Gil Hanke (left) wishes safe travels for the Rev. Wayne Lavender who stopped in Nashville on his way from Virgiinia Beach to Portland, Ore.
The Rev.Wayne Lavender, top staff executive of a foundation raising funds to build orphanages in Mozambique, Iraq, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dropped by the Nashville office of the General Commission on UM Men on his way from Virginia Beach, Va., to Portland, Ore., site of the 2016 General Conference.
Lavender hopes the running, walking and riding on a six-month trip across the U.S. will result in General Conference delegates making the caring for orphans a missional priority. He hopes the assembly will celebrate the 2019 bicentennial of the Methodist Missionary Society by raising $1 billion to reduce the global suffering of orphans.
Serving as executive director of The Foundation 4 Orphans, Lavender led efforts to build an orphanage in Cambine, Mozambique, and he is now engaged in an effort to build a similar facility in Dondo, Mozambique.
Lavender notes there are 210 million orphans in nations around the world, and an average of 26,000 children die daily from the effects of extreme poverty. “Thirty separate times the Bible tells its readers to care for orphans,” says Lavender. “Placing orphans and vulnerable children at the center of our missional efforts will not only enable us to do much good for these children, it can be the glue to bring together members of our disparate connection.”