Officially Orphan Sunday is tomorrow but our church has had related activities for the last couple days (and several have been following the 40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care for a few weeks now.) Last night the Youth Group hosted a simulcast of Desperation Band -- a group of young performers who dearly love Jesus and who are passionate about orphans--and this morning I led a workshop entitled "Practical Responses to a REALLY BIG Need." It was good to be reminded that our big, amazing, loving, merciful, mighty warrior, just, defender, holy (etc) God is Himself an adoptive Father--see Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:3-5; and Galatians 4:4-6. So as His kids through Jesus Christ, we act as channels of His passion when we respond to the huge orphan crisis. It is truly a really big need: according to UNICEF, 162,000,000 children have lost at least one parent--about 18,000,000 of these are double orphans. And there are street kids -- and kids abandoned due to poverty or special needs or being the wrong sex--and kids abducted into sexual slavery--and kids separated from their parents due to war or other catastrophe. There are many thousands who age out of foster care and orphanages every year and face a very bleak and lonely future.
Rather than being overwhelmed by the numbers, or merely convicted, we want to be moved to specific, practical action. My niece shared about a ministry to Mexico with which she is involved that is need of money, clothes, blankets, socks, gloves,etc. for children of all ages; Kevin talked about our experience with foster care, Linda recalled her trip to Romania in 1998 where she spent time painting among other things; Carol spoke about her trip as a nurse to an orphanage in Guatemala (she has previously shared about the need for more buildings to be constructed on that site); and I represented the practical response of adoption by reading an article I wrote entitled "Another Kind of Missions."
I honestly am pretty discouraged about the poor attendance but hopefully the workshop will help spark a fire in the hearts of those who came.
Day 28--Prayer Guide for Orphan Care (yes, I know I'm way behind but let's just keep praying together . . . OK?) Today, pray for families who are taking care of their grandchildren or nieces or nephews in addition to their own children. Ask the Lord to bless them for their sacrifice and to provide enough food, clothes, education, and shelter for all of their children.