The Elim Home is located in Xuchang City in Henan Province, China. As they review their last year of work, Elim Home tells Global Ministries that by the grace of God, its ministries have gone very well, thanks to God’s blessing and protection.
The Elim Home has expanded in the last year to include 28 children, including two high school students, one secondary school student, eight junior school students, and seventeen primary school students. There are six staff living and working with the children. Plans call for an additional six or seven abandoned children to join the community in order to be supported and educated through Elim Home.
In the daily life of Elim Home, eight to ten children are organized into a family grouping, with one adult as the “parent”. The children receive guidance in their living and learning habits, and build their character in order to gain a sense of belonging. In order to achieve this goal, the personal security of each child is the top priority of Elim Home. The adults are responsible for picking up and dropping off the children to and from school. When children go out during the holidays, they must be accompanied by a caring adult to assure their safety. There is also a requirement that every adult should give each child a warm hug every day so that the child's inner world will be influenced by love, and so the children can open their hearts more to receive love from others, as they move forward in a more healthy and happy growing up time physically and mentally.
As boarders, high school students go back to life at the Home every weekend. They help staff with housework, so that they can experience a happy and growing experience while working. Furthermore, the high school students are counselors to help their younger brothers and sisters with their studies.
The Home assures a healthy diet for the children, supplying each child with milk and an egg each day and three to four fruit snacks each week.
Elim Home introduced the “Love Supermarket” and continuously works to improve its functioning. For example, the supermarket printed “love coin”, which has Bible verses on it. Children earn love coins through positive actions such as maintaining good hygiene, and through good behaviors such as good manners as well as attitudes of discipline, responsibility, giving, and thankfulness. This innovation gives the children an opportunity to access the household items with their love coins in the Love Supermarket as results of their own efforts.
Every weekend, volunteers from Xuchang College carry out specialty classes with the children. Current courses include painting, drawing, handicrafts, music, and dance. Last but not least, three Bible classes a week are held the evenings of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Through these classes, the children learn about the Bible, and pray and praise together in a rich spiritual atmosphere.
The Elim Home increased its publicity so that entities in Xuchang City can support the development of the Home. For example, in order to ensure that children have enough recreational space, the Rebecca Real Estate firm in Xuchang donated and built a playground. The local China Christian Council repaired the dormitory doors and closets, installed a heating system, and other projects. As a result, the children's lives at the Elim Home are greatly improved and they experience a happy home and a brighter future.
Update: September 2014
Elim Home is located in a semi-rural area of Xuchang County and does not have city water. The land in that area is polluted. The Xiaohong River, located just behind the home, is also polluted. In 2012 the orphanage dug a 98-foot well, but the water was polluted. In 2013 they dug another well that was 492 feet deep and the water was also polluted.
Reverend Dr. Xiaoling Zhu, Global Ministries Area Executive for East Asia and the Pacific, took the Elim Home leaders to visit Zhoukou Christian Church (one of Global Ministries partners about two hours away by car), where they have a 2,050-foot well. Water from this well is very pure. Zhoukou Church plans to sell water to communities at a very low price from this source in order to help with support of the church. The leaders of Elim Home wish to do likewise.
With a proper well, Elim Home can not only support their full house of 70 children, but also have a source of pure water to help benefit the surrounding communities. This is a project that will help in many aspects, in areas of health, support of children, clean water, and community sustainability. There are 87 churches in the area of the orphanage which can set up water stations to serve more than 100,000 people.
The cost to dig a very deep well and prepare the water for distribution will be about $110,000: $70,000 to actually dig the well and $40,000 to prepare a bottling facility.
Update: March 2015
At the end of 2014, Elim Home dug a 2,100-foot well and constructed a water tank. All of the children and people around the Elim Home are using this safe, clean water every day.
The home hopes that water testing will soon prove the water to be safe and up to the standard required for re-selling. The ability to sell water will allow the orphanage to be more self-supporting, and able to increase its enrollment from 34 children to 70 children in the future.
The new well is called: Loving Water Well.
Global Ministries welcomes additional gifts for the next phase of the Elim home Water Project, to make viable the plan to commercialize the water in the immediate area to generate revenue for the orphanage.
Update May 2016
Spring Bike Ride
In April 2016, Junior and Senior High School students from Elim went on a bike outing to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Youth from the home were able to see and enjoy the flowers in full bloom. This was one of the first times riding bikes for many of the youth, which added an additional layer of excitement and anticipation for the group. The group rode their bikes next to Willow Lake, where flowers were everywhere in the field and on the hillside. Youth on the bike outing left footprints and smiles everywhere they went. In total, the group went on a 40 kilometer bike ride, and not a single child said they were tired after returning, but only mentioned they are already looking forward to the next bike outing!
Children and staff at the Elim Home held several fundraisers to help assist with the cost of medical bills for children who live in their nearby community who have health issues. The fundraisers were a success, and the funds were given to assist several different patients. The children were enthused to share love and generosity with children in challenging circumstances.
"Reading helps me grow"
Children from the Elim Home have been visiting the library of Xuchang University to practice their reading. Children are able to choose from a large collection of subjects and books for their enjoyment, but also to become better readers. At each visit, everyone has a chance to read a book of their choice to the rest of the group. Elim hopes these visits and activities will produce a love of reading within each child, and that these activities will also help the children in their academics.
Update March 2017
Six adolescent students from Elim Home had the opportunity to visit a counseling center and participate in “sand play” – a type of play therapy involving colorful figurines in a sandbox. At the end, students also had an opportunity to debrief and share their honest feelings about the exercise.
Lantern Festival Celebration:
During the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival, students and staff of Elim Home gathered together as a family to celebrate. Several dumplings were prepared as well as other delicious food and were shared among the group. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a game of riddles. Students gathered together in small groups and presented answers to the riddles to gain a prize. A good time was had by all.