May 4, 2005 – Faith Anastasia Nordstrom, life and death and life
On May 4th, 2005, the Nordstrom family was blessed with the birth of Faith Anastasia Nordstrom. Her little life on this earth was short, only 14 days, with many complex medical issues. However, the impact on her family, friends and many outside the Nordstrom sphere of influence was nothing short of supernatural. Her gift was a short message, “above all else love.”
“Faith” a call and obedience
It was through this experience that God placed children upon the heart of parents Scott and Despina Nordstrom. They had no ministry experience and they did not want to “just do something good.” Their call was simply to follow God’s direction, and as a family they chose to be obedient, to step out and “go.”
November 2005, Myanmar orphans
A few months later their first step was providing blankets and supplies to orphans in Myanmar. The ministry of Orphan’s Hope provided the opportunity.
Christmas in Juarez, 2005
The Nordstrom family visited Casa de la Nueva Vida orphanage in Juarez, Mexico, bringing Christmas presents for the children. On their first “foreign mission” they found a new joy and vision as the orphanage was their home for the holidays. That effort grew to include the provision of personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and educational materials for the students of Casa de la Nueva Vida. Those services quickly expanded to help meet the needs of a second orphanage, Rancho Los Amigos. GO! continued to serve in Mexico through 2008.
February 2006, the African Continent
The country of Zambia was the next step. Scott Nordstrom of Parker, Colorado, and Rick Vigil of Fort Myers, Florida, departed for Ndola to explore opportunities for serving orphan children. They worked helping the local orphanage, encouraged the Ndola people, learned about African orphans and visited other locations. A plan was coming together.
January 2007, Partners Mike and Linda Jones
Scott Nordstrom and Mike Dee, a board member of Global Orphan Relief, traveled throughout Zambia to assess multiple opportunities to serve orphans. After nearly two weeks of exhaustive travels, a partnership with Mike and Linda, missionaries with Noah Ministries, was established. They had lived and faithfully ministered in Zambia for over 15 years as a couple. Mike and Linda now provide onsite leadership to the work in Zambia. A vision for our movement to serve in Zambia was forming.
2008 – Mission teams building in Silembe the “Bush”
In 2008, two more mission teams followed. With Mike Jones’ leadership the development of the first orphanage campus made miraculous progress and is today serving over 50 orphan children. The last of the 6 campus homes was finished in 2012 giving us a total capacity for 72 children.
January 2009, Naama, Uganda orphanage
GO! was invited to assist with the needs of Salem Children Centre, an orphanage in Naama, Uganda. GO! began to build child sponsorships and assist with construction projects as orchestrated by then board member, Andy Stewart. The number of orphan children cared for increased from 12 to 38 by April 2010. Pastor Alex Businge, a Ugandan National oversees this orphanage. In 2012 Andy and Susie Stewart started their own ministry to better serve the needs of the people in Uganda.
GO! Board members Scott Nordstrom and Mike Dee traveled to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with partners Mike and Linda Jones, to assess opportunities to serve orphans. No immediate opportunities presented themselves in light of logistics to serve there, but we did know that we would somehow be involved in the future.
2010 Pakistani orphans
A building had been constructed for an orphanage, but the local ministry needed help with resources to provide for the children. Pastor Saleem Raza of the Bethel Church of Pakistan came forward and presented this opportunity to our board. After a vetting process with local leadership, an orphan’s home in Habibabad opened January 2011. The home now provides love and care for 25 vulnerable children, and our partner is currently providing care for orphans at two other sites in Raiwind and Jaranwala, Pakistan. The facility opened in Habibabad in 2011 has since been relocated to Rao Khan Wala in 2014, and continues to host 25 vulnerable children of Pakistan.
Opportunistic ministry identified
GO! began learning to watch for strategic opportunities to help nearby communities. Since 1995 Pastor Saleem and the Bethel Church of Pakistan have been effectively caring for orphans, women and widows, planting churches, training leaders through the Bethel Bible Institute, maintaining a prison ministry and providing disaster relief. It is a privilege to be a part of this work.
Interns, teams, and opportunities
God continued to call mission teams and missionary interns to move the work forward. Opportunities grew to help local communities with clean water, education, leadership training, evangelism, health care and the ministry of God’s Word. Sharing orphanage campus facilities with the local church and community leaders helps with church growth and development. The prayer that each facility, each child, and each staff member would become an ever brighter lighthouse of God’s love for His children was a growing reality.
2011 Zambezi Valley building project
A second project in rural Zambia began. Construction is underway on a campus in the Zambezi River Valley near Sinazongwe. Part of this campus actually looks over Lake Kariba. Buildings, a water well, and sewage treatment facilities are complete with one orphan home hosting children today. This property was first visited by one of our teams in 2010 and opened to receive our first child in June 2013. The new campus is currently designed for four homes and 48 children. The project is called House of Hope Orphanage.
2012 Democratic Republic of Congo
Shortly after our visit to DRC in 2009, Sheri Jones conducted an assessment to establish the number of orphans in the area of Shitura and Toyota, DRC, near Likasi. What she found out was that there were 100’s of orphans and what was needed most was assistance with getting these children into school. In cooperation with our partners Noah Ministries, we began to support 170 children with our Dream School initiative. If the need exist we will grow this program to serve more orphans with the blessing to attend school.
2014 Zambia Education Initiative
We began supporting 60 orphan children at two different schools so they could continue with their education. We hope to expand this program in the coming years.
Future and Faith
The events coming out of a short visit to planet earth by Faith Anastasia Nordstrom continues to provide the opportunity for many to live. Only God knows the future, but GO! has a short list, and “by faith” Kenya, Nepal, and Thailand are possibilities for expansion.