Serving God 1 child at a time

In the southern African country of Namibia, missionaries Travis and Lorna Curry have been running an orphanage and school since 2010.

They direct the Children of Zion Village, which lies along the Zambezi River in the northeastern part of the country.

“We are blessed even though days are difficult,” Lorna Curry, of Williamsport, said.

When they spoke at an ecumenical luncheon on Sept. 14 at Pine St. United Methodist Church, they said they care for 30 orphans.

Many of the children’s parents died from AIDS, but if a child has extended family they try to reunite them if the family is able to take them in, they said. Their goal is to rejoin families.

At the orphanage they look to teach children to love the Lord, be a light in the world, make good choices and act like Jesus, she said.

When the Currys arrived there six years ago, the orphanage was divided into gender-segregated wings, Travis Curry said.

They changed that to create a family-style living arrangement that has a smaller number of children to one point of authority, he said. The change is something that many orphanages are doing internationally.

The Genesis House has seven boys and a house mother, then there are four girls with a house mother, he said.

They hope to open another house to accommodate seven young children.

There are 10 women who help with the cooking, cleaning and assisting with the children, plus a maintenance team.

The children’s attitudes surprised them most when they arrive, Lorna Curry said. Many of them did not appreciate what they were being given.

“All they want to do is complain,” she said.

Some of the children will make fun of poor children they see in town, they said.

“If the orphanage wasn’t there, they would be really suffering,” Travis Curry said.

That sense of entitlement, he said, is a worldwide phenomenon that he cannot explain.

Before the couple became directors of the orphanage, the primary school was solely for the children living there. Since then they have opened up it up to the public.

Primary School consists of kindergarten to seventh grade.

The staff member’s children started to attend which consisted of 30 students, now they have 90 coming from all over the area, they said.

“It is exciting to see God working in the community,” Lorna Curry said.

The 10 teachers use an accelerated Christian curriculum that is consistent with the Namibian government’s curriculum, Travis Curry said.

Lessons are taught in English, which is the country’s official language, but students also speak Silozi and Afrikaans.

“I love the children,” Lorna Curry said. “We can’t describe the blessing despite the challenges.”

Before the couple’s adventure began in 2010, they had no idea that their lives would lead them to Namibia.

They both went on missions trips to Nicaragua for six years with their church.

“I felt called to do more,” she said. “I searched my soul to determine if God wanted me to do this.”

After discussing it with one another they contacted The Mission Society and were accepted to be full-time missionaries in October 2009.

The organization told them they were going to be the directors of an orphanage in Namibia. They sold their house and many of their belonging and raised the funds to go in a year.

“It is amazing what God does when you follow Him,” she said.