Blessing the Children – Canada Inc. was founded by Rick & Sheila Lamb as a result of a lifetime calling to missions. Prompted by their experience in Ethiopia, Africa in 2009 with Blessing the Children International, they returned home and began organizing a sister ministry of Blessing the Children in their home country of Canada.
The real roots of their heart and passion for the Children of Ethiopia and their desire to begin the Canadian chapter of Blessing the Children began far before the advent of BCC though.
It all began when Rick and Sheila found love as missionaries to Peru in 1981.
Rick saw Sheila for the first time getting off of the Teen Missions bus in Orlando, Florida at 1:00 am after being on the bus five solid days – without the ability to shower and clean up the entire time. Their disheveled appearance didn’t hinder Rick at all though! After seeing Sheila in action in Lima, Peru, over the summer of 1981, Rick knew that she was worth far more than a million. In June of 1983 they were married, and not many years later, their family had expanded to include 4 children.
For a time, married life and parental duties kept the Lamb family occupied and away from the missions field. In the 20 years they spent caring for their family, they strove to raise their children with strong faith, and made a deal to help their children experience the wonders of worldwide Christian faith, and to grow up with a broader perspective on life. They regularly had missionaries and people of other ethnicities and cultures stay in their home and spend time with their family, understanding that travel and experiencing other cultures could greatly impact the lives of their children.
As their family grew and matured, they had many experiences that matured their faith, passions, and desire to improve the lives of the impoverished, as well as their trust in God’s provision and direction.
In the winter of 2002, the Lambs found themselves on the beautiful Island of Cuba; land of cigars, rum, and Castro. Rick hired a school teacher to take them snorkeling in the blue, clear water of the Caribbean. It was then that they discovered that the teacher made more money taking tourists snorkeling than teaching children. Outside of the tourist industry, they realized that many people were struggling due to the poor quality of education. This trip impressed upon them again the importance of education to quality of life, and to the ability of people to break free of the vicious cycle of poverty.
In the summer of 2005, one of the Lamb’s daughters, Amanda, and Sheila were invited by a missionary to a New Testament dedication on Wuvulu Island, Papua New Guinea. They went to support their missionary friend as she taught a Bible class and joined in the celebration of the recently translated New Testament. For twelve days they lived without power, running water, bathrooms, or phones. On this trip, God taught them that to rely upon Him was more important than having the many comforts they were accustomed to at home in Canada.
In 2006, their eldest daughter Joanna, their son Andrew, and Rick were off on another adventure. This time it was to Khartoum, Sudan to visit friends. They enjoy ministering to the local Muslims in taxi cabs, coffee shops, and bus stations. They were constantly reminded on this trip how a quality education had the power to provide so many more opportunities, and these reminders further inspired them to seek ways to bring that necessary education to those in need.
In the winter of 2007, Karen (Amanda’s twin sister), Grandma Bella, and Rick toured India with Gospel for Asia. Upon seeing the tremendous inequalities of the extreme rich living next to the extreme poor in India, Rick grew in his belief that education for the poor is extremely valuable and absolutely necessary.
At last, in 2009, Rick and Sheila went on a mission trip together for the first time in 26 years. They took their time searching for an organization that could accommodate both their gifts and talents, but without success. After praying together one morning, they came across the website of Blessing the Children International (BCI), and after deciding that BCI was the organization they would choose to go with, they signed up to go to Africa.
With BCI, they traveled thirty miles south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to the city of Debra Zeyit, where five churches partnering with BCI had 108 orphaned children they were caring for. They were welcomed by a half dozen national workers with a smile and an “Ethiopian handshake”. The “Ethiopian handshake” is a handshake where you not only grasp hands, but bump shoulders. If you were a highly honored guest, you would also receive a kiss on each cheek in addition to the “handshake”. They quickly fell in love with the people of Ethiopia, and the work of BCI.
Working with the children proved to be the highlight of Sheila’s day as she helped teach Bible class, English class, and went on home visits with social workers. Rick spent many hours doing cement, brick, and plumbing work on the new school, which would be used to educate the orphaned children. As they worked, they were often followed by a gathering crowd of Ethiopian children who were curious to see what they were up to. They quickly discovered that they could learn a lot from neighborhood children if they bought them a 30 cent coke! After four weeks of being surrounded by children and seeing the work that BCI had begun, the Lambs knew when they returned home that they could make a real difference in Ethiopia.
With stories and wisdom from various missionaries and their biographies, as well as all that the Lambs had learned from years of traveling – they knew that their lives would never be the same. They experienced and saw how their support of just one dollar a day could drastically impact a child’s life. They soon realized that education, food, a home, medicine, clean water, and the sharing of laughter and tears with the children would make a lot bigger impact than an investment in a multimillion-dollar organization with high overhead.
The Lambs were grateful for the experience they had on the family farm, but came to realize that their children did not wish to take over their share of the farm. As they looked in the mirror and saw gray hairs on their head, they asked themselves, “Should we be doing something different?” After much discussion and prayer, they decided to pursue working with Blessing the Children by incorporating in Canada, looking forward with anticipation toward what God would have in store for the next chapter of their lives!
The last chapter of the Lambs’ lives is still being written, and God has not disappointed as He’s lead them in the growth of their ministry and of BCC. They hope that they will get to write you into future chapters, as stories of success in a life of purpose, bringing Life as they Connect the people of Ethiopia with those at home in Canada.