“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
Marissa Amber McGill was a beautiful, Christian girl, filled with an amazing faith and wisdom that was beyond her years. Marissa had an unquenchable desire to live her faith and she sought to do that each and every day. She was vibrant, joyful, funny and full of life.
Prior to Marissa’s death in a car accident, she developed a passion for the people of Africa, and particularly the children displaced and orphaned by the AIDS epidemic and civil war. She watched and prayed for friends of the family who serve in Africa and missionary families who serve in Mexico and other countries and developed a strong desire to one day be a missionary to the children of Africa. Marissa was particularly moved by the Invisible Children project and talked frequently of the children and their plight. She wrote in her journal, “…but I always have to remind myself of the African children and all over the world (also the kids in the Mexican dumps) so that I’m not so selfish. I’m glad that God showed me that. It’s like He opened my eyes to a whole new perspective outside of me and my own little world.”
We chose to honor Marissa, carry on her legacy and fulfill her life’s dream by building a Church Home (similar to an orphanage) — Marissa’s House — in Africa.
Out of this one project in Ethiopia grew the desire to continue to raise funds to build Church Homes in other areas/countries in Africa, and Marissa’s House Projects was born. We now have one Church Home in Uganda, one school/drop-in/tutor center in Ethiopia and we have helped build two other schools in Ethiopia.