So something exciting happened to me today...Jody, another woman from church and I "unofficially" launched an "orphan ministry" at church today. So many quotation marks, such a small sentence, I know. It's unofficial because it's organic, it's a brainchild of us, it's without knowledge or consent from the church leaders. "Orphan ministry" because it doesn't have an official name but at it's best that's what it will look like, a group of people ministering to orphans.
Jody and I had started this ragamuffin group of fellow adoptive/foster parent people many months ago as a place to 1) get support for the process and 2) minister to orphans. For better or worse we dropped the second and dwelled, perhaps too much, on the first. I was getting too frustrated with that as, you'll notice from my blogs, I'm no longer okay with the plight of the orphans just because I brought one home. I've been submerged in Grace and I want to submerge the people who God holds near and dear.
Which brings me to...did you know God mentions the orphans, widows and strangers 60 times in the Bible. Wowsa. God is described as, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity. " Psalm 68: 5-6
So our "orphan ministry" has a "mission statement" (now I'm just getting carried away) of sorts. It's James 1:27: "Pure and faultless religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."
You know what's disturbing? I just came across this statistic. There are more than 70 million orphans in the world. At least 35,000 children under the age of five die every day as a result of malnutrition or starvation, and there are at least one million children currently suffering under the oppression of forced prostitution. At least 100 million children are involved in child labor, and 1.5 million children are currently infected with AIDS.
What's MORE disturbing? "A 2001 Barna Research Group poll revealed that evangelical Christians are less likely than are non-Christians to give money and assistance to AIDS-related causes. Only 3% of evangelicals say they plan to help with AIDS internationally as opposed to 8% of non-Christians. This is only one example of how Christians have let down in their love for the unlovely." Fields of the Fatherles, C. Thomas Davis.
Not one of those people stirred by statistics? How about this:
He was one of those statistics 4 months ago.
So was he.
And of course she did not know the words for mother or father but now not only knows the words, but the feeling, and the smell and the comfort of those powerful words.
I am so excited about this. My personality has always been what some might call "strong" when I get an itch...it's tough to get it scratched and I hesitate to even slow down. But I know God's timing is perfect and I pray we can reach even just one child, whether one across the world or here at home who did not know love but will find it in God's eternal Grace.
Stay tuned for my next post on what our first "activity" (I just haad to) will be and how you can help!