- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

Ed Windhausen has been working with children since 1994, when he began teaching at a preschool in the District. He always knew teaching was a very satisfying profession, but he had no idea that someday it would lead him to Africa.

In the summer of 2007, Mr. Windhausen joined a team of 10 men on a trip to Zambia to begin construction on an orphanage. The team, sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Woodbridge, Va., would travel to the Mukamba region of Zambia, about five hours northwest of Livingstone, the home of the famous Victoria Falls. In supporting local missionaries Amber and Jako Joubert, the team found that living in the bush with no electricity or running water had its own challenges, especially where construction was concerned, but team members worked hard for the nine workdays they had available to them. As they prepared to leave Africa for the two-day journey home, they wished they had been able to do more. They had dug footings, poured concrete and laid bricks just above ground level in preparation for the rainy season, but there was much more to do.

“I know I feel the same as the other guys when I say I feel called to come back to this place to help these kids find a home,” Mr. Windhausen said.

He returned last year with a 14-member team and again this year with a team of 13 persons. As they left in August, they looked at an orphanage that has six rooms, a roof and facilities to house 20 children. The Mission of Love Community Orphanage awaits government approval for occupancy, but the Jouberts are hopeful that by late September or October, it will be certified to house children.

Mr. Windhausen has plans to return to Zambia next summer with a team from his home church, Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, in Springfield. This time he hopes to teach more and dig less. However, with seven more houses planned for the orphanage project, it seems likely that a shovel will be waiting for him.

• Jack Downing is a writer living in Northern Virginia.

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