Lillian Klepp felt like she wasnâ€™t reaching anyone outside her church walls in Wisconsin, yet she never imagined sheâ€™d have to lose everything to find exactly what she was looking for.
- 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.
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.
- [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.
- 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.
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.