If ever there was a verse that represented God’s heart for the orphan, it is this one. Advocates from every country point to this one verse as the central reason for why they are taking extraordinary steps in order to do something on behalf of vulnerable children.
Many of us have responded to the call to care for orphans, in one way or the other.
So, why have we not seen explosive growth in the orphan care movement in the past decade as the Church has awakened to this calling? Well, we are seeing areas of great movement. But there are still large communities across this country with no plan to care for children in need. That is where you and I can help.
Consider the following stats, courtesy of CAFO (https://cafo.org/ovc/statistics/):
- Inter-country Adoption has decreased 72% from its high in 2004 due primarily to restrictions by sending countries.
- Children in foster care waiting to be adopted: 101,840
- Total estimated number of orphans worldwide: 150 Million
Unfortunately, these numbers aren’t shrinking like they would be if the Church was really engaged. I’m talking about every church in every community. It seems as if the greatest organization, the Church, is still the least equipped. I’ve been involved in this ministry for five years, citing the same numbers as when I first began in 2011. Something has to change dramatically.
As we remember these numbers, we cannot forget that every number represents a grieving child.
A few weeks ago, I had to ask the question, “God, what do you want from me?” I realized that He was not finished with me. He wanted me to be willing to step in a little deeper with Him, trust Him completely. So He took me on a personal journey.
My wife and I had some friends at church who were fostering a 16 year old young lady. This young lady was a mother and was in the foster care system. We found out, through our friends, that this young lady was getting ready to be moved, yet again, to another foster situation. The sad fact was that she was finally content with our friend’s family. She felt safe and she was really enjoying our church.
But, like so many times in the past, she had to move again – to the unknown, the unpredictable.
That night at church we had a special service. The message was on forgiveness. And, just as the Lord would have it, He sits this sweet young lady right next to me and my wife.
We experienced the service through her eyes that night as she quietly wiped away tears in between songs and during the message on forgiveness. Earlier in the week, this young lady had made the decision to follow Christ. Now, she was embracing the hard call to “trust Him” and to “forgive as He forgives us”. It’s not so easy when there is so much pain.
This special young lady had no idea where she would be going the following day.
At one point during the service, overwhelmed by what I was quietly witnessing in her life, I asked the Lord if I was supposed to be her dad. I think He wanted me to ask the question. That may have been His purpose for me that night.
That simple moment of asking was a transformational moment for me. I was asking, yet again, what the Lord wanted to do with my life. We always talk about adoption in my house and God’s timing, but never has it been more personal than in that moment.
I almost didn’t go to church that night. The pollution of the world, work and other legitimate distractions could have easily paved the way for me to offer up some viable excuse to skip the service. But, I wanted to hear from God. Boy, did I.
I learned a lot about myself that night. I learned that I am really good with big picture items, big vision, seeing things from 30,000 ft. and making changes, building strategies. But, I’m terrible at the little things. And this is what God requires of me. I know that now.
In hind sight, I see the battle that takes place in moments like these.
When God wants to do something in my life, create some sort of personal breakthrough, there is always going to be an obstacle. I have to make sure that I am not polluted by the world before I can clearly discern God’s call on my life as it pertains to James 1:27.
I want nothing more than to know God’s will for my life with each passing day. I realize now that this is how the Church will awaken, one heart at a time.
If the Church remains distracted, vulnerable children, like this young lady, will remain invisible, lost in a system without the guidance and security of a loving adult who chooses to call them their own. At least for now, she was able to move in with a family that was a little closer to her children in a different town. I find myself praying for her often.
So that is the season I find myself in. I have tremendous dreams of what I would like to accomplish through Patch Our Planet, but I don’t want to miss what God is doing in me personally – the little things. I want to be able to hear the Lord give me my marching orders at a moment’s notice.
Obviously, we are not all called to foster or adopt, but I do believe we are all called to ask the Lord what our roll in ‘pure religion’ is to be about.
When your life is not polluted, you’ll see the need.
That is how the Church will begin to rise up and see great change, one life at a time.
For every church & every community,
Founder | Exec. Director