A note from John 7/30/2019

Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

I believe in miracles. I have come to expect them, knowing that the Lord is involved in the details of our lives.
A recent trip to Detroit is a good example. Virlee and I went there to share, with some people we had never met, the story of El-Shaddaih Orphanage (ESO) in Malawi, Africa. We spent three days meeting with many people who already had some familiarity with ESO and who cared and wanted to know more. I was allowed to preach and update a couple churches as to the current state and needs of the orphanage.

We made many new friends. The reception given us was amazing. Virlee and I drove back to Iowa knowing that we had witnessed Jesus through these new friends.

We received much encouragement and advice, and a list of tasks to accomplish in order to make Blessings for El-Shaddaih, Inc., (BESI), more responsive and more accountable to donors. We started BESI as a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that ESO donors can donate through in order to get a tax deduction. We are also helping Blessings and Joel in an advisory capacity.

Our objective is to see that 100 children are raised up to be educated Christians who are equipped to break the cycle of poverty in their families, changing the world one child at a time. I can’t think of any task more “pure and undefiled” than that!
The needs of the orphanage are great. Many of these kids are dumped at the front gate because the parents can’t afford them. Many, like Malawi in general, have AIDS, malaria and so on. Most amazingly, Blessings started the Orphanage because the Lord asked her to do so. She started it with no money whatsoever.

Yet, the children are taught the bible. They know it and live it at a young age. She requires them to “go to church” every morning at 8AM and worship and pray. They are in church every night at 8PM to worship and pray. Twice a day! They are totally dependent on Jesus. They are very polite and respectful. They are eager to learn and be productive members of society.

I have lived my life according to the will of God. One of my favorite bible verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for that is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Every day I measure my life against those three commands from the Lord. On the first night at the compound, I was lying in bed and thinking about all that I had seen. As I listened to the children outside playing, laughing and rejoicing, it occurred to me that these children are already thankful, joyful and prayerful.

It is a miracle that the orphanage was given the land by the government for no cost. It is a miracle that a Rhodesian farmer stopped by one day and gave her a few pigs to start a herd. It is a miracle that the Lord drew me to Africa to “check it out”. It is a miracle that the orphanage won over the government officials in the town by sharing what food they have with the prisoners in jail; and by regularly cleaning the local hospital, even though they can’t get healthcare if the orphanage has no money! It is a miracle that so many have come to Christ as a result of this orphanage. Even some of the prisoners in the jail. The Lord is involved in the details of our lives. And he does amazing things through ordinary people like you and me.
My eyes have been opened as to the insane amount of work and stress involved in running an orphanage. I think back to raising two children in our house, and how much work that was. Then, take it times 50.

Our vision for the Orphanage. 1) Develop a long-range plan for the facilities. 2) Build a new church building that can double as a school, to replace the old building that perished in a storm. 3) Make plans for educating the kids on-site. 4) Plan for a healthcare clinic on-site. This is required by the government. 5) Install aquaponics on-site to grow fish and vegetables, expanding their diet.

So, this is a “call to arms.” We are looking for a few good people. People who want to be remembered for a legacy of service to others. People who want to live their life in a “pure and undefiled” way. The joy and peace of heart that can come from a project like this is limitless.

Please join with us and our friends in Michigan and lift 100 lives out of poverty. Then, watch it spread through Malawi and elsewhere. You will end up getting more out of it than they will.

If you are wondering how you can fit in, call me or email me to talk.

John Sklenar
[email protected]


Join us in helping El-Shaddaih Orphanage. Your gift will have a huge impact on the over 100 children who live there. To find out how you can make a difference, visit our "Get Involved" tab or send an inquiry on our Contact page.