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One Woman’s Journey To Do More

Lillian Klepp felt like she wasn’t reaching anyone outside her church walls in Wisconsin, yet she never imagined she’d have to lose everything to find exactly what she was looking for. Read Transcript


- Lillian Klep felt like shewasn't reaching anyone outside

her church walls in Wisconsin.

She wanted to do moreyet she never imagined

that she'd have to loseeverything to find exactly

what she was looking for.

- [Narrator] Dennis and Lillian Klep were

an ordinary couple actively involved

in their church in Wisconsin.

But in 1999 after hearing aspeaker share about the orphans

and widows in war-torn countries,

Lillian felt they shouldbe doing more to help.

Two years later theKleps sold all they had

and moved to Africa, devoting their lives

to serving the poor inSouth Sudan and Uganda.

- Well, joining us now is Lillian Klep

also known as Mama Lillie.

Thank you for being here.

- Thank you for having me.

- Go back if you will to the beginning

of this great adventurethat God has invited you on.

You were going to church,

you guys were active in yourchurch and loved the Lord,

you were committed.

You went to a women's conference

and God spoke to your heart,what did he say to you?

- Well, that night therewas 12,000 women there

and I went forward andask him what I could do

for Africa when I heardthe need in South Sudan

and he said sell everything you have

and give it to the poor.

- [Terry] What did you think?

- Well, I was kind of taken back by it.

I guess I didn't expect God to answer me

when I asked him what can I do.

(laughs)

So I pondered it for about a week or so

before I had told my husband.

- And then he didn'tcome on board right away.

- No he didn't.

- Well, it's not the kindof thing you just jump on

and say okay let's go tomorrow.

I mean lots to consider.- That's right and he knows

I'm a very adventuresome person,

so he thought I was on some wild whim or.

(laughs)

- [Terry] So here you two are, you start

an organization calledHarvesters Reaching the Nations

and initially you went to Uganda, right?

- Well, actually we, Imean, we went through

but we started in South Sudanand then we ended up down

in Uganda now.

- [Terry] Because the need was so great?

- Yes, the need was so great.

- [Terry] What are the greatest needs

in that part of the world right now?

- [Lillian] Well, education is a big one.

- [Terry] Yeah, how manykids do you serve there?

- [Lillian] Well, we actuallyfeed over 1,000 children

we have in our schools.

- [Terry] Wow.

- [Lillian] Yes everyday.

- [Terry] Wow.

- [Lillian] So we educate and feed and.

- Wow, when you first went to South Sudan,

you met a little child, I mean,

really within the firstfew weeks you were there

who was born early, malnourished,not expected to live.

- Right.

- Today he's your son.- He is.

- (laughs) Tell us about that.

- Well, we were just buildingthe orphanage at the time

and Caleb came into the orphanage

and the father asked if we'd take him

and I said we're just starting,

I, you know and we weren't ready.

And a few days later he cameback crying and asking again

and we said God is thisyou speaking to us?

I mean, we were in ourlate 40's at the time

and yeah, we felt it was.

- Wow, and today he's 17,- 17.

unbelievably amazing.

What, how has your ministrygrown over the years?

You started I'm surewith just opening a place

that would be safe.

These children are in war-torn areas

and they come I'm surewith emotional needs

as well as physical needs.

- [Lillian] Right, yeah,they're very dramatized.

We actually started a programnow my daughter-in-law

went and got trained in Uganda

so we're doing some drama counseling

but it's grown, we wouldtake like 20 at a time

and I mean, it was justoverwhelming in the beginning

the need was so great.

- Yeah and then educationcame to play a part in that.

What role does that playdo you think Lillie?

- That plays a big part, you know,

education helps them to havea different way of thinking.

- Yeah dream maybe.- They're very superstitious,

yes.- Yeah but changing,

you're right there's so much superstitious

in Africa, specifically,- There is.

that some of it is just a change of mind

and understanding.- Right and education

in the word of God, Ireally believe changes them.

- So have you seen the wordof God make a difference

in not just the lives of the kids

but what about the surrounding community?

- Yes, we have several home cell groups

that are childrenactually go out and lead.

So the whole community hasbeen radically changed.

- And I understand you've beenable to have quite an impact

on the Muslim portion ofthe community as well?

- Everybody in the community,there have been men

that have come in and brought their opium

in front of the church and burned it

and gave their hearts to Christ

and so it's amazing- Wow.

what God can do and Idon't say that breaking

but one person listening to God.

- Yes.- And being obedient

and how it has affectedthe entire community there.

- So you and Denniscame back in was in 2014

and now you travel back andforth in the United States

but your son and daughter-in-law

are living there with a grandson.

- [Lillian] Yes.

- [Terry] (laughs) So thefamily's still invested.

What's next for Harvesters?

- Well, we're praying, you know,

we always wanted to evenexpand in South Sudan

but there's been so muchunrest it's very difficult.

So, I think we'll probablyend up expanding even more

in Uganda, I'd like to seea medical clinic there.

There's just such a great needwith the refugees there now.

- How do you determinewhether a child comes

into the facility that you have?

- We try to work with thelocal people that are there.

If there's any churchesor even the government,

we were working prior to them.

And just a word of mouth in the community

to find out if there's a real need there.

- So, do you have somewho are students only

and they go home to their families or?

- Well, the students come and go,

they're from the community,

they interact with ourorphans in our orphanage.

- And so a lot of these kids are orphans

because of the warfare, right?- Yes they are.

- Because of what's going on.

My understanding is thatthey have seen some things

that are so horrificthat only God could heal.

- [Lillian] Yes, it's horrendous,

what they've see.- Gone through.

- So what an amazingteam of people you are

to be able to bring not just health

and not just secure place to live,

not just education butalso a sense of wholeness

in all of that, Jesusheals from the inside out

doesn't he?- Amen just bringing

them home, you know, living the gospel out

is really what it is.

- Absolutely, well Orphan'sPromises has been able

to work with you and I'm, we're so honored

to be apart of the work

that you're doing there- Thank you.

and we'll continue to pray for you as you,

as God opens doors- Yeah.

for you to expand becausethey need to be opened by him.

Listen, if you would like to help,

Harvesters Reaching theNations has partnered

with Orphan's Promise to help the children

in war-torn Uganda and South Sudan.

Call our toll-free number,it's 1-800-700-7000.

You can designate your gift to the work

that they're doing there.

If you'd like more of Lillian's story,

you can check out her memoirs,

it's called AdventuresUnder the Mango Tree

and you can find out how to get a copy

by going to cbn.com.

I wanna mention people cansponsor children as well.

- Yes, they can sponsor on the web.

- So, I want you to know that.

Thank you for all you do- Thank you so much Terry.

both you and Dennis.

What an amazing work,all because they said yes

to a God adventure.

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