GongYi Home of Hope

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The end to the chapter, but not the Book.

Nathan Bell founded the Home of Hope Orphanages in China close to 18 years ago. During that time, three Home of Hopes were opened: one in Gongyi, one in Xuzhou (administrated by Bob and Cindy Sayre) and one in Pingyu (administrated by Ben and Michelle Godard). Over 150 children have been helped together with all three Homes. Nathan was the administrator to the Gongyi Home of Hope, where most people there called him Grandpa. He was a man full of compassion, joy, faith, love, kindness and hope. In November, Nathan lost his battle to bladder cancer and went HOME to be with the Lord.

Ben Godard, along with David (one of Nathan’s sons) hosted one of the funerals that were held for Nathan. Several of the older Gongyi kids that grew up with Nathan, but have now grown and started their own lives, gave absolutely beautiful testimonies in how Nathan impacted and changed their lives. It was very evident that he loved them dearly, and they him.

Unfortunately, as you may have read from his previous post, “Memories from the Beginning” the local civil affairs had already built a brand new orphanage and was planning on moving Nathan and the kids to it after Nathan’s surgery. Shortly after Nathan passed away, the civil affairs decided to end the contract with the Home of Hope and move the remaining 24 children into their facility. A lot of decisions needed to be made, and made very quickly. After researching the Chinese law, and seeing that there was no other choice, we had to start making steps in closing down the Gongyi Home of Hope. For those of you who have emailed Nathan, who have been praying and waiting to see how his surgery went, and for those who have given this last month, please forgive us for not being able to respond to you any sooner than what we have. Our intentions were focused on taking care of all the Gongyi children, then trying to help his family with his personal items while being pushed by the local civil affairs to exit quickly.


Nathan had filled his freezer full of food that he had bought to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with. We thought one great way to celebrate his life with the kids was to make, bake, and intake all those wonderful treats.
Michelle made small pies for all the kids!

Ben prepared the turkey and gave free samples away to Sissy and Rachel!

While Nathan was in the hospital, he asked if Moses could stay with Ben and Michelle. Michelle homeschools their three sons and Nathan hoped that she could help get Moses started in a homeschooling education. While Moses was at their home, he celebrated his 17th birthday. After Nathan passed away, Ben and Michelle went back to Gongyi and stayed there over a week. While they were there, they celebrated Ruthie’s 17th birthday. She asked for a cheesecake that Michelle was able to make for her.

Big Shoes to Fill

For the past 10 years, Ben and Michelle Godard have been living in China working alongside Nathan and the Sayre’s. Ben and Michelle have been the administrators to the Pingyu Home of Hope since it opened in 2010. In recent years, Nathan spent time training them to succeed him when the time was needed.

Moving Day

The children packed all their stuff up and lined up at the new state-ran orphanage to find their new bedrooms.

With having no choice but to move, we tried to make it as exciting for the kids as possible. You can see Jonah, Happy and Sissy pretty excited to see their new rooms with their brand new BIG bed.

Left to Right:Jacob (he got hurt at school and needed a couple stitches), Moses and Michael.

Left to Right:Autumn, Charity and Ruthie.

Front to back:Sissy, Happy and Joy.

Left to Right:Mary, Dawn and Abby.

Left to Right:Jonah, Mitch and Aaron.

Left to Right:Enoch, Morris and Caleb.

Left to Right:Beau, Ron and Alex.

Left to Right:Rose, Rachel and Gracie.

Their new dining hall.

Morris enjoying his dinner.

This day was extremely hard on everyone, but if it were not for these people pictured above with Ben and Michelle,it could have been a lot harder on everyone. {Left to right: XiDong (Driver), YanMing (Nathan’s assistant), Seth (Driver and one of Nathan’s sons), Sam (one of Nathan’s sons), Ben and Michelle, Joey (Cook and one of Nathan’s sons) and Shanshan (teacher).}

We want to make special mention and extra special thanks to Sam. He helped Ben translate with the civil affairs, helped go through and move Nathan’s personal affects, and planned all of the funeral arrangements. He did a fantastic job and stayed behind the scenes without most knowing what he did. A huge thanks to you Sammy.

What does the future hold for Gongyi kids?

Ben and Michelle are committed to going to see the Gongyi kids once a month. As you can see from the pictures, thanks to some friends in Shanghai, to some of the older Gongyi kids and some of you, the orphanage allowed Ben and Michelle to throw a Christmas party for the kids. A lot of the older Gongyi kids and staff were able to attend too, making it extra special for everyone.

Though the Gongyi Home of Hopes chapter may be closed, the Gongyi children story is far from over. As stated above, we (Ben and Michelle) are committed to making monthly trips to seeing the kids. We hope to be able to keep encouraging the kids and even throw birthday parties for those who celebrated their birthday that month. We also were given permission to invite the Gongyi kids to our annual Summer Camp we host each year. The civil affairs told us that as long as one staff member from the orphanage attends and as long as we cover all costs, then the Gongyi kids could join us at the camp in Pingyu. Also, all the older children know that if they get homesick, and need a little taste of Home of Hope, Bob and Cindy in Xuzhou and we here in Pingyu, told them they are more than welcome to join us anytime.

We thank all of you who have continued supporting the Gongyi Home of Hope. Whether it was through financial and prayer support or encouraging letters that were written to Nathan and the kids, we are very thankful for all of you for spreading love, joy and hope to these wonderful children. If you have any questions or comments, please email ben@homeofhope.org or michelle@homeofhope.org
Ben and Michelle