Harvesters was formed in 2001 in response to the tremendous needs of orphans in South Sudan. Hearing of the plight of these children, an ordinary woman from Wisconsin prayed a simple prayer, “Lord, what can I do?” The Lord’s response? “Sell all you have and give it to the poor.” Acting in faith, Lillian Klepp and her husband Dennis sold everything and moved to South Sudan to open Harvesters Orphanage and Christian School.
Harvesters’ Yei campus consists of 90 acres of land donated by the South Sudan government in 2001. By 2002, we cared for 50 orphans and held school and church under the mango trees. Two years later we had 100 orphans and expanded our dormitories to accommodate the growth. In 2005 a clinic, His Merciful Hand, was added to care for the basic health needs of the children. By 2006 we began to raise funds to build a church for those on our campus and for locals within the community to attend. Prior to that we held church services in our pyatt (dining hall). In 2008, we were teaching more than 370 students at our Primary School and began talks of building a hospital to better meet the needs of vulnerable women and children in the community. In 2012 we were able to open His House of Hope Hospital. During this time we recognized a need to provide the majority of our Primary students as well as locals in the community with an opportunity to pursue vocational training since the economy is dependent on workers with valuable skill-sets used in the region. In 2014 we officially opened the Joshua & Esther Vocational Center. Over the course of the past 15 years in Yei, we have built missionary and local staff housing, dorms, a kitchen and dining Hall, a Primary School, a hospital, a Vocational Training Center as well as other facilities within a fenced-in campus.
Today, we care for 118 orphans and provide Primary education for 440 students on our Yei campus. From our humble beginnings with just two people, we’ve since grown to serve 173 orphans and more than 700 school children and thousands through our churches and hospital across two locations in South Sudan.