This Sunday, November 13th 2016, we will join with thousands of churches across America and around the globe to stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless...to care for the child that has no family...to visit orphans in their affliction.
That word, "visit" - it means more than just "going to see." To visit the orphan is to enter their world, their suffering, with a desire and effort to bring help, hope and healing. It is not to watch with sadness from afar, but to enter the sadness ourselves and do something about it.
But where do we start? How can we even begin to "visit" the 153+ million orphans around our globe? What can we do against numbers and realities like these:
Numbers and statistics can be overwhelming. And I get it - days like "Orphan Sunday" can feel like a big depressing reminder that "I'm not doing enough" and "there's just so much pain in the world." Why even talk about it? Why have a day where we bring up an insurmountable problem and suggest an impossible task?
Because we must know where the darkness is if we want our light to be effective. The moment we stop hearing, knowing and caring about the hard things and the sad things is the moment we give in to the desires of our flesh and the pull of our culture to look out for ourselves, take care of ourselves, and ignore the poor and marginalized like everyone else does. We must never stop allowing ourselves to be broken over this world...
...Because God has not asked us to fix the world - that's His job. He has asked us to be obedient in our lives as a reflection of Him, the Father to the fatherless, to care for the orphan (singular) - to care about individuals. People. Children with individual names, faces, stories, hopes and dreams. And if we all do that, if we all care for ONE, we can literally change the world.
That all sounds great, but what does that look like right now, today?
- Come on Orphan Sunday with open ears and an open heart, asking God how He might be calling you to visit orphans in their affliction.
- Stop by one of the tables we will have set up outside to ask questions, learn more, or even take a next step.
- Bring a donation
- $5-$10 gift card (to Wal-Mart or Ulta) for hygiene products to be donated to foster care families
- Clothes (Newborn - Highschooler and everything in between)
- Consider joining a Care Team for foster families, providing prayer, meals and support to those caring for orphans in our community (learn more Sunday)
- Consider adoption (come by the table to learn more)
- Consider fostering (come by the table to learn more)
- Give generously
- To our Lifesong Adoption Fund, which helps families in our church with adoption costs (click here to give)
- To organizations like (un)adopted who are working with children that will likely never have a family, but can still have life skills, a hope and a future (see their table Sunday and check them out here)
- Pray like crazy
- For orphans to find families
- For adoptive families to have strength, provision and support
- For foster families to care well for children not their own
- For foster children to be reunited with their parents in healthy situations
- For children aging out of the foster system here (or orphanages abroad) to learn life skills and develop networks that will keep them off the streets and thriving as adults