TJ Saling Caldwell is the founder and President of Apple of His Eye Charity. Although the Charity officially started in May of 2012 the vision was birthed during her first mission trip to India at the end of 2006.
During that trip, she met two pastors who helped translate for the mission team. After asking them to share their testimonies, TJ learned that both of them were rescuing orphans off the streets. Even though as pastors they could barely feed their own families, they were obedient in responding to the Lord’s leading.
TJ’s heart ached upon arriving back in the US. She wanted to help these men provide for the orphans they had rescued. She began to pray and ask God how she could possibly help. She was a stay at home mom thousands of mile away and didn’t see how she could make a difference. Here is the answer she received in her own words:
I felt His encouragement to try so I started with in-home fundraisers enabling me to send a few hundred dollars over on a somewhat regular basis. Soon my Bible study group got behind what I was doing and shortly after that my church asked if I would begin a orphan sponsorship program; this allowed me to use the church as an umbrella organization to send funds.
After a few years, it became obvious God was doing something special with this partnership in India. What started out with a few hundred dollars and a hand full of people became thousands of dollars and involved hundreds of people. In 2012, leaders in her church asked if we would consider starting our own non-profit as the sponsorship program was becoming bigger than they wanted to manage.
Again, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate for the job, TJ turned to prayer. She was told the process to get nonprofit status with the IRS was a long, complicated if not impossible process especially if you were sending funds outside the US. A lawyer friend told her the process could take up to two to three years. God had something else in mind:
A month after applying, I received an acceptance letter! I knew God had opened the door for my vision to expand by making Apple of His Eye Charity an officially recognized 501 (c)3.
That same year we began to reach into Rwanda to help orphans. Pastor Emmanuel with ERM Rwanda had also been led by the Lord to rescue orphans off the streets after the genocide of 1994. After going on a couple mission trips with ERM, it was obvious God was working through Emmanuel and his ministry and we wanted to help.
What began as helping orphans has now expanded to include widows, leprosy and Aids victims, the poor and forgotten. God has allowed Apple of His Eye Charity to show His love and compassion to the most vulnerable in these developing nations.
We look forward to the future and the opportunities He will provide to help even more as we follow HIM.