by Tracy Wilcox
At the Orphan Alliance for Christians Summit a few years back, a speaker boldly challenged his audience by asking, There are 165 million orphans in the world. Can you name five of them? At the time, I couldn’t. I wanted to know orphans by name, by what food they liked to eat, by their favorite color, or simply to give them a hug. I desired to do what James says in James 1:27: To look after orphans and widows in their distress…. I had the desire, but didn’t know where to start. The speaker suggested starting by making it personal – by seeing the face of an orphan and by knowing his or her name. For my husband and I, it started with adoption. We desired to bring an orphan into our home. We needed to make it personal.
Recently, a foster youth in Florida named Davion, visited a church and asked for someone in the congregation to adopt him. He didn’t care if they were old, young, or purple. He just wanted a family. He ended up with over 10,000 families inquiring about adopting him. Davion made it personal. What if we had a Davion stand up in our church during a sermon and ask for a family? Would you be inclined to answer his plea by opening up your home? All over the United States, there are thousands of Davions who need families.
My challenge for you and our church this year is to meet and learn the name of five orphans or foster care children. If you meet five new orphans a year, in five years you will have connected to the lives of twenty-five orphans. If everyone in our church took up this challenge and achieved it, we would affect the lives of thousands of orphans. Start with making it personal.
Here Are Ten Ways To Make It Personal:
1. Pray for them.
- Tape a waiting child’s picture to your dashboard and pray for them every time you get into your car.
- Pray for them in your homegroup.
2. Speak up for them.
- a waiting child’s picture and show it to other believers. Ask if they, or someone they know, would give this child a home.
- Become a court-appointed special advocate for a child in foster care. Visit NationalCASA.org for details.
3. Provide for their needs.
- Give sacrificially to our church, which supports many orphan care organizations.
- Organize a drive in your church to collect school supplies for children in foster care or shoes for orphans overseas.
- In December, support Bridges of Hope by buying jewelry and other goods.
4. Support those who are supporting them.
- Mow the lawn, babysit, or organize meals for a week for foster parents.
- Pray with them and tell them you appreciate what they do.
- Encourage a family adopting an older child by hosting a shower for them.
5. Protect them from harm.
- Become a foster parent or emergency foster parent.
- Raise money to build a children’s home helping to remove children from the streets.
6. Visit them where they are.
- Go on a mission trip to an orphanage on an ongoing basis.
- Be a part of Kid’s Club or tutor a foster child.
7. Give sacrificially to them.
- Make Thanksgiving Bags in your home group and participate in Operation Christmas Child. See the table after the service for more information.
8. Encourage them to press on.
- Sponsor a child, support them financially, and encourage them through your letters.
- Visit VisionTrust.org, Compassion.org and Hopechest.org to learn more.