We care - but He cares MORE!

Prasie the Lord, Praise the Lord! Orphan Care Sunday was a SUCCESS!

Our children/family Pastor preached a wonderful message based on James 1:27, Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. He also incorporated the first two chapters of the book of Ruth, a beautiful story of redemption.

We have two goals for our Orphan Care Ministry.
1. To create an encouraging, supportive, prayerful Orphan Care Community for the families who are actively involved in orphan care, whether through adoption or fostering, so each family feels supported and understood as they walk faithfully and obediently through the daily life of caring for orphans.
2. To bring awareness to and educate our church body about the biblical mandate to care for orphans and the tremendous need for families to rise up and serve the thousands of children waiting for homes in our own backyard. Every believer is not commanded to bring a child into their home, but every believer is commanded to care for orphans.

The goal for creating an Orphan Care Community was accomplished in the first few months of the ministry's early days because these families are amazing and open and always the first to serve when a need arises. They talk, they text, they visit each other, they counsel one another, pray, babysit, and cook for each other - and they are THERE. Whenever a family needs anything - someone responds. Every time.

The second goal - education and awareness - was accomplished from the pulpit Sunday morning.
Jason, our family pastor, spoke boldly of the biblical command, the calling, the statistics, and the need.
And he did it with grace.

I noticed Dennis writing several notes in his journal during the message, and when I glanced over to read his words, my eyes fell on a quote he copied from William Wilberforce, the man who drove the British government to abolish the slave trade in 1833.
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” 

What a powerful statement!
Ignorance is bliss, but awareness = accountability.
The seeds of Orphan Care were scattered across our sanctuary yesterday, and it will be exciting to see what the Lord will reap at harvest time!

Our evening event was also a sweet delight.
We had young couples join us who are interested in orphan care, families who have already adopted children and want to be part of the ministry to encourage and support others when they step out in faith to do the same, one lovely couple who wanted to learn how to support their siblings who will be taking in foster children in the next few months, and a handful of older men and women who want to be part of our Support Team so they can provide encouragement and help to the families in their moments of greatest need. Such a wonderful combination of God's people!

Three of our current foster/adopt families shared their personal testimonies, I explained the vision and purpose of the ministry, Jason gave a wonderful devotion, and Dennis shared his personal adoption testimony. He closed with these words, "Provers 31:8, 9 says, 'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.' Someone spoke for me when I could not speak for myself, and I am forever grateful."

As we drove away from the church last night, my heart was full of praise and gratefulness to a God who can move the hearts of men - and cares for orphans more than we do. Thank You, Lord, for this truth! And thank You for moving the hearts of Your people to respond to the tremendous need to care for the thousands of orphans waiting to be taken into safe, loving homes. You ARE an amazing God!

Oh, and THIS! Our wonderful design team took all of the words we wanted to share and placed them on the backdrop of these lovely images of our own people in our church body. It is exciting to have an official brochure to give to people who are interested in bringing children into their home through foster care and adoption, or to those who want to encourage and support the families caring for orphans. "Visiting orphans and widows in their distress" cannot be accomplished alone. It is a command to the church - and a mission for the body. How sweet it is to watch members serve one another in this pursuit!