For there will be no hope of real comfort if we do not first acknowledge that a great and perplexing gulf of grief and sorrow is present in our world and, at times, in our own lives.   One does not see God in the whirlwind without confronting the whirlwind.
Douglas Mckelvey

Sometimes there are no words. But when you are writing a newsletter, ‘no words’ are not so helpful, so let me give you a bit of a background story to what is to come.

On September 11, 2001 I was finishing up a visit to the USA and scheduled to fly out that morning. In the resulting chaos after the terrorist attacks, I found myself ‘stranded’ for a week, but not without purpose. Somehow, people in the area heard that a missionary in Mozambique was around, so I had requests to meet and speak with people. One of those I met with eventually moved to Mozambique and started ministering to streetboys, and before long had a children’s home called House of Blessing (HOB). I went and visited the orphans and vulnerable children living there many times, and even 9 years ago David and I “orphan-sat” for three months so my friend running the place could have a break from caring for 40 children.

There’s a lot more to the story, but suffice to say, I know and love these HOB kids, most of whom are young adults now.

Thus, I was shocked last month when I discovered Helena, one of the 19 year old’s had committed suicide. Helena had a beautiful smile and personality, and when David and I lived in a little reed hut for our 3 month assist, she used to wake us up with a song and dance -literally! Her photo has been my computer screensaver for four years, as well as my laptop skin.


Helena is second from the right

Though it is no surprise that the ministry we are involved in to vulnerable young adults transitioning out of orphanages into independent living situations is fraught with risks, when we lose one of them, it is devastating. So since I knew Helena’s HOB brothers and sisters were going to be having a hard time at the holidays in particular with her absence, I flew up to the area just prior to Christmas so I could gather them together on December 25th.

Our Christmas celebration was a God-blessed event attended by 40, and needed conversations took place about how when problems or hurts are kept in the dark, they usually fester, and often they poison a person. A commitment was made to bring our struggles into the light, so we as a family could be more supportive.

So, in honor of my beloved Helena, and the commitment to share our needs, I’m going to bring before you some of the struggles of these HOB young adults. I do so not to promote voyeurism, but to encourage prayer and possible additional involvement. I will not give too many details here about the needs, but feel free to get a hold of me if you want additional information.

Is there a grace and a love that can coexist with pain, and rather than being nullified by it,

somehow is more profoundly made manifest in the midst of it?


Helena is on the left

Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?  In the hands of the one who is making all things new.

A God-birthed idea we think whose time has come is to open a rental house for some of the young adult orphan women we know who are struggling in very unsafe living situations. This project is to be known as Helena’s House. Helena’s death is a tragedy, but her legacy can be life-giving.

I was reminded afresh today of how needed a safe house is when I learned two of the young women from HOB who were coming to visit by bus were being targeted by a man offering them food and transportation, and whose intention for them was clearly trafficking. They naively just thought he was a nice guy, but their sister who lives with us and was picking them up recognized the obvious clues that signaled danger. There is a great need to transition these (and other) young adult orphans from orphanage life to safe independent living environments. Our live-in college concept does indeed address this, but until it is up and running, it’s important we protect these who are at risk, and in a manner of speaking, falling down ravines with steep inclines and life-threatening terrain.

Helena’s House can dramatically decrease the dangers to young women such as the ones who just came our way. Thinking of one of those two, I know the impact this could make as presently she lives in government housing in a small room, whose size is smaller than most people’s closets. She has been robbed twice. She also shares a bathroom with 9 families, and since her door is the closest to it, she is forced to clean it or the smell becomes overpowering. A healthier housing situation for this delightful and talented young woman could literally save her life. And with a dream to be a missionary in Israel, there’s no telling the impact saving her life could eventually have on thousands of others.
$500 a month

The following 6 projects are for House of Blessing, so cheques for these needs would be written out to them.

One of the greatest struggles for HOB is not having the funds to hire a caretaker for Davi, another 19 year old orphan, and Helena’s cousin.

Helena - Version 4

Davi and Helena

Davi is disabled, and walks with great difficulty, and is not understood by most to whom he talks. He sometimes vomits on himself and makes a mess in his pants. He also worships God with great passion and genuine love. He needs help immediately, and if he doesn’t get it, his sister who grew up with him at the orphanage is planning on dropping out of college to stay with him all the time. Rosa is very intelligent, wise and compassionate, and dropping out of university to care for her brother full-time is admirable, but she would be losing her scholarship, and with it, chances to get a better job that would allow her to help her brother longer. Less than 1% of Mozambicans attend university, and those of us who know Rosa believe she is to complete her studies- but we understand why she is torn, and why if no caretaker is found she will make that decision.
$80 a month

2) Six of the children are underage and still needing help with food and school costs.
$50 a month x6

3) Three of the young adults are living in leaky small houses
$200 per roof repair

4) One young man who is working full-time during the day would like to go to university at night so he can get better jobs in the future. He was a very good student previously and is likely to do well in school.
$85 a month until the degree is completed

5) One young man would like to start a type of bank-loan business that would involve a capital investment of $300-400.

6) Building a house for Davi $2000

For those who would like to directly assist David and I in our ministry, Flourish & Thrive, we are looking for four laptops computers for some young adults we work with.

new life Christmas

Other Support options:
For the tax deductible snail mail option: cheques can be written out to: R U Red E? Ministries. Please INCLUDE A NOTE that it is for Melinda/David Nelson’s ministry and mail to:
R U Red E? Ministries PO Box 49, Pigeon, MI 48755
For tax deductible online donations, you can give at
There is a donation ‘box’ on the righthand side of the page about halfway down, and on the “Donate to” box go to the pulldown menu and select “Nelson Ministry.” When you click “Donate” it takes you to a Paypal page which allows you to give through your bank account (no charge), a credit card (2.5% is taken out), or from your Paypal balance (no charge).
If tax deductions are not necessary for you, then you can use for your Paypal donations, or snail mail donations can be received addressed to:
Melinda Nelson, c/o Sue Layman, PO Box 21986, Bakersfield, CA 93390
*Please make note:
As of January 1st (postmarked) our donations will no longer go through R U Red E ? Ministries.  Flourish & Thrive’s MI tax-exempt status has been granted, but we are still working on the paperwork for the federal tax-exempt grant.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 4.45.30 AM
A great Shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land.  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in The Gospel from the first day until now…. Philippians 1:3-5