Building a brighter future

By Nevin Nitschke

Herlina Sihombing’s mother and father died when she was young. Family members took them in and they were spread out between households. It’s a situation many of us are blessed not to have been through. But Herlina knows firsthand the heartache and loneliness of losing parents as a child and uses this knowledge to help […]

Herlina Sihombing’s mother and father died when she was young. Family members took them in and they were spread out between households.

It’s a situation many of us are blessed not to have been through. But Herlina knows firsthand the heartache and loneliness of losing parents as a child and uses this knowledge to help others. As a ‘house mum’ at Debora orphanage in a remote area of Sumatra, she can relate to what many of the 37 children who live there go through.

Herlina and her husband also served as house parents at Debora in an earlier stint since the home was established in 1992. All of the children there are recommended by the local pastor. Some have no living parents, while others would not have access to education, and therefore future employment options, without the support of the orphanage.

Herlina loves Jesus with a passion and each day at the orphanage starts with a devotion. She prays with the children daily for those who support the orphanage. She says: ‘It is important to have a devotion, as the focus is not only on taking care of the children’s physical needs, but also their spiritual needs – preparing them for the future, teaching social ethics, morals and having God in their heart’.

The children stay at Debora until they graduate from senior high school. In order for the students to attend university after graduating, the orphanage relies on donations from the members of the local congregation, church council scholarships, or sponsorship from tourists or overseas visitors. If money from others can’t be found, the orphanage will try to assist the young people.

Past Debora student Buala is now working in Malaysia; Benget is continuing his post-graduate studies to become a pastor; while Lucy is a midwife. Most former students have factory work. Many are married and have children.

Life continues to be a challenge in many ways for the children at Debora, but they are given a chance at education, an opportunity to move beyond the many barriers they have faced in life and a chance to use their God-given gifts to contribute to the wider community.

For house mum Herlina, such challenges and opportunities have shaped her life. God has used her to share his grace and love, to be his hands and feet and heart in circumstances we might find difficult to relate to. Please pray for this gracious woman of God, her husband and for all the children at Debora orphanage. They will be greatly encouraged to know you are praying for them!


Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Indonesia at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/indonesia/

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