way to make room for one more orphan and this case seven more. I want everyone to know that this place more than anything else needs your support. They get plenty of visitors, but too little financial support. For instance, Tommy Drinnen, has lost much of his support, but he has committed to stay regardless. In fact, he has has lost all of his working fund, and our elders are meeting tomorrow night to condsider picking up the slack. Fred Asare, the director, spends way too much time trying to raise support. The Village of Hope has big dreams to not only save children, but to raise these children up to become the future leaders of the church in Ghana, and I believe that their dreams are even bigger than that. I am convinced that they will raise up young men and women to lead the whole country. These seven children are only there because churches like the one mentioned from Michigan and several others send financial support. Sending $100.00 to Ghana is like sending $1000.00 in the U.S. Money goes a long way there. I want to challange everyone who reads this blog to go the the Village of Hope web site and make a contribution. I want to challange you to go to your elders and talk to them about supporting this wonderful work. It is not only an orphanage, but it is also a school that is educating children all over the area, and their dreams are only slowed by a lack of funds. I have never met anyone quiet like Fred. He could run a Fortune 500 company in America, but he has chosen to stay in his home country of Ghana to make a difference for hundreds of children who would have no hope without people like him. Is not taking care of children who have no one at the very heart of true Christianity? I think we all know the answer. Mike thanks for giving this story the attention that it so deserves. The website is http://www.thevillageofhope.com Right now they are in the process of building a three story school. They have partially finished the second floor and are already having classes. The only reason why it is not finished is a lack of funds. They do all they can to be self sufficient, from growing their own crops to raising chickens to other farm animals. The average teacher at the Village makes less than 300 american dollars a year. These people are not in it for the money. They are in it to make a difference in the lives of children. The story of these seven children is dramatic, but for those of us who know more of the story of the Village of Hope know that every child there has a story, and the Village was there for them. I hope that what Mike has shared will inspire many people to do something to help this remarkable place.

  15. January 8, 2007

    Thank you, Mike, for this incredible and tangible story of what happens when we realize God and we together, with prayer and action, can indeed act on the news, even internationally.

    We’re trying to do something for Village of Hope as well . . . Garnett Church in Tulsa is hosting the internationally renowned (and recently seen on Leno) African Children’s Choir Friday, Jan 12. In our lobby we’ll have five “next steps” for Tulsans (we’ve invited the city) to take in becoming more aware, giving time, money, or part of their own lives, as Pam, Crista, Tommy, Dan, and you have done to help rescue 7 magnificent children.

    We’ll have Invisible Children, The Kibo Group, Ghana Water Wells, Village of Hope, and African Children’s Choir represented for participating in their missions. A friend of mine, Ken Hager, is offering his world class wood carvings for sale with all proceeds going to Village of Hope. Our goal for the night is to allow the “little children to come into our midst” and bless our community, realizing how great an asset they are in the world with their gift of music and joy . . . and to host the children and sponsors in 10 of our homes and to do that with much love and cultural appropriate hospitality, playing and talking with the children so that we become more aware of the plight and talent and suffering and joy of children in African countries. If you are in OK, MO, KS, TX, AR, please join us.

  16. Richard permalink
    January 8, 2007

    There is something wrong. A post about preachers stealing sermon matrial gets 90 posts and a post at the heart of what our mission is all about gets 16. That really says something to me. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I thought people would be commenting right and left about this. I will give it until I go to bed to get depressed. I guess I should say that I will give it until the Ohio State/Florida game starts to get depressed. Mike, please find a way to keep this going. The Village of Hope needs help to do a work that is desperate to get done.

  17. January 8, 2007

    Mike, you and your readers may be aware of a group called the International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org). It works to rescue people in slavery (among other things). If your brother and sister-in-law are interested, you may want to give them the website. Your brother and sister-in-law may be able to help provide after-care for the children who are rescued by IJM. Thanks for a great story!

  18. January 8, 2007

    Richard, don’t get too discouraged. The post about stealing sermons was up for 4 days. This post has been up for only a few hours. More people may care, but have not gotten on their computers after coming home from work.

  19. January 8, 2007

    I agree with Richard. I’ve been to the Village of Hope as well, and it is a wonderful place. Fred Asare and Tommy and the house parents and all of the rest are doing a wonderful job, and fully deserve our support.

  20. January 9, 2007

    Mike, I pray your surgery went well and that you’re as comfortable as possible. May your rehab bring you back to your usual bouncy self. πŸ™‚

    What your brother and SIL are doing is so incredibly wonderful. However, it really doesn’t surprise me that a Cope family member would be touched to act in this manner. How I’d wish to be able to take and active part in this ministry, but many factors make it virtually impossible. So I will continue to support them in prayer, prayer that pleads rescue and comfort for the little ones.

  21. Richard permalink
    January 9, 2007

    Kathy,

    I know that there are many people like you who for a variety of reasons cannot physically send a check or give direct financial support, but my prayer is that you and others like you can get just one person of means to read this story. Sometimes it is not the person with the money who really makes the difference, but the person who gets the word out. God bless you for your prayers. They will not go unanswered.

  22. January 9, 2007

    What a gentle response, Richard. Thank you!

    Not to worry! People that know me would be hard pressed to consider me taciturn or shy in expressing a passion for work in His Kingdom. This will be no exception, God willing. Again, thanks! πŸ™‚

  23. January 9, 2007

    Mike, thank you for talking about the seven children and the Village of Hope. When we took over the work there in 1993 we hardly imagined having more than a couple of houses and maybe 30 or so children to care for. Things have changed because God has bigger plans than ours. Fred Asare does a great job and has been a tremendous blessing for the Village of Hope.

    Ghana West Africa Missions has been working and raising the funds for the Village of Hope and Rural Water Development Project since 1993 for VOH and 1987 for the RWDP. If anyone would like to help, please have them go to our website: http://www.thevillageofhope.com

    God bless you Mike.

  24. Anita Drinnen(Tommy's mom) permalink
    January 16, 2007

    Mike, thanks for telling others about the wonderful work God is doing through your family and the folks at the Village of Hope. Anyone who hears the story of the Village of Hope will be inspired. In addition to the Village of Hope website, you can see some more of the work at web.mac.com/tommydrinnen. Thank you again.

  25. marta permalink
    February 13, 2007

    Pam, I take my spiritual hat off to oyou folks.

    I want to do this and have had such a deep urge within my spirit to reach
    these children. Tell me more..

    you have a mom who lost her precious ones and knows what it means to love on children.

    Can you teach me how to take the first baby step to touching a life of a child in GHandi?

    marta

  26. Risse Snelgrove permalink
    February 15, 2007

    Pam,I read your article in the New York Times and they saw your story on Oprah Show last week. You are proof that one person can make a difference in someones life or the world. You are an amazing person. I am the convention chair person for the Virgina Synodial Women of the Lutheran Church (WELCA). We are holding our annual convention in Roanoke Virginia the last weekend in July. Our theme is Serve Boldly. We are looking for Keynote speakers to share their stories of how they served boldly. We are looking for someone like you. A mom with a huge heart that could not say no. We would love to have you as our keynote speaker. We will also be making a donation to your cause. If you are interested I would love to hear from you. You can reach me by email at rsnelgrove@aol.com. I would need to know your cost and of course we will pay all expenses. I look forward to hearing from you. Risse Snelgrove

  27. Kathy permalink
    February 16, 2007

    Thank you for the work that you do and the cause that you fight for. This year is an especially important year and it’s humbling to see the efforts of so many people that care.

    I just saw a screening of Amazing Change (chronicles William Wilberforce’s efforts to abolish the slave trade in Britain. This year happens to be the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade) and I recommend it to everyone (release date: next month).

    There’s so much more to be done, even moreso now.

    On a sidenote, I missed the Oprah segment, did anyone perhaps tape the show?

  28. Emily Lavender permalink
    February 26, 2007

    Hey, I will be going in May with a group of students from Lipscomb University to the Village of Hope. My uncle-in-law, Earl Lavender, was at the Village whent he children freed from slavery arrived. We had no idea all of this publicity would be coming from the Village when our trip was planned months ago. I was wondering if anyone might have taped the Oprah show with the story. I was unable to watch (as was most of our team) and we cannot buy the video from Oprah – we can only purchase a transcript. If anyone taped it, we’d be happy to pay for a copy.

    Many blessings!

  29. Kathy permalink
    March 6, 2007

    Me too. I’ll be willing to pay for a copy.

  30. June 5, 2007

    Hey just more proof that it was never Gods will for one man to be stuck with trying to feed the sheep every week.

    1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received from him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man should teach you and ye need not that any man should teach you and ye need not that any man should teach you : but as the same anointing teacheth you concerning all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

    You will say this: he was dealing with certain Hearsay. But I say: but as the same anointing teacheth you (concerning
    all things)
    Mat 23:8 But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and (you are all brothers.) equal!
    Mat 23:9 And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven.
    Mat 23:10 Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ.
    Mat 23:11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
    Mat 23:12 And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted.
    Mat 23:13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Jesus said
    Mar 10:43 But so it shall not be among you: but whoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
    Mar 10:44 And whoever of you will be the chief, shall be servant of all.
    Luk 22:26 But you shall not be so: but the greater among you, let him be as the lesser, and he who governs, as one who serves.
    Luk 22:27 For which is the greater; he who reclines, or he who serves? Is it not he who reclines? But I am among you as He who serves.
    I am a house church advocate and host with experience. I was a pastor / preacher and know the trials of preaching and it is not Gods will. In our groups we all preach all share what God is showing them for that week. It is Great to hear from the saints every week. The letters of the New Testament are not written to the pastors of ……they are written to the SAINTS OF…..Pastors didn’t exist and never should have …one reference and a whole movement is born…Protestants…

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. PreacherMike » Blog Archive » “Building a Memorial to a Son, One Child At a Time”
  2. PreacherMike » Blog Archive » Touch a Life
  3. PreacherMike » Blog Archive » Oprah Moment
  4. PreacherMike » Blog Archive » Touch-a-Life Ministries
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