Monday, November 11, 2013

Orphan Sunday

a sunday and a day late, that is.

forgive me, guys.

Orphan Sunday came in as quickly as it left and I completely missed it other than a nice little Facebook post.

orphans and vulnerable children are so very close to my heart. they are so very close to God's heart. i love the idea of orphan sunday for many reasons. it isn't raising awareness about just adoption, or just sponsoring kids, or just reunification, it is bringing awareness to the plight that is The Least of These. Don't get me wrong, adoption is a beautiful thing. it is redemption in every definition of the word and i love adoption, but it's not always the answer.

below are some statistics about orphans and vulnerable children of the world.

According to UNICEF about 17.8 million children are true orphans. when i say true orphans i mean children that have lost both parents. 11 million children will die of starvation or preventable diseases. 8.5 million work as slaves or prostitutes. 2.3 million live with HIV/AIDS. all of these statistics add up to about 163 million needy children in the world.

the numbers are saddening and are so overwhelming at first glance. BUT there are 2.1 billion people who claim to be Christians. the truth is, if only 7% of these people would care for one child, these statistics wouldn't exist.

where are we the church as this crisis continues to rise? what are we doing to stop this tragedy. these children are growing up. in most countries at age 16 (or before) these precious children are kicked out of their orphanages and foster homes and put on the street.

where are we to help aid the mother that is desperate to be able to care for her child? where are we to take in the child that is desperate for a family of his own? why are we not raging war against the injustice that has become of this world.

when i was in Uganda i first hand experienced this injustice. i will never forget the mama i met in the village. she had a little girl that was probably no older than three and a very tiny baby that had down syndrome. she came to us begging for money to get formula for her baby. after more examination we begged this mama to allow us to take her and her baby to the clinic so the baby could receive further care. this mama came with everything she had ready to get help for her baby. mama and baby spent weeks in the hospital and this mama never left her little one. she loved her baby and without our help she would not have been able to get care at this hospital. this precious baby died in the hospital due to a heart condition. but this mama fought for her baby and never, ever left her side. it's a sad reality for so many parents. they are desperate to care for their child. they love their child, but our world is cruel & unfortunately without the help of others, it just isn't possible.

we have gotten to a mindset that because we have money, we are clearly a better fit for these children. this isn't always the case. in some cases, it absolutely is. but our research needs to be done. children are supposed to be in families, not institutions. babies need mamas not caregivers.

i have been blessed with three siblings adopted from China. it was truly one of the best experiences in my entire life. God loves the orphan and He truly places the lonely in families. Adoption makes families and it changes lives. If not for the adoption of my siblings they would never know who Jesus was and they would most likely have lived in an orphanage and been kicked out when they turned 13. most of the children that are put on the streets become the slaves and prostitutes. they don't choose this life. it's unfair and it's not just. Adoption is the difference. In some countries, children can never be reunited with birth families, but can be placed with adoptive families and that's where we come in. where are we church?

Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to do something. God doesn't give us an option. He commands us to care for the orphan and widow. He commands us to step out and care for the Least of These. it's not a friendly suggestion, it's demanded of us.

You don't have to travel the world to change a life. It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but we are all called to make a difference. You may not be able to change the world, but i promise we can all change the world for one. and sometimes, one is enough.

Let them know Him through our Love.

Happy [belated] Orphan Sunday.

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