In 1992, Daniel and Esther Edeh founded the Ministry of Mercy Orphanage in a tiny village in remote Nigeria called Otutulu. What began as a moment of compassion by taking in a motherless child has grown to a fully functioning orphanage currently housing over 300 children.
Local residents, namely the Styskal Family of Cordillera Ranch, began making trips to the orphanage on missionary and humanitarian trips. Eventually, the Styskal’s home church, Cibolo Creek Community Church in Fair Oaks, decided that the orphanage would be the recipient of their gracious giving.
After many pilgrimages to the village and the orphanage, travel was arranged for Esther and Daniel to fly to Boerne for some medical check-ups, and as a long-awaited opportunity for them to meet the many people that had donated to the orphanage, in turn allowing the community to meet these two amazingly vibrant and wonderful people.
BRIEFLY WALK THROUGH WHAT THE ORPHANAGE IS AND WHY YOU’RE HERE:
Well, the orphanage started on August 1, 1992. It didn’t start as an orphanage. A profoundly mentally retarded young girl was handed over to my father’s family by Mrs. Caroline Gross, who served as a missionary from your country to our own country, when she could no longer cope with this girl. She was growing older and the girl was growing too strong that she could not cope with her. So [she found] a good family that would be able to take care of this girl.
After some time, a motherless baby was brought to my wife and I and we were asked if we could take care of her. By that time, we had a baby girl and we agreed to take that motherless baby so that my wife could breastfeed two of them and bring them up as twins. And that’s how we started. How it started spreading was that two of them were very ill. We took two of them to the hospital and two of them needed a blood transfusion. I couldn’t transfuse two of them and my wife couldn’t because she was breastfeeding a set of twins, so we decided that I would donate blood to our motherless baby. It was a very hard decision.
After some time, God provided somebody who finally donated to our own charity and the news just spread of what we are doing. So people started bringing motherless babies. When we officially started, we had nine babies. Today, we have two orphanages and two of them together are getting to four hundred in number as a family.
CIBOLO CREEK COMMUNITY CHURCH:
When we started, Caroline Gross was really taking care of everything about the home that was being established. People started asking the question, “What would happen if [she] died?” We said, “That is left for God to decide.” But sooner than later, God started bringing people into our lives. Like you, I’ve never met you. I’m sure it’s true that [you know] somebody who knows somebody who knows us. And the same way, people started hearing about the orphanage. And our dear sister, Mrs. Julie Styskal, had the privilege of visiting and took the news back to a local church here, Cibolo Creek Community Church. With few pictures she brought, they felt that it was a place to invest and they started helping us. In fact, Mrs. Styskal has made several trips to the orphanage. Not just visiting, bringing medical teams and social workers. I think if not up to, about 25 times. She has made this trip for the past ten years. That’s how she got Cibolo Creek Community Church to be involved.
WHAT IS THE MOST FUN THING YOU HAVE DONE HERE?
Well we came on September 16th of this year and we were warmly welcomed by our friends. Before we came, there were arrangements for us to have some medical checkups, which we did. There were lots of medical issues that we had to tackle. Then I went to North Carolina for a week seminar which was so exciting and I learned a lot. CHE, we call it – Community Health Evangelism. When we talk about excitements, everything here excites us. Your road network, your electricity, your water, traffic rules and regulations being adhered to! So yeah…everything here is awesome! I think we see that corruption is not deeply into the system as it is back home.
HOW WAS SEA WORLD?
Oh wow! Lots of sightseeing. Our friend, Mrs. Julie Styskal and her children took us to Sea World. We were able to not only see whales, but relating with them and playing with them. And from there they took us to a place…this…what do you call this…uhh?
Ohhh no! Yeah, I believe in venturing so I thought it was something that I would do for fun, but I discovered it is no fun. I wouldn’t do it again; I think I am done with it. They have a spot there that they have camera set up that can take your photo and I told Julie to print it out for me so that I can have it. But when they printed out the photo, she couldn’t see me there. And the reason was that when I held onto the bottom of my seat, I said, “Oh Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” and I was buried [in my seat]. It was no fun, no fun. I don’t think it’s meant for people of my age.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT?
I think the best food we have eaten here is every food that is available. We like and love your food. Everything is awesome! I don’t know your food by name, but virtually every dish that is prepared for us is great. We have been enjoying all sorts of meat: pork, beef, chicken, everything!
WHAT’S LEFT ON YOUR TRIP?
After we are done with medical checkups, we are hoping to go to Colorado and spend two weeks there. Our daughters are there and we would like to see them and maybe a few other friends there, before we continue to Nigeria. We are already very very homesick. We want to go back to our children [at the orphanage]. Since we left, more babies have come to the orphanage and we can’t wait to see them.