A pair of sisters in Haywood County is taking their first step toward their long-term goal of establishing a Christian children’s home in Nigeria.
The Spotswood sisters, Lydia, 21, and Sherea, 19, graduates of Bethel Christian Academy, will be traveling to Iris Harvest School of Missions in Pemba, Mozambique, on Oct. 5 for two months of intensive, hands-on evangelistic training.
“I am following God wherever he leads,” said Lydia. “Whatever country he leads me to, whatever place — whether it be in the U.S., Nigeria, Mozambique — to share the love of Jesus with people, whether they’re physical orphans or spiritual orphans.”
Lydia and Sherah first flew to Africa in 2014 — the first time either of them had even been on a plane — at the invitation of Freddie Power, the “modern day Mother Teresa” who leads a large homeless ministry in Charlotte, whom they had met at a conference at Morning Star Ministries.
They said their trip to Kenya that year changed their worldview.
“That’s where our heart for Africa really came from,” said Sherah. “I had such a different perspective on life, on people, on the world, when I came back.”
It was a different conference that the sisters met a Nigerian woman named Elizabeth.
“The Lord opened up the door for us to go to Nigeria to stay with her,” said Lydia. “She also stayed with us in the United States. We got close to her and she taught us a lot of the Nigerian culture.”
The sisters stayed in Nigeria for two months in 2015 and for four months in 2016. They were immersed in Nigerian culture and built relationships with the people.
It was during their 2015 stay in Nigeria that the sisters felt their calling.
“The Lord really placed the desire in each our hearts [to start an orphanage],” said Lydia.
It is difficult to find current statistics on the number of orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria, but Management Sciences for Health, a global health nonprofit organization, lists that number at 17.5 million as of 2014. Of those, 2.5 million are AIDS orphans.
And according to Lydia, there is a lack of “solid, Christian orphanages,” especially ones that love and care for children.
“We don’t’ want to call it an orphanage,” said Lydia. “We want to call it a children’s home because when children come into the kingdom of God, they are no longer orphans.”
The name they’ve chosen, Spirit of Adoption Ministries, reflects Romans 8:15, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
Lydia and Sherah understand that they have a long way to go to realize their vision.
“We realize we don’t know it all, and that we can do nothing without God,” said Lydia. “We also realize that we need the experience and education to do this … which is one of the reasons we’re going to Mozambique.”
They will be living in what is basically a village, a home to 10,000 orphaned children, while they complete their coursework.
“We want to learn what we want to do and what we don’t want to do,” said Sherah. “Learn from experience.”
They will host a fundraiser banquet featuring Syrian and Mediterranean food at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Waynesville Christian Fellowship, located at 1115 Dellwood Road, Waynesville. Tickets cost $25 per person and $200 per table. Call 828-356-7308 to RSVP.
All proceeds will go toward covering the sisters’ remaining tuition costs.
Visit www.spiritofadoptionmissions.com for more information about the Spotswood sisters and their mission.