We know how popular fishing is in the state of Wyoming. Well, I’d like to take a moment to do some fishing myself – fishing for advocates. This blog is my hook to call out church leaders and orphan advocates in the state of Wyoming to a winning cause.
About two years ago, in the midst of serving church orphan care ministries in different regions of the country, God put a vision in my heart for the children in Wyoming. While doing some state-by-state research, I was struck with the statistics I was seeing in Wyoming. I thought to myself, “the Church in Wyoming can solve this problem”. That’s the first time I’ve ever used the word “solved” when talking about the orphan crisis here in the US or anywhere else. I know that sounds a little far fetched, but let me explain.
When we look around the world to see who is leading the way in church orphan care, we see countries like Ukraine and Rwanda, maybe two of the least likely places to see a movement like that happen. God is using the Church in these countries to help children find their forever families. Why Not Wyoming?
We have an incredible opportunity in front of us. In 2012, statistics showed that there were around 107 children awaiting adoption in Wyoming. This is the lowest amount total in the entire United States.
This is a problem that is solvable.
In Wyoming, there are approximately 800 churches. If you look at the church to awaiting child ratio, it’s 8:1. What if 1 in 8 churches in Wyoming had just one family, who in the next 5-10 years, chooses to adopt one of these children? Wyoming would be the first state without children awaiting adoption. Imagine that.
I think it is a realistic goal.
So how do we awaken the faith community in Wyoming?
Patch Our Planet would like to help lead the effort to build a coalition of church networks, nonprofits, & organizations who will join in this effort to reduce the number of awaiting children to 0. It is going to take everyone working in their areas of strength, in a Kingdom effort, to see this kind of historic change.
What would that look like?
To begin, we would like to form collaborative partnerships with local churches and orphan care ministries in the state of Wyoming. Initially, Patch Our Planet would serve as the foundational training for church leaders. We would provide the resources, training and direction for your church in order to build a strong foundation, which is critical to the success of any long-term orphan care ministry. Later, we would connect your church with like-minded, local ministries who would continue in a long-term, strategic partnership. It is imperative that church leaders first know how to navigate and plan for a long-term foster care and global orphan care ministry before launching out into unfamiliar territory.
Models of success:
Patch Our Planet helped shape the Every Child Network in western NY where we continue to partner, and learn from, The Chapel in Buffalo, NY. This is a great network model that began with one church, now having expanded into ten churches and twenty two total organizations (and growing). It will serve as a great example, along with the many great resources that the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) and other trusted organizations have to offer. ( www.every-child.com | www.cafo.org )
In June 2016, Patch Our Planet will be launching the SW FL Orphan Care Network. Building off of the successes of previous church networks of care, we will be unveiling a “whole care” approach to orphan care. This approach allows churches to create their own orphan care vision while having access to practical resources that will benefit children in foster care, global orphans, foster & adoptive parents, child welfare professionals and biological parents struggling to find work or help for their addiction.
The most beautiful, strategic part of a network like this is that each church has its own vision. It’s a custom strategy. Each church is autonomous. When you have churches in a community who are all pursuing the same goal, but in different ways, there is so much to be shared!
When a community of churches share their victories and their challenges with one another, they enable their orphan care ministries to learn, to grow, and to thrive. Not duplicating orphan care ministries in a community will also allow churches to focus more on their strengths and become better at a few things instead of trying to do everything. As my friend Jason Johnson from the Christian Alliance for Orphans says, “start simple, start slow, and start small”.
We can give your church the tools to do just that.
Possibly the greatest part of a movement like this is that children in foster care will be cared for. Families who are hurting will be given opportunities to heal and be reunited with their children. Children awaiting adoption will find a forever family as the Church awakens to the needs. Churches will be full of joy as they see the results of practicing James 1:27 ministry. And communities will find unity and healing in the midst of a common pursuit to care for children who are most vulnerable.
The “Hook”: Are you a church leader or orphan advocate in Wyoming? Know someone who is?
Why not connect us? You may be just the one who sparks this incredible revival of care for the whole world to see.
Founder, Patch Our Planet
WHY NOT WYOMING?
A project to find families for EVERY CHILD awaiting adoption.