Ardie Nelson was born and raised in the midwest USA. She was saved by grace through faith at age 16. After college she began ministry with youth and exercised her call to feed God’s word to God’s people. She has been sharing the word of God with people of all ages for over 45 years. She has lived in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, British Columbia, and Texas. Her journey has taken her on travels on four continents. Her life’s motto has been “Faith leads to adventure.” Faith in Jesus Christ makes all the difference in her life and she loves to share that faith in fellowship with others. Writing has become a passion and a call to continue sharing God’s word with people who hunger for that word. She is married to Walt. Their daughter Sara, son-in-law Jonathan and granddaughters Nava and Eden are missionaries in Belize Central America.
Ardie writes about her association with Brenda Lange and Orphans Unlimited, Inc. in the following statement. When my family came to Eagle Lake, TX in 2005, I was given African Adventures (Brenda Lange’s book). Eagle Lake is where Brenda’s folks lived and the community knew of Brenda. We invited her to come make a presentation at our church one year and it became an annual event at both the Eagle Lake and Garwood United Methodist Churches. In 2008, my 18 year old daughter, Sara, was accepted to spend three months with Orphans Unlimited in Balama. She worked with the pre-school, food distribution and as a general mission helper while she was there. She learned some Portuguese to better communicate with the kids, played soccer with the girls, and gave lessons on the guitar, the recorder and English language. I traveled at the end of Sara’s three months to see for myself the work being done in the bush of northern Mozambique.
It soon became apparent that a lot of work and challenging situations fill each day at the mission. The corn and beans were being readied for storage while I was there which is no small task for the tons of each that are purchased and processed each year. The regular daily activities of the mission were added to by people who came with needs such as newly orphaned children and a sick mother who needed help getting to see a Doctor. There was always something going on from sunup to sundown and Brenda seemed to know just what to do at each turn.
It was especially meaningful to be there over Sunday because I was able to worship with the Aguas Vivas congregation which meets on the mission grounds. When Sara and I entered the sanctuary, the voices and drums were already being lifted in praise to God. Though I could not understand their words, their hearts for worship touched me and it was an honor to worship with them. As a guest preacher, I had been asked to bring a message which I did through an interpreter. I would have rather heard their testimonies of faith in Jesus. Later that day, Sara and I were taken to the home of one of the women in the congregation and I met her personally. Eight of the 20 children that surrounded us were orphans she cared for in her home. I came away from that experience with great respect for her and the widows like her who live in mud brick houses, use outdoor kitchens with a fire pit, and care for many children. They are serving the Lord as foster Moms. The widows and orphans I saw in Brenda’s program appeared well fed and cared for.
The challenges of poverty in Northern Mozambique. are great, Orphans Unlimited is helping people face those challenges with courage and hope. Until you go there yourself, it is hard to imagine. I don’t know what I expected to find in Balama, but what I came away with was respect and love. The Lord has not forgotten the poor of northern Mozambique. Orphans Unlimited is there being the hands and feet of Christ and the bearer of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we pray for and give money to Orphans Unlimited, we are supporting the Lord’s work among some of the least these.