From the Founders
When I left the US over a dozen years ago with a vision to inspire the 5000 or so attendees at a Seventh Day Adventist Conference, I had no idea that I would return two weeks later, a different person with an entirely new focus to life. Thanks to funding from a 3ABN Broadcasting interview, there were resources to feed 1000 children three meals daily for a week. But the stories in the children’s eyes could not be silenced and the pain on their faces could not be erased.
I saw children who could not remember when they had last enjoyed a good meal, teenagers with as many as ten children under their care, sick grannies caring for the offspring of children who were no longer around to care for them. I met a twelve year old mother who was too confused to know what to do with the baby screaming in her hands, or the empty stomach of the two young siblings she was supervising. God speaks to each person in a different voice. The voice in my ear reminded that these children were the ‘least of these’, the face of Christ on the planet. I knew I could not return to my comfortable corporate office and do business as usual. I quit my job upon my return, and this is where the ‘faith ‘ kicks in. There was no funding organization, no grants, no financial support for me or for the mission I had embraced. Just the belief that if I listened to this voice, God would provide. I call that faith based.
Over the years, Linda Schultz, the co-Founder and I have spent a great deal of time praying for solutions. For one thing, there would not be resources for me to have a salary and still serve the children, so my commitment meant serving as a volunteer…for over a dozen years! The stories of divine intervention are many. From making payroll, to supporting dozens of children, to developing humanitarian programs that give a head start to scores of children, God has provided. He has sent a downpour in drought, served hundreds with a handful of loaves, a few slices of cheese and a few tomatoes. Most recently, He has provided a wonderful place on which to build the safe housing we have sought for eight years!
Leaders of international significance have crossed our path as we have become a voice for a vulnerable population that suffers in silence. Issues such as gender based abuse, human trafficking, life threatening poverty have become the staple of conversations surrounding the wellbeing of orphans and vulnerable children.
Faith based for me means following the path of the greatest Humanitarian activist who ever lived—Jesus of Nazareth. As a man, he touched the untouchable, loved the unlovable and modeled selfless service for all of humanity. SOHO seeks to serve with that model of service, aiming for nothing more and nothing less than the total wellbeing and success of the children. We serve each one regardless of their physical or economic condition, gender or circumstances. It is our privilege and God’s pleasure to see children move from hopelessness to vibrant hope because we collectively care enough.
– Cynthia J. Prime
Following the Lord often leads to interesting and unexpected turns in life. As well as a wonderful career in nursing, I also developed a nurse case management company, and fulfilled my passion working in women’s ministries. God used these experiences as He directed my path to Africa for a women’s conference and subsequently a vision of another field of service. As I read Isaiah 54:2, I realized He was calling me to more; “Make the tent you live in larger. Stretch it out and make it wider. Lengthen the ropes and reset your stakes.” As I became acquainted with the orphans and vulnerable children in a country afflicted with HIV/AIDS, my heart was drawn to them. It was then that God opened the door of opportunity to expand my area of service to make a difference in the lives of these children, to be His hands and His feet.
At first, I worked my business and served SOHO on a part time basis, then took a hiatus to care give my parents, though my support for SOHO was always there. Currently, SOHO has my full-time involvement as Operations Director, and I consider eSwatini my second home. As co-founders, Cynthia Prime and I, have worked and prayed together embracing the growing opportunities to impact the lives of the children in that area.
It has been a privilege to coordinate mission trips and medical clinics to benefit not only the children but also the adults in some of the more remote areas of Southern Africa. To see the impact of our work on the lives of hurting children has been humbling. The challenges have been many, but God has shown Himself faithful. Because of God’s intervention, and our willingness to be His servants, many children will have the opportunity and hope for a better life, not just here on earth, but for eternity.
– Linda M. Schultz