Children displaced by tribal violence in Papua New Guinea find refuge and hope at the MAF supported orphanage Bible Faith Outreach (BFO).
Rosa Kepo is making a difference to young lives in the highlands of PNG as she lovingly takes in children displaced by violence in their communities.
“In my country (PNG), there is nothing like an orphanage,” Rosa said. ”It is a strange name to the government because we have a system that’s called the wantok system in which we do care about our relatives and our distant relatives. We do care about that. But that has started to break down, because of a lot of tribal fighting taking place.”
When tribal fights break out, families are often driven away from their lands, leaving them with nowhere else to go but to towns like Mount Hagen, where MAF PNG is based. Many children are left to wander the streets, unable to get enough to eat or attend school.
Rosa, the director of Bible Faith Outreach (BFO), knows the situation these children face. Together with her mom, Rosa was forced to flee her own village as a small child, and was taken in by a Danish missionary couple in Ialibu.
“They gave me hope because I was an orphan myself and from a remote village,” she said. ”They paid my school fee to go to PNG Bible Institute and because they gave me hope, I thought that I can also give hope to these children by teaching them the word of God.”
Before Rosa started the orphanage she worked as an administrator in the flight operations department with MAF.
“One of the things that really stood out to me when I was at MAF, was the dedication of the MAF families. They had left their homes to come and help my people. But what am I doing to help my people?… So I said, If God can help me and if MAF missionaries left their comforts to come and help, then I can try to help the next generation too.”
Rosa and her husband started to open up their house for the children.
After moving to a new location, Rosa started a school to help the children learn to read and write so they could start attending public school. With dozens of kids to take care of, and resources limited, Rosa was asking God for help. Today there are several MAF staff volunteering at BFO.
“That was like an answer to prayer for me. Here was someone from a far away land trying to come and help me with the orphanage,” she said.
Linda Andresen from Norway and Andrea Rominger from Switzerland both sit on the Board of Directors. Andrea helps with finances and administration while Linda does shopping and ensures the children are fed three meals a day. Nellicia Van Saane is a teacher from Canada and comes three times a week to help with the teaching.
“Six months after we started the meal plan, the nurses who used to work here said that they don’t get the diseases they had before because of malnutrition. That was really encouraging to hear,” Linda said.
It’s a huge encouragement for Rosa to still have strong links with MAF as she pursues her calling.
“I just thank God for calling me out of MAF and from MAF we have built this relationship… I enjoy seeing any MAF staff. I just love them like my own soul because they really helped me with this work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do this work,” she said.