Caring for vulnerable children is one of Jubilee Campaign’s most closely held values and over the years God has given us many opportunities to exemplify His character by caring for the fatherless. One of the most enduring and rewarding opportunities has been our work supporting the Maluku Orphans in Indonesia.
Until the end of the 20th century, the Maluku Islands were an example of peaceful diversity, where Christians and Muslims lived together in rich communities with traditions going back hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the global surge in Muslim extremism which would eventually hit the US on 9/11 reached Maluku near the end of the 1990s.
Funds and weapons flowed into Maluku from more extremist nations, along with several hundred extremists from outside Indonesia. An incident between a Christian bus driver and a Muslim student provided the spark necessary to set the region ablaze. Eventually, the local Muslim and Christian communities united against the foreigners, but thousands died in the struggle.
In traditional communities such as those in Maluku, orphans are cared for by relatives or friends, back by the community as a whole. However, the violence was so widespread that these traditional mechanisms were overwhelmed by the sheer number of orphans. Some children simply had no family left to care for them.
Jubilee Campaign found donors to sponsor individual children, giving them food, clothing, and education. Most of the children in our Maluku Orphan program were cared for in the traditional way, and the donor’s assistance ensured that their caregivers were not overwhelmed as well as enabling the orphaned children to received an education, which is not free in Indonesia. Generous donors gave for the construction of the Caleb House, named after a boy named Caleb Chandler who tragically passed away in Fairfax, Virginia. The Caleb House program was designed to provide counseling and special care to the most traumatized of the orphaned children in a safe, loving environment based on the Gospel.
Over the past decade we have been able to participate in the lives of hundreds of orphans. It has been a deeply rewarding experience to see the work of God in these young souls as they respond to His love.