Ken & Gracey Grimm

The Lifeline of Hope Years

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Context: Ken
Context: Gracey
1st Prelude: India, 2004-2005
2nd Prelude: Africa, Summer 2005
Ken and Gracey with Sudanese cattle

October 2005

-

March 2009



On-Board with Lifeline of Hope
World Mission Workshop,  2005
India, Autumn 2005
Philippines, Winter 2005-2006
India, Early 2006
Maryland, Spring 2006
Philippines, Spring 2006
India, Summer 2006
Philippines, Summer 2006
Personal Interlude, August 2006
USA, Fall 2006
Sudan, Operation Warm Blanket, Early 2007
India, Spring and Summer 2007
Sudan, Fall 2007
World Mission Workshop,  2007
Furlough in Cypress Creek, Louisiana, Early 2008
Kenya and Sudan, Spring 2008
India, Summer 2008
Relocate to Cypress Creek, Louisiana, Fall 2008
India, Early 2009
Realignment, Spring 2009

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Refuge vs IDP

Copyright Notice

On-Board with Lifeline of Hope

In October 2005 Ken came on-board full-time with Lifeline of Hope as a Childcare Program Facilitator, with responsibility for existing and proposed Lifeline of Hope children's homes in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Africa.

Outside the CCIMA home
Entrance to the CCIMA compound Children playing at CCIMA home
Ken's first  orphanage visit
at Lifeline's first India home
CCIMA Lifeline of Hope Childrens Home


At World Mission Workshop, October 2005

The 2005 World Mission Workshop was held on the campus of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.

  urban sunrise

Go into all the world...

Mark 16:15

 
  rural sunset with oxen
sunrise, Dandora slum, Nairobi, Kenya

sunset, Andhra Pradesh, India

It was an excellent opportunity for Ken to compare notes with with Church of Christ missionaries from around the world.


India, November - December 2005

In Ken arrived in India in November to establish a base of operations there and begin inspecting the orphanages there.

men seated in courtyard

children receiving food
associates Yesudas, Penke and Samrat

Little Angels feeding center, Vijayawada

It was also the opportunity to begin addressing a pressing issue concerning orphan care in India, which is the tradition that institutional care of children (orphanages) has three distinct stages, based on age.  For the first five years, children are not in "orphanages" but "baby care centers".  From age five to age twelve, such children are cared for in "orphanages".  From age twelve upwards, unless the child is placed in an expensive boarding school, schools generally reserved for the upper 1% of Indian society, the child enters the world of adults.  For boys and some girls, this means a menial full-time job.  For most girls, this means an early disadvantageous marriage.  In order to alleviate these negative outcomes, we began the planning which eventually resulted in the opening of two new homes, one for teenage girls and the other for teenage boys.


Philippines, December 2005 - January 2006

There were two orphanages to be visited in the Philippines.  Both of them are on Mindanao, but while one is on the northern peninsula of that island, the other is on the southern coast of that island, and overland transportation through the interior of Mindanao is not currently safe, so two separate visits were required.  Grace was waiting at the Cebu airport, then together we took the ferry over to Bohol.  For the next month we shuttled back and forth across the Bohol Strait, between the various offices where we had business to take care of in Cebu City, and Gracey's hometown of Salvador, Sierra Bullones on Bohol.

children on a bench

children in a motor-tricycle taxi
orphans in southern Mindanao

orphans in northern Mindanao

Just before Christmas Ken flew to General Santos City, commonly called "Gen-San", on the south coast of Mindanao.  The first project to be visited was a proposed orphan home in the heart of Gen-San, associated with an ongoing children's welfare center.

chlidren playing in street
makeshift house



The next day, Ken, the program director, and most of his staff set out in a jeepney down the coast road to the remote area where a new orphanage was being built.  This was in a purely tribal area.

dirt road in rice fields
tribal village - house and people
path to Tboli village

Tboli village

On the following day Ken flew back to Cebu and took the ferry to rejoin Gracey on Bohol.


