Wayne is a United Methodist pastor dedicated to creating a world of peace and justice for all people. The author of 5 books, his newest book, Who Will Care for the Orphan: If You Are A United Methodist, It Could Be You will be available December 1, 2015. Wayne served as a professor at the University of Human Development in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq from 2011-2012—and an adjunct professor at both Virginia Wesleyan College and Drew University. A native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Wayne ministered at several churches throughout the area and received the esteemed Harry E. Denman Award in 2004 from the United Methodist Church for his outstanding leadership and service to the church. He earned his college degree at Drew University, two Masters degrees from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, and a Ph.D. from the School of Public Policy at George Mason University.
Dieudonne who studied agriculture at Africa University, began his work in Mozambique in 2001 as a agriculturalist with the United Methodist Church’s program, Hope for the Children of Africa. Eventually he applied for and was accepted in to the General Board of Global Ministries Missionary program. Originally from Burundi, Dieudonne was the long time agriculturalist growing food for the children of the Carolyn Beleshe Orphanage and teaching them agricultural techniques. Now he is expanding into construction work and evaluates ongoing projects and new sites on behalf of Foundation 4 Orphans in Mozambique.
Hardi is a Kurdish Iraqi and former student of Wayne Lavender at the University of Human Development in Sulaymaninyah, Iraq. Hardi has worked as a humanitarian support worker and program coordinator for the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP). In this role, he assisted refugees in Iraq who have fled from both the Syrian Civil War and ISIS. Currently he resides in Harrisonburg, VA, where he is enrolled in a Master’s Program at James Madison University. Raised as an orphan himself, Hardi has been committed to his work with orphans since 2009, and volunteered his services to the Foundation 4 Orphans since 2013. He is married and the father of two children.
Joe lives in Virginia Beach, VA with his wife, Morgan, and their two precious girls. He has served as the pastor at Thalia United Methodist Church since 2016. Joe grew up in Farmville, VA where the influence of his family and church gave him a passion for helping children around the world. Joe received his BA from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA and his M.Div. from Duke Divinity School. He was ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church in 2018.
Steve is a retired UMC pastor and staff corps Captain from the U.S. Navy Reserve with more than 25 years of experience helping service members and families choose and maintain positive values and healthy lifestyles. He is currently employed as a learning specialist with a Navy contractor in Norfolk, VA, and also serves as the pastor of a local United Methodist Church. Steve is a former adult education curriculum writer and facilitator of college and continuing education courses. In addition, he has served as the academic assessment officer for several higher education institutions. Steve received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and earned graduate certificates from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Naval War College, Joint Forces Staff College, and Naval Postgraduate School.
Bonnie is a retired Business Executive and has lived in New Milford CT for over 40 years. As a foster mom, she has a passion for helping vulnerable children and in particular, those in developing world countries, to receive an education, and makes contributions to assist with tuition needs. She has been to Mozambique several times where she says she has left her heart. Bonnie is a recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for her leadership in the United Methodist Church. She received the 2004 “Citizen of the Year” award by the General Assembly – State of Connecticut through the Rotary Club of New Milford for her service both locally and abroad.
Carmen is an active member of her church and community and an avid volunteer with a heart for serving children. Now a mother of two, Carmen previously worked in healthcare, serving to empower families and children from all backgrounds to overcome a variety of health issues. She is always willing to lend a hand, or a shoulder, and believes we rise by lifting others.Carmen comes to F4O called and inspired to help mitigate the orphan crisis. She comes to serve the children.
Laura holds a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She has worked as a Speech Language Pathologist in public schools for nearly 30 years servicing children with varying degrees of special educational needs. Nominated Teacher of the Year, her passion and dedication to help children become all they are capable of is evident throughout her career.
Her love for orphans began in 2002 during a mission trip to Mozambique. Her experience there was life altering and she and others in the group led by Wayne Lavender, returned to CT determined to help the orphans they had met by raising money to build a House For Orphans. This was the foreshadowing of the establishment of F4O. She is excited to bring her passion for children, especially orphans and vulnerable children to the Foundation for Orphans Board.
Mark is the dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on US government and politics with specialties in religion and politics, interest groups and elections, and the US presidency. He has lectured extensively in the US and abroad and writes columns for major media.
Bishop Kenneth is the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School.
Ken was as a bishop in the United Methodist Church in 1992 while serving as pastor of Church Street in Knoxville. He served as bishop of the Nashville Area, 1992-2000, and the Jackson Area, 2000-2004. He joined the Duke Divinity School faculty in September 2004.
Bishop Carder received a B.S. Degree from East Tennessee State University, M.Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Millsaps College awarded him the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2004.
Dr. Carder is the author of six books, his most recent being Ministry with the Forgotten: Dementia Through a Spiritual Lens. Ken lives in Chapin, South Carolina.
Peter was born and raised in Huntington NY. He attended and graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BS in Economics. He has been married to Lori for 35 years and they are the parents of two, Kristina and Thomas. He is a resident of New Milford, CT, since 1994 and words as a sales executive in the Food Business. Peter is a member member of the New Milford United Methodist Church where he has served on multiple board and committees. He is also a member of St. Peter’s #21 Masonic Lodge, currently serving as Chaplain of the Craft.
Shelly is an attorney by trade with experience in both Criminal Law, as well as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). She began her career at the Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney’s Office prosecuting misdemeanor and felony charges. Thereafter, she joined the law office of ReevesColey practicing in the highly regulated ITAR arena. She has also taught Criminal Law at South University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She currently lives in Virginia Beach with her husband, son, and daughter.
Shelly was first drawn to F4O due to the nature of its mission. After meeting with Rev. Lavender, she was drawn to his passion and calling to lead this organization. Shelly looks forward to being a more active part of F4O and learning how the organization grows and functions. She hopes to offer her insight, energy, and prayers to an organization that is actively pursuing Christ’s calling.
Kodruta grew up in Romania where she first-hand witnessed the needs and wants of very vulnerable children in Roma populations. She assisted her mother, a local physician, in providing basic health care for Roma and other children in need.
Codruta obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Yale University and has a career spanning 15 years as a research scientist, and has put a lot of passion into developing technologies to make the world a better place for us all. She now hopes to take those lessons and apply the dedication and energy towards helping orphans and vulnerable children.
Codruta lives in North Haven, CT, with her family and is a member of Faith United Methodist Church.tive part of F4O and learning how the organization grows and functions. She hopes to offer her insight, energy, and prayers to an organization that is actively pursuing Christ’s calling.
Benjamin grew up on a farm in Ohio, in an area with many families living in poverty. He attended Syracuse University, University College of London, Purdue University and Yale University, obtaining a BS and MS in Engineering, and an MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior. He has lived in 6 states and 2 foreign countries. He has traveled to four continents, seeing the effects of poverty on children and families around the globe.
Having worked in various utility companies for over 23 years, he developed a passion for renewable energy and energy self-sufficiency, especially low-cost renewable energy technologies for developing countries.
Benjamin is a member of Faith United Methodist Church in North Haven, CT, and a member of Corinthian Lodge #61 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Connecticut.