Monday, October 29, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Yesterday we observed Orphan Sunday as a church.  I spent the day on the edge of tears, partly because my heart is broken for kids who don't have parents, but partly because as an individual and as a collective Church, we are not nearly heartbroken enough.

We have seen first hand the miracle that God does in a child's life when they are adopted into a family.  We are FAR from perfect, and there is conflict and chaos around here, but there is also love and attention.  Adopting one child barely makes a dent in the global crisis, but God can use our little bit to make a big change.  Our lives have changed for the better because of the Panda, and his life is so very different than it was a year ago today.

Psalm 68:6
God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Let's all ask:

What little bit can I do?

First, please pray.  There are orphans whose basic needs are not being met.  They are sleeping on hard boards, with no heat, not enough clothing and food.  Prayer really changes things, for us and for orphans.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

We were blessed to have Tom Davis, CEO of Children's Hope Chest and adoptive dad, Skype in to bring us a sermon.  Here are some things that he told us.  My prayer is that God would continually break my heart for the horrors that break His.  I share these things, because if He breaks your heart too, more people will be moved to action.  As a Church, we must stop denying the suffering, and do something.

  • Children age out of orphanages around the world, usually between the ages of 14-18 yrs.  They go off into the world with no support, family, job, or home.
  • About 70% of these children fall victim to prostitution, sex-trafficking, crime, suicide within the first 2 years.
  • If 7% of people who identify as Christian adopted one time, there would be no orphans left.
Here's what I'm NOT saying:

  • Only Christians should adopt.  I don't think I know of a family, personally, that wouldn't be a lot better than an orphanage.  I know it is possible...  Adoption and foster care is the responsibility of the Church, AND of everyone who has the means to help.  Whether you are a Christian or not, please help.
  • Everyone should adopt.  I'm not saying this.  There are so many ways to help.
  • Children's Hope Chest is the only organization out there doing a good job.  They are doing a great job, but there are others, too (see my sidebar).
Children's Hope Chest (  can pair up your church, business, Bible study, neighborhood, book club, etc. with an orphanage.  The goal is to build a long term relationship to effect permanent and lasting change in the lives of orphans.  You provide letters of encouragement to the kids, financial support, prayer support, and watch what God does.  If your heart is moved today, please talk to your pastor or boss or friends about starting something big.

Our church has formed a partnership with a particular orphanage through Children's Hope Chest, and members of our congregation have been there to meet the staff and kids.  God takes the little that we do, and does more than we even ask or think He will!

After you have prayed, may God move your heart to take action.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Ongoing help for orphans.  Please.  Here are other ideas that the kids and I talked about last night:

  • Make a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, or donate something such as Water for Life through their ministry.  (  Even though this isn't a ministry that is specific to orphans, it is great.
  • Sponsor a child through Children's Hope Chest, Compassion International, or another of the many organizations that have built a reputation of integrity over the years.
  • Adopt or donate to a family that is fundraising to pay for their adoption fees.  If you don't know of anyone, here's a list:  
  • Look into foster care, or support a family that does foster care.  This is hard, heartbreaking, thankless work.  
  • Contribute to ending terrible injustices in this world through an organization such as International Justice Mission.  Again, not orphan specific, but slavery and sex-trafficking is are issues that affect orphans.
  • Contribute to your local food pantry this holiday season.  The need right here in our own neighborhoods is huge.
The Bunny and I have chosen to contribute to IJM.  She is doing Sonlight Core 100 for school this year, and we are reading Amos Fortune,  Free Man, and Elijah of Buxton right now.  The themes of justice and freedom have really moved our hearts.  Amos Fortune was a real person who really purchased his own freedom from slavery and then saved money to purchase four other people.

The Penguin and the Puppy have chosen to give clean water to a family.  The Penguin really felt the impact of lack of clean water when we were in China.

Matthew 9:37
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few"

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