Darfur refugee mother and infant

Northern Mindanao

After spending Christmas and New Years on Bohol, we were ready to to go to northern Mindanao to visit the orphanage there which Lifeline of Hope was already supporting.  We set out across Bohol by van, along with Gracey's mother and brother, and in Jagna (pronounced "haag-nah") took the overnight ferry for Butuan City on Mindanao.  The next morning we were met at the dock in Butuan City by members of Gracey's extended family, and together we set out toward Alegria, where we spent the day inspecting the orphanage.

rice paddies, house and forest Gracey and friends on footbridge in rice fields Philippine children



The following day we boarded the ferry for Tagbilaran, and the morning of the day after we were back on Bohol.  After a few more days, it was time for Ken to fly back to India.


India, Early 2006

The optimal way to visit orphanages in a due-diligence verification of their operations is to arrive without warning at or just before dawn on a mid-week morning when school is in session an observe the children as they prepare for the schoolday.  Things cannot always be done in the optimal way; circumstances so frequently intrude.  It is especially difficult to make a first visit in this manner.  Many times it is impossible even to find the home without hours of searching, and sometimes it can only be found with the assistance of the director, making surprise impossible.  However, a first visit which fails to achieve surprise does gather enough information about the location of the home and about the local infrastructure (hotels, roads, rail stations) to ensure that the next visit will meet all the optimal criteria.

January to March 2006 was a time to refine these techniques.

temple tower temple tower temple tower

Hindu temples, South India

The sad part was finding that more than half of those Christians who ask for financial support claiming to be caring for orphan children are in fact caring for none.

On a happier note, a young man I had known years before showed up on a church mission trip to India; when I had last seen him, he was a teenager, now he was accompanied by two grown daughters.



Maryland, Spring 2006

While Gracey traveled between Cebu and Manila, completing her bachelors degree and assembling documents for her visa, Ken was briefly back home in Maryland.

flowers
flower






Philippines, May 2006

As Ken returned to India from USA, Ken and Gracey met in Manila for Gracey's interview at the American Embassy.

seated couple
party
Gracey's parents

engagement party, January 2006

After the interview, which went well, Gracey returned to Cebu, and Ken went on to Delhi via Singapore.



India, Summer 2006

Most of the orphanages which apply from India are in Andhra Pradesh.  But this time the orphanage inspections also took Ken deep into the heart of Tamil Nadu, followed by a trip to Kanatika.

girls walking small boy alone boys on stairs



Six orphanages were approved, and three were rejected.  In addition, one director, a well known church leader, was blacklisted for attempting to bribe Ken's translator.


Philippines, August 2006

In June 2006 Gracey's fiancÚ visa to the USA was approved; in August she had her Goodbye Party in Cebu and traveled to Manila.

one ferry boat seen from another
sisters hugging
One ferry meets another in the Cebu Strait


Ken flew to Manila from Delhi, and together they flew to the USA.



August 26th, 2006

After four and a half years of courtship, Gracey and Ken got married at Westminster Church of Christ on August 26th, 2006.

throwing rice on bride and groom
hands with wedding rings





USA, Fall 2006

While working on Gracey's "Green Card" application, and then waiting for it to be approved, Ken and Gracey lived in Westminster, Maryland, with an extended visit to Nashville, Tennessee.

Ken in tree
Gracey at Mt. Vernon mansion
Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee

Mount Vernon, Virginia

In Nashville plans were made for future works in Sudan.


Sudan, Operation Warm Blanket, Early 2007

In a very short span of time just before Christmas 2006, Lifeline of Hope was able to raise significant contributions for the Darfur refugee children in a camp in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.  In January 2007 Ken traveled to Africa and chartered a Russian troop-transport aircraft to deliver several tons of blankets to these children.  Lifeline of Hope called this "Operation Warm Blanket".

AN-32 cargo aircraft boy carrying blanket truck loaded with bales of blankets



In late January, Gracey's "Green card" was finally approved; as soon as Ken returned from Africa, Ken and Gracey began preparing to return to the field.


India, Spring and Summer 2007

We were able to visit fifteen orphan homes in India on this trip.  As before, we found about half of the "orphan homes" to be empty.  Even where there were children, sometimes the number of children present was woefully short of the number reported.  In some cases, where fault was admitted, orphanage directors were put "on probation", in other cases, were the directors insisted that we believe what was patently false, we had to disqualify them from support.

Gracey photographing children
Ken conducting interview



Even where the directors are excellent, these visits have a sort of happy-sad quality.  Happy, because the director cares so much for the children and works so hard.  Sad, because the needs are so much greater than the director's resources, and there is inadequate money from America to do all that needs to be done.


Sudan, Fall 2007

Since 2005, we had been working toward the establishment of two orphanages in Sudan, one in Rumbek and one in Kauda.

Grace photographs Darfurian family
African village
Gracey with Darfur refugees

ECS orphanage workers, Pachong

We were able to visit both locations and meet with the ECS bishops who are overseeing these works.


World Mission Workshop, October 2007

Ken was invited to speak at the 2007 World mission Workshop at Oklahoma Christian University.

moonset at sunrise

from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the nations

Mal 1:11

sunset
dawn, Southern Kordofan, Sudan

dusk, Louisiana, USA

We flew directly from Africa to the workshop.


Louisiana, Early 2008

Upon arriving in Maryland, we were told to "stand down" for the winter.  Cypress Creek Church of Christ in central Louisiana was looking for an interim preacher while they searched for a permanent replacement.  So just after New Years we flew to Louisiana to spend the winter.


crawfish



We were warmly welcomed.


Kenya and Sudan, Spring 2008

On previous trips to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, the acute need for mosquito nets to combat malaria and other diseases became apparent.  Lifeline of Hope was able to raise enough money for us to take a planeload of mosquito nets and medicine for the Darfur refugee camp in Kauda, and for the people of the Kauda region.

man handing packages to women
children carrying dishes



While in Kenya before and after our flight to Kauda, we made due-dilligence visits to several orphanages in Kenya.


India, Summer 2008

This trip to India was focus on documentary videos of several orphanages.  In the process of taking the videos, we got to see eery aspect of the daily lives of the children.

girl carrying water girl carrying water girl pouring water



  We also visited new orphanages, some real, some totally fraudulent.


Louisiana, Fall 2008

Upon returning to the Maryland, we hastened to complete Gracey's application to convert her conditional visa to a full permanent residence visa.  In the process of preparing the application, we learned that policies have changed which limit the amount of time Grcay can be out of the USA and still retain her visa.  In addition, in order to apply for US citzenship, Gracey needed more time in America.  So we began exploring how we could be more settled in the United States.


farm landscape



We soon learned that the pulpit in Cypress Creek had become vacant again.  Within a very short time we had packed everything we own in a big rented truck and we were on the road to Louisiana.


India, Early 2009

While Gracey waited in the USA for her permanent residence visa to be approved, Ken made one more trip to India.  Complete surprise was acheived at the currently funded Lifeline of Hope orphanages visited, and they all passed inspection with flying colors.

empty room
children
surprise visit, fake orphanage

surprise visit, real orphanage

Eight new orphanages were visited for Lifeline of Hope; two were good, the other six were frauds.  In addition to these, two other orphanages  supported by Churches of Christ in the USA were visited, one was real, the other a fake.


Realignment, Spring 2009

The plan was that Ken would preach six months out of each year, and that we would spend five and a half months each year in the field for Lifeline of Hope.  But this was the year the economy took a nosedive, churches cut back their giving, and the budget for field inspectors shrank to were it could not support a permanent full-time position.  Accordingly, our relationship to Lifeline of Hope was changed from employee to contractor.

At first, it looked like we would be back in the field in our new status within a few months.  But then the first quarter financials came in, and it was clear that no such trips could be financed until after the annual fund-raising campaign in the fall.

group photo
autumn pond
Cypress Creek Church of Christ

Evangeline Parish, Louisiana

We still hope to go back into the field for Lifeline of Hope in the near future.

But in the meantime, we are persuing various othe options to serve God in the mission field.  We continue to raise funds for two new orphanages we hope to start, one in Kenya and the other in the Philippines.  We are available to do due-diligence visits for churches or church-relates agencies to ministriees which they sponsor in Asia and Africa.  We see several opportunities which may open up soon, including a literacy project in Sudan.


Kenneth A. Grimm
Grace E. Grimm
Spring 2009

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Edited 14 November 2009x