Please visit the New Horizons website to learn more. There, you can also sign up for a photo listing of the children who are in need of host families. The deadline for signing up is quickly approaching, so get on over there to check it out! Even if you don't feel that you can host a child, please choose 1 or 2 children and become their prayer warrior to pray them into a home. Prayer can shift the entire future of these children, so please take the opportunity to play a critical role in their lives.
Now, a little digging into my heart here...
Sometimes in orphan ministry, it just stacks up and threatens to fall on top of you...
I have a notebook I use every morning during my quiet Bible time, and inside that notebook, I have about a dozen pages with photos and information about some special needs children in Taiwan who are awaiting forever families. We were recently given the list and asked if we or anyone we knew would be interested in adopting any of the children. I looked at the photos and read the brief information, and I cried over the little lives represented on those sheets of paper. We prayed. We advocated. We helped link up one family with one child. And the other children's photos were slid into my notebook so that I could pray for them.
Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me an email that reminded me of the importance of praying for orphans, along with the information about the orphans from Ukraine and Latvia who are still awaiting host parents for the summer hosting with New Horizons. I pulled up the photo listing and scanned the children's faces...so many faces. I wanted to become a prayer warrior for a child. I ended up choosing a sibling group as well another girl. I looked into their eyes...half the globe away and yet vividly right on my screen...and I cried. I memorized their names and faces and committed to pray for them until their host families find them.
Then, in yesterday's mail, I received a letter from an orphanage in Haiti, with photos of their children who are also awaiting forever families. Row upon row of little faces. And, to be honest, I wanted to adopt at least half of them! And...you guessed it...I cried.
Sometimes the web sites are visited or the letters received, and I find myself with a growing list of children awaiting forever families. More faces, more lives...and more tears. The statistics roll in, saying that there are 147 million orphans in the world, a larger number than when I first stepped into orphan ministry. Sometimes it can threaten to overwhelm. Really, sometimes I have actually thrown my arms up in the air and said, "Lord, what can I DO? What is my role for these children??!"
Sometimes He opens the door to advocate. Sometimes He leads us to pray fervently for a few children. And one time, He opened the door wide for us to adopt. With 147 million orphans, our role is different with each child. Some are just remembered in an overall prayer, when one of our children prays, "Be with all the orphans tonight." Others specifically embed into our hearts, and we labor over them in fervent prayer until they are in their forever families. Some we have been able to take to McDonalds to savor the treat of a Happy Meal. For some, we have had the opportunity to raise funds for their hosting or adoption. We have made blankets for some, while to others we have given simple but much needed items like bandaids and antibiotic ointment. Some we have held and had to let go, while one we have held in our arms as we walked out of the orphanage saying, "You're ours now." It's a little here, a little there, wherever He places us...simply walking out each day, asking Him what He has on the agenda...and walking into it, no matter how small and insignificant it feels or how big and overwhelming it seems.
And again and again, He brings me back to what my sweet friend Kerry taught me ages ago: we cannot approach orphan ministry with a program. We have to simply rely on God. It is HE who places the lonely in families, not me. He will use me, and I WANT Him to use me...for praying, for fundraising, for advocating, for adopting, whatever He calls me to for each individual child. I cannot jump ahead of Him with human solutions or lag behind Him in disobedience. It's a moment-by-moment walk.
So, when the photo listings pour in and threaten to spill over onto every surface in my house and heart...and when I feel the overwhelming numbers beating down the door...and when I feel tempted to throw my hands in the air...I must return over and over and over again to His promise to place the lonely in families...in Him alone do orphans find mercy. The work is His. Let me be a useful tool, available for any job He chooses me to do, whether that means giving a Happy Meal or a forever home...it is HIS work, and I am simply His servant.
Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.