There is SO MUCH that I'd like to share about orphans and ministries to get involved with, both locally and internationally...
Have you a heart for orphans? We are commanded to care for them...
Here are 10 ways (and the scripture that supports them) that you can, EVERYONE can, care for orphans:
- PRAY: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. -Matthew 7:7-8
- SPEAK UP for them: Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. -Proverbs 31:8-9
- PROVIDE for their needs: If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food…and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? -James 2:15-16
- SUPPORT those who support them: …and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds... -Hebrews 10:24
- PROTECT them from harm: The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked. –Psalm 146:9
- VISIT them where they are: Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27
- GIVE sacrificially to them: Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:7
- ENCOURAGE them to press on: We urge you brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. –1 Thessalonians 5:14
- ADOPT them into your family: A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God is His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families… -Psalm: 68:5-6a NIV
- MOBILIZE your church for them: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. -Matthew 28:18-20
These are from the "10 Ways" list made by Orphan Sunday.
Loren Eiseley wrote a story about a little boy with the starfish... it goes like this:
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!" At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
Oh, how this story speaks directly to our impact on orphans! No, we cannot individually care for them all... but together we CAN, and when it begins to look overwhelming... remember, it made a difference to that one. And that difference is HUGE!
I want to tell you the story of a recent couple that went to Eastern Europe to adopt their son. It may sound strangely familiar... but no, it's not us.
J and G went overseas, had an appointment and received permission to visit with the child they've called their son. They met him, played with, and signed paperwork stating their intentions to adopt him. In the location of this child they would have to wait a week or more to receive a date for court, so the husband boarded a plane and came back to the US to await that date and return.
Their joy quickly was replaced by shock and fear as their dreams were brought crashing down. A year and a half prior a new document had been made about this child and in it many facts were misrepresented such as misspelling of names. This one document overrode all previous documents, and because of it being incorrect, this little boy whom the family had already named, had clothing monogrammed for, and had hugged and welcomed into their family... was not available for them to adopt.
The days were bleak as things were worked out, but in following what they believe God had for their family, this family decided to continue to expand their family on this adoption trip and determined that another young boy that would also be aging out of the babyhouse soon would be coming home as their son. Such a difficult decision, but it does mean LIFE for one child.
This little boy whose paperwork is wrong is now unadoptable. It's a sick and sad reality that paperwork can be what dooms a child’s future. But thankfully, we have a wonderful team in this country and they are working fervently to get this paperwork straightened out!! We hope and pray that this little boy will soon be available for adoption again and that he WILL be brought home!!
He has three things going against him right now, though. One is simply that he is a BOY. People are less likely to commit to adopting a boy, and I’ve seen statistics that suggest that more than 70% of the orphaned children are BOYS. The second is his AGE. He’s over 3, which makes him less likely to be chosen :( He needs a family that will not look at the birthdate and say “we’ve missed 4 years already” but instead look at his eyes and say “he’s missed us for 4 years already!” and bring him home. The third, is time. Because Joseph WILL be transferred before too long. We have a pretty good idea where he will go and it’s not a good place. BUT, it is somewhere we’ve had a successful adoption from! So there is still hope for him so long as he has life in his body.
Those 10 things that you can do for orphans, please go back and read them :) See what part you may plan in Joseph’s homecoming. This little guy is especially close to my heart because he is in the same situation my Sasha was in… but he has a second chance.
I don’t often fundraise long-term for specific children, but this one has me. Once a family commits to his adoption the process can be QUICK. Less than 6 months before he walks in the door of their home. And he doesn’t have a moment to waste… Let’s raise up a fund to help a family that desires to bring him home so that there won’t be any time wasted waiting for them to raise funds!!