My view of the world, life and our plans for the future have changed so much in the past few years. Remembering where we've come from and how we arrived at this moment in time is important. The Bible is full of stories of remembrance that build our faith. So looking back over our own lives and seeing the hand of God at work encourages our faith.
My own love for orphans began many years ago, as a teenager on the mission field. I started going on summer missions at around 15 years old. At 17 years old, I found myself in a South African Hospital, holding a baby whose Mother had abandoned him at the hospital. He was very sick, but I could tell by the weight of him, that before becoming sick, he was a treasured child. Clearly, his family had been able to provide for him. However, once he became sick, they had no choice but to leave him there. If he survived, the workers said the family still might not come back for him, because they wouldn't be able to pay his medical bills. So, he lay sick and possibly dying in hospital bed, alone. Not because no one loved him, but because real people were making life and death decisions about caring for their entire family versus one child. It wrecked my heart and from then on I was never the same.
The orphan crisis had come to live in my heart. I did what I could. I prayed. A month after I had my encounter with that precious baby boy. Marty was on the mission field in Central America, experiencing first hand what it was like to be born into a place where you may never have enough. God was uniting our hearts for a mission. Marty and I gave, we taught our children, we sponsored a child through Compassion. We dreamed about "one day" becoming adoptive parents. The seed had been planted and was taking root in our lives. God was preparing us to say, "Yes" when the time came. We didn't see it, then, but like all of life reflecting back, it was the clear hand of God.
We had grown complacent and while we were doing all the "right" things, according to the people around us. We had left our first love. Did you hear me? We were attending church, tithing, serving, teaching our children the Word, but we were not living our faith out in a meaningful, purposeful way. We began to struggle and to search. We had an urgency in our Spirits to find our way back. We knew something was off and that something needed to change, we just weren't sure. We began to search the Scriptures and realized we had bought "lock, stock and barrel" into the lie of prosperity teaching. We had looked away from the bloody cross of Christ and the scripture that tells us to share in His glory, we must first share in His suffering. If that's what the word says, then how did we decide that God wanted to "bless and prosper" us while others around the world (people we had met and ministered to, served alongside, people who so passionately loved Jesus) were not prospering. Man, God really began to shake away the sandy foundation.
Around the same time, He began to show us the orphan crisis, again. As friends traveled to Africa, my heart was torn. Did He want us to go? Could we go? Marty said, "No." He really didn't feel like God was leading us in that direction. So, we waited and prayed and then, I read a blog post. No really, I read a blog post that would change our lives forever. I read the story of a girl who had Down Syndrome and was about to be transferred to a mental institution where she may or may not survive the year. Thankfully, God had prepped our hearts. The children and I spent hours pouring over the faces on Reece's Rainbow, reading blog posts and sharing with Marty what we were learning. It took Marty two weeks to go from "No way" to all in, because God was clearly saying, "Go!"
We have two beautiful sons, today, because God planted and grew a seed in our hearts. We had no hesitation in committing to bring our daughter home, because we are, now, firmly planted on the "Yes" side of life. Yes, God, we will go. Yes, God, we will love. Yes, God, we will walk through the open doors and have open hands to receive whatever blessing you have for us. The Word says that children are a blessing. How many of us are rejecting blessings, while we chase after the world?
They need us, Church! The orphan crisis is our greatest opportunity to be Jesus here on earth. To see God's Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. If you're not a part of ministering to the least of these in some way, you are missing out on a blessing.
Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!
Hidden in Christ,