Sometimes, our seemingly small and long forgotten abilities can be used in BIG ways to care for orphans. Anything is possible when you combine little creativity with prayer. Today, the Project HOPEFUL blog wants to introduce our readers to Traci Jackson of Puppets for Orphans who shares about her organization’s work and the ways puppets can impact an orphaned child’s life for good.
PH:What is your position with PFO?
TJ:My official title with Puppets For Orphans is President, but I would rather be called Momma or Traci any day. I am a team player with a great group of world changers!
PH: How did you come to do this work?
TJ: HA! I laugh at this, because I never sought out to look for work or even another ministry. In fact, I was super busy running my home, training, teaching, and loving my children whoa re all close in age. I was heavily involved in children’s ministry in my local church running a large weekly program and coordinating over 60 volunteers to serve. Life was super busy for me when God spoke to me very clearly as I was folding laundry one afternoon. He told me, “I want you to hand-make puppets for orphans.” Immediately I started crying as He has dropped His plan into the middle of my world. I knew within minutes that His heart longs for every orphan in every land to know that He loves them and has not forgotten them. The funny thing is that as a child I made puppets for our church ministry and served for years growing up teaching with puppets, but it had been years since I thought of that journey. God has such a sense of humor! I began to seek God and get direction for His plan for the next step as I did not know how to sew. He never showed me how to sew the puppets, but He did show me His heart for the nations. I would go to sleep hearing God’s heartbeat loud and clear and He would tell me over and over again that His heart beats for orphans all over the world. His love became my love! His heart became my heart in a really short time. Within 3 days God had given me a team of 20 women to sew, $1600, and a ministry that request for 100 puppets to take to Burma.
PH: What do you love best about Puppets For Orphans?
TJ: I love that we get to love! I love that it was not my idea as to how to show love to the forgotten ones. Only God could use a puppet to get into hard places and spill out His sweet love. The best part is getting to see each child smile as they receive a puppet.
PH: Can you share a memorable moment from your time of working with orphans?
TJ: I think that the most memorable moment for me is the first video I saw. It was of the children in Burma receiving our first puppets. I have not had the chance to hand out a puppet to the orphans (YET), but the pictures and the videos were overwhelming. Our friend Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders took a team into Burma along with the puppets. They recorded and took many pictures of the children receiving puppets and the smiles on their faces brought the whole team to tears. Most of these children have seen their mother, father, and sometimes siblings killed for the cause of Christ. Seeing the smiles on their faces changed me! They had a moment of joy in the midst of pain.
Oh, I have one more that I MUST share. The orphans in Burma that received our first puppets needed a new home. The children are refugees who had crossed over into Thailand running from the malicious Burmese Army. They set up camp near the river that borders Burma and Thailand right across from the Burmese Army. We received word that these orphans needed to be moved because of the constant threat of the soldiers there at the border plus the malaria, which came from being near the river. The PFO team decided that we would not rest until we got the $2,000 needed to be able to move them. In less than 8 hours we had the money and they kids were moved! The next team that went into Burma took pictures of the new home and all of the healthy, safe children. This blessed us beyond words!
PH: What is something you’ve learned about the needs of orphaned children through this work?
TJ: I have learned that each orphan feels forgotten through all the trouble and the grief. The fatherless long for a Father. It is a cry of each one’s heart to know and be loved by a good Daddy.
“You have seen it; yes, You note trouble and grief (vexation) to requite it with Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. O Lord, You have heard the desire and the longing of the humble and oppressed; You will prepare and strengthen and direct their hearts, You will cause Your ear to hear. To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man, who is of the earth, may not terrify them anymore.” Psalm 10:14, 17-18
PH: What is something you want others to know about the kids you work with?
TJ: I want people to know that each orphan we love on is valuable. Their life is not a mistake. They are God’s heartbeat. He placed in them treasures for us to help expose! They are not forgotten, but loved dearly.
PH: What inspires you?
TJ: The Word of God is clearly my inspiration. I have always chosen to love the down and out, speak up for justice, and come along beside the poor and lonely. Heidi Baker said something that changed my life. She says, “Stop for the one and love the one in front of you.” My goal in life is to always love the one, (or two, or three or more) and make them feel validated and worth it, because they are!
“Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!” Proverbs 31:8-9
PH: How have lives been touched through Puppets For Orphans?
TJ: Our prayer is that each child knows that they are loved and not forgotten when they receive a puppet. We have many volunteers cut, sew, and assemble the puppets out of love. With all the hands that touch them we pray over each one as they are being made. Our children kiss each one! Not only does it bless a child, but the lives of many women (and some men) have been enriched. I have had several widows who have come to me in tears thanking PFO for allowing them to be able to bless a child. Our missionaries that are our hands and feet have been richly blessed by being the ones who hand over the blessing. Over all, giving is truly a reward!
PH: How can others be a part of what God is doing through Puppets For Orphans?
TJ: If you would like to be a part of Puppets for Orphans we have several areas to help.
*If you sew, we need seamstress.
*If you can shop, we need fleece materials donated.
*If you can give, we need partnership.
*Please join us as we pray over each puppet that represents a valuable life.
*Pray that every need they have will be met above and beyond their hopes and dreams.
Please visit our Facebook Page or our WEBSITE for more information.
See our Facebook page for more pictures and videos.