The Lulu Tree prevents tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s families through the local church — so that they, in turn, can care for the most vulnerable, such as orphans and the elderly.
Our goal is to preserve families whenever possible, equipping communities to care for their own children through the local church. Poverty and abandonment pose a threat to the family unit and can create orphan situations, even when a mother’s deepest wish is to care for her children.
In South Sudan, the civil war has ended the lives of many parents, and in the refugee camps, thousands of children live in what is termed “child-headed homes.” Children as young as nine are put in charge of younger siblings, even as their mother’s grave sits freshly dug beside their clay hut.
In the summer of 2019 Pastor Santos decided to take in 18 of these children, in addition to the 6 he was already caring for in his tiny “turkool” or thatched-roofed hut. To learn more about this man and his heart for the orphans of South Sudan, please go here.
Additionally, Pastor Santos is caring for the “jajjas” or elderly widows in the camps by pairing them with the children; so he is putting a jajja or grandmother with each child-headed family, with him acting as a father to them all.
It is our hope that many pastors in the camps will join Santos in being a father to the fatherless and a defender of the widow (Psalm 68:5).
Our goal is to preserve families whenever possible, equipping communities to care for their own children through the local church. Poverty and abandonment pose a threat to the family unit and can create orphan situations, even when a mother’s deepest wish is to care for her children. The Lulu Tree Sierra Leone is dedicated to seeking out children who are at risk and assessing the best way to help them on a case-by-case basis.
Mothers who are struggling to care for their children are offered microloans, trained through the church in how to build a small business and be a good steward of their assets. Their children are assisted with the care they need until their mothers are able to afford necessities on their own, thus keeping the family intact and allowing mothers the dignity of being able to care for the needs of their family.
When a child is abandoned or orphaned, The Lulu Tree first seeks to place that child with extended family—equipping the family with sustainable support in the form of business microloans so that they have the means to care for the additional needs presented by adding a child to the family. If family cannot help, close friends and neighbors will be sought out in order to keep the child with people he or she is comfortable with, in the village where they’ve always lived.
Sometimes, suitable placement for an orphaned child can’t be found. In these cases, The Lulu Tree equips pastors to take in children in need. This is not an orphanage setting but rather a supported family, and pastors are equipped with assistance to create a sustainable means of financially providing for the children—as well as housing assistance when there is need for extra space.
Our heart is that every child should live in a loving family, and that every family should be able to care for their children. Sierra Leone is a nation wracked by war, disease and flooding and the children are most vulnerable when a nation struggles. Through compassionate care, the love of the Father is being shown to those most in need.
Pastor Sonnel and Mommy Christians’s family at Bethel Home
Pastor Sonnel Kamara (Regional Director of Western Africa) and his wife, Christiana, have always had a heart for orphans. The Lord has provided a home for them one floor at a time, and The Lulu Tree helped complete it so that the couple could follow God’s call and welcome in orphaned or abandoned children. This large family is now thriving in Bethel Home, fulfilling the command in Psalm 82:3 to “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the weak and the oppressed.”
Pastor Ezekiel and Musu Kabbesesay’s family in Massassarile Village
In the village of Massassarile, Pastor Ezekiel and his wife Musu have just settled into a home with three bedrooms, where they now have space to care for orphaned and abandoned children from the village. This young couple has also just added baby Jeremiah to their family. The children are happy to be going to school, having help with their studies, and living near relatives and friends in the village while being protected and loved in this new family.
Pastor Bai and his wife with some of the 44 orphans under their care.
Pastor Bai and his wife have been caring for orphans in a compound built by missionaries years ago. The missionaries have long since abandoned the project, but this couple has continued to take in and raise children using their own resources. The Lulu Tree discovered that Pastor Bai’s tractor (with which he had been producing food that sustained the children) is now broken, and the family is struggling to feed and care for the children. The Lulu Tree has committed to helping get the family back on their feet, so they can continue doing the work the Lord has led them to do.
We are honored to partner with Pastor David Zawu, a man who received a dream in 2008 telling him to start a school for his own people. Using just $200 he started this school which now cares for over 500 students, 40 of whom have no parents. He and his churches are also operating two farms in the hopes of providing a full-time feeding program for these children.
For over a decade this school has operated without any national or international support. It is our desire to come alongside the vision Pastor Zawu has for his country, in honor of his faithfulness to Christ and his commitment to his people.
In Uganda hundreds of jajjas have been ministered to by dozens of pastors through the form of outreach. Each month the jajjas in neighboring villages would stumble, sometimes for hours, across red-road terrain to get to the host church, in time for the encouraging message, healing prayers, and a warm meal.
Through these outreaches they were connected with pastors who then began to visit them in their homes, to view their dilapidated living conditions (many without even a papyrus mat to sleep on), and to make contact with the jajja’s relatives, asking how they could partner with the church in caring for the grandmother.