It was the fall of 2011 when Ashley and I were approached by the staff at BCN and were asked what our greatest need at the orphanage was. We quickly agreed that the greatest need at the orphanage was a new dorm for the children. The current dorm consisted of 3 rooms 12 feet by 15 feet each. The first room was shared by 14 boys, the second room was for the personnel (kitchen staff), and the third room was shared by 12 girls. In the boy’s room, there were 3 bunk beds with one closet which all the boys shared and that left some of them to sleep on the floor. Frequently, the children would wake up being bitten by insects and even at times mice. The conditions were the same on the girls’ side, only with more shoes! The need for space for the children was extremely important for many reasons. In such tight quarters, infections would frequently spread, and we realized that these were less than ideal living conditions. At the same time, we didn’t know what we could do to improve the situation. We had received different estimates on structures that would give us more living space but really did not have much hope of improving the children’s living conditions. After speaking with BCN’s staff, we were informed that the congregation would be challenged to try to raise money for a new home for the children at the orphanage in Benin instead of spending a lot of money for their personal Christmas spending that year. Nothing was promised, but there was enthusiasm and faith that God would do a great work!
As money started coming in, it was like seeing a miracle unfold right before our eyes. On Christmas, our children were informed that the church had raised about $100,000 to build them a new home. The actual cost of the building was extremely higher than the estimate that we had received, but again the Lord knew what He was doing and we were able to complete the project with the amount received. The total that came in by April 2012 was about $110,000. The ground breaking started off by paving the road up to the orphanage as it would have been impossible for us to receive our supplies needed to construct without this road. Secondly, a storage unit was built to hold our building materials and then in April of 2012 the foundation for the dorm was dug and bricks were made. Now one year later, we are ready to move into our new home of 12 bedrooms, 6 living rooms, a 40ft x 35ft multi-purpose room where the kids will study and eat their meals, 5 toilets, 7 showers, an indoor kitchen and a beautiful front porch. Wiring for electricity was installed for the future hope that someday soon we will have electricity at the orphanage as well. We are so blessed and so thankful for the body of Christ who came together to make our new dorm a reality.