A heart for orphans beats strong in Katy
Jennifer Phillips Lawrence’s desire to help the less fortunate began while watching Compassion International on television when she was just a little girl. Years later, at age 18, footage of Romanian orphanages propelled her into action.
“When I was 18 and communism was falling in Romania, I saw a video of the orphanages and how cruelly the children were treated,” Lawrence said. “I thought, ‘If I can’t do anything else, I can at least go love these children.’ “
Lawrence served as a missionary in Romania before returning home to Katy. Her break from missionary work didn’t last long. After hearing a radio interview with a like-minded missionary who was starting an orphanage outside of Nairobi, Kenya, Lawrence resolved to meet the woman and offer her assistance.
“Within a year I met her and ended up going to volunteer in her orphanage,” she said. “As I was volunteering in her orphanage, I decided that I wanted to move there and work full time.”
In 1996, while working as a missionary in Kenya, Lawrence founded the nonprofit organization International Treasure House Ministries, which raises awareness and funds to help provide food, education and safe housing for orphans in impoverished countries.
“We’ve partnered with a school in the slum area,” Lawrence said. “They feed and educate 350 children every day. Their hope is to get these kids educated in order to help them escape poverty.”
Lawrence recently moved back to Katy, but her missionary work in Kenya continues. International Treasure House Ministries is currently raising funds to build a rescue center at its partner school; the center will provide a safe place for high-risk girls to live while attending the school.
“Twenty-five dollars feeds and educates a kid for a month,” Lawrence said. “People don’t even realize you can forgo a night at the movies and you’ve provided a kid food and education for a whole month.”
For more information on International Treasure House Ministries, or to make a donation, call 281-392-2747 or visit www.treasurehouseministries.org. Visit the organization’s travel blog at www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/ITHM. You can also connect with International Treasure House Ministries on Facebook.
ABOUT JENNIFER PHILLIPS LAWRENCE
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Katy resident
FAST FACT: Lawrence met her husband of nearly three years in Kenya