Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Serving on top of the world

Serving on top of the world
LSCC member and team to build a playground
for orphans in Nepal.
JULY 2009

By Pam Wilbur

For Mark White, the top of the world seemed like a good place to build.

After making multiple trips to Poland to build playgrounds at an orphanage, Mark was up for a new challenge: working in remote Nepal, the home of Mt. Everest.

Mark, an LSCC member and safety manager for the Lee’s Summit School District, wants to bring health and opportunity to children who live without safe play areas. But it’s more than fun and games. Scientific studies show that children with age appropriate, creative play opportunities grow up to be more healthy, balanced adults.

In addition, building playgrounds is an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ.

“The last two playground builds in Poland were a prelude to preparing to go to different countries in different parts of the world,” he said.

As further evidence that he is in it for the long haul, Mark is forming a ministry called Playgrounds of Peace (POP). Unofficially, it stands for the concept of a father or grandfather, a “pop” – a loving father figure so desperately needed by orphans. Perhaps even more important, it also stands for the Prince of Peace, who is the force behind all of these efforts.

The next adventure begins in October, where Mark and a team of church and community members will serve the Hope for Nepal Children’s Home in Katmandu by building a playground.

Initially, Mark resisted the trip. In the last few years, Nepal has been ridden with often violent strife between Communists and rival groups. Yet he found that God kept moving things in the trip’s favor, such as offers of donated equipment.

In Poland, the teams served the orphans of government institutions. But the orphanage in Nepal is private and run by Christians. It doesn’t call itself an orphanage, but a “children’s home” and has the goal of helping kids become self-sustaining adults with life and vocational skills. Mark hopes to export some of these ideas as he comes in contact with other orphanages.

Several teachers, a musician, and a couple of people, who, in Mark’s words, “really know what they are doing,” will be on the team. Through his relationship with manufacturer BigToys, of Olympia, Wash., Mark was able secure all of the playground equipment for the project. But even with that generous gift, funds are still needed for tools, travel, shipping the playground equipment ($2,300) and operational expenses.

Funds can be donated through Lee’s Summit Community Church and designated for “Playground Project.” In addition, Mark and the team request your prayers as they seek to demonstrate the love of Christ in Nepal. To learn more contact Mark or check out his blog.

Pam Wilbur is a member of Lee's Summit Community Church.

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