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a549: Church helping to build orphanage for girls in Haiti

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Church helping to build orphanage for girls in Haiti

By: MICHAEL QUAY, Special to The Phoenix January 28,

VALLEY FORGE - Valley Forge United Methodist Church,
known to many local residents as "the little white
church just outside Valley Forge Park" is doing some
big things in the field of good works.

The congregation, first formed in 1832, is helping to
build an orphanage for girls on the island of Haiti.
And members of the church, like Richard Johnston,
actually went to the island to build the foundation of
the $300,000 project.

"Some of us will be returning to do more work in
February," Johnston said. "But the greatest part of
this mission is being done by Johna Blockman, a member
of Christian Service International (CSI)."

Blockman, a missionary for the non-denominational
organization, will be living at the orphanage herself,
helping to raise 20 Haitian infants to adulthood in
the hopes of raising ideal citizens for the newly
democratic island nation.

"This is the 'new wave' in mission work," Blockman
said. "The girls will be with us from infancy through
college. We will literally live as a family and the
orphan girls will be sisters."

"We will teach the girls vocational training, academic
classes, transitional living, three languages, as well
as other courses," she added. "And we will teach them
about their own culture. We don't want to turn them
into Americans - we want to help them be leaders and
good citizens of Haiti."

This project, known as H.O.P.E. Orphanage (Haitian
Orphanage that Provides and Educates) is only one of
many projects of CSI, and is still in need of
financial support.

"We're asking churches and congregations to 'buy' a
room at the orphanage," Blockman said. "For $3,000, a
congregation can to maintain a part of the building,
which, besides the 20 little girls, will house myself,
a few teachers, and some staff members."

CSI is an inter-denominational non-profit organization
promoting missions and mission projects worldwide. It
organizes work projects, music and personal evangelism
programs, as well as offering medical and dental teams
to the mission agencies.

"Our projects are funded by gifts from individuals and
churches," Blockman said. "And 100 percent of the
funds go to the project. Our staff members raise their
own support the same way."

H.O.P.E. Orphanage will offer twenty children a new
chance to grow up with hope, health and education. It
could well be said that it offers new purpose for
those who help them as well.

"I wasted so many years just serving and caring about
myself and my own needs," Blockman reflected. "But
when I gave them up and started serving others, God
gave me a new life, a life better than anything I
could have imagined before."

For more information on the H.O.P.E. Orphanage and
CSI, call 765-286-0711 or e-mail them at

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