UPDATE: Phil & Sara and their girls plan to leave for Tanzania April 18. We'll be commissioning them in our worship services on April 11.
With over 40 million orphans in Africa’s 56 countries there is no one ministry, no one strategy to address the desperate need. The sheer scope of the crisis can lead to a certain paralysis. What can I do? How can anyone make a difference for all these precious children? Rosemary Jensen, the president of the Rafiki Foundation (rafiki-foundation.org/), answers that feeling of helplessness with a question, “If 100 people were drowning in a river, and you had only three ropes, wouldn’t you throw them?”
The Rafiki Foundation is a Christian organization whose goal is to help Africa’s orphaned and vulnerable children become godly contributors to their communities and the world. It was established in 1985 by Rosemary Jensen and others who desired to help the children of Africa. While no one ministry can address the needs of every orphan on the continent, Rafiki’s plan for Africa has the potential of impacting thousands of children through the establishment of Rafiki Training Villages and Rafiki Satellite Villages. Rafiki Foundation provides God's Word and ministries of mercy to children in ten African countries.
The ChildCare Program is designed to provide completely for the physical, educational, vocational, and spiritual needs of several hundred children. Each Rafiki Village will include schools, dining facilities, an infirmary, a playing field, agricultural land, twelve cottages, and four residence halls. Each cottage houses ten children and one African mother. Each cottage lives together as a family—eating, going to church, playing, and working together. The children and the mothers connect as family. When the children enter junior secondary school they move to a residence hall at the Rafiki Village which has a married couple who become the Rafiki mother and father for the children thus providing a father figure for our Rafiki children.
Phil and Sara Nickels first felt God’s call to this ministry ten years ago. After supporting the work in various ways over the years, God opened the door for them to commit to serve as long-term overseas staff in February of last year. Since then, God has provided for their full financial support through churches (including Village Bible Church) and individuals. Phil and Sara, with their daughters Lydia (11) and Audrey (6) will depart for Moshi, Tanzania on April 18. Phil will be serving as village director, while developing the village site’s agricultural land. Sara will be serving as assistant childcare director.
There are many ways to participate in this ministry to orphans. Most of the costs of meeting the needs of the children are covered by orphan sponsorships. For a minimum of $25 a month you can give a gift from the heart that will make a difference in someone’s life. If you’d like to help in a hands-on way, short term mission trips from two weeks to one year are an option. Rafiki Prayer Groups meet monthly to pray for the needs of specific villages. You can check http://rafiki-foundation.org/prayer/prayer_groups.html for more information.