Sierra Leone, Africa || Pastor Francis from Blue Ridge Film on Vimeo.
The Karen Baird Children’s Home was established in 2009 by Pastor Francis Rogers along with New Hope Initiative. There are 72 children ages 2 years to young adult. The children are given all of the basic necessities – food, clothing, clean water – as well as a Christian education, medical care and biblical training.
Pastor Rogers can tell you the story of how this came to be in his own words:
The call came at a time when things were so hard in the nation. The war had just ended and everything was in turmoil. Once in a while, I would travel from the city to the village of Moribatown where I grew up to see what was happening there. The need for the gospel was there, but the conditions of living were terrible. The war had devastated lives and many children had lost their parents. One night on one of my visits, I had a vision. In this vision I saw a good number of hungry kids. They came to me asking for food. I told them I have nothing myself to eat, but one of them categorically said that I have made an agreement with God for them that as long as I am alive they should not go hungry. Stretching my hands to talk to them money from nowhere filled my empty palms and I gave it to them. One of them said, “You see, I told you that it’s your responsibility to feed us.” And the kids went away. I went back to Freetown wondering how to go about this. How could I abandon my job and take my family to the village and expose them to such suffering? I resigned my job on the 17th March 2003 to the annoyance of my entire family. The first order of business when we moved there was to begin to survey and register orphans in the community.
I shared my vision with a Liberian pastor who introduced me to the internet and we came across World Orphans based in Colorado USA who agreed to help us build a home for the kids. I trusted my colleague pastor so I allowed him lead me in every aspect since the internet was his idea. World Orphans sent $7000 to build a home for 100 kids but my colleague made away with most of the money. I wrote them to explain what happened. They believed me, but could not assist further. Back in the village, the chief donated 12.6 acres of land for the project. I sold most of my assets I had acquired during my work, added up the money and started the construction. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by a powerful hurricane on the 22nd of April 2005. My hopes were dashed. I talked to many organizations on the internet but nobody seemed to listen so I decided to wait and see what God, the giver of this vision, would do.
In January 2004, I came across David Tanner, an American missionary that came to our village every year. We became friends and I shared my vision with him. Dave encouraged me to continue praying and wait to see what God would do. When he came in 2005, he visited the site of my destroyed building, took pictures and went away. In 2007, we started a school for the orphans in our church building as a way of caring for them. In 2008, Dave wrote me that he was coming with a team to set up a feeding center for the orphans and the team arrived in January 2009. In that team were Pastor Sandy Baird, the founder of New Hope Initiative, and Phil d’Entremont. After spending 4 days with the kids, visiting our land and seeing the school we were trying to construct on this land on our own, the Bairds decided to help us construct a home for the children. That same year a home capable of housing 32 children was built (funded by Mrs. Karen Baird from her family inheritance). The home started with 26 kids. Following the successful completion of the first home and satisfied with the management, the Bairds decided to fund the construction of another home. This was done in 2011 and a team of 15 people including Pastor and Mrs. Baird arrived in June that same year to help with the final painting. Mr. Philip d’Entremont, Mr. Creative as we call him here, was appointed our international director to our delight. Today, we have 70 kids in the home, glory to the giver of the vision who has perfected it in his own time. The creation and success of the children’s home has greatly influenced the evangelical outreach of our church. Many from the area have seen the love of Christ expressed and displayed through the children’s home. The accomplishments and growth of the church could not have been obtained without the assistance from New Hope Initiative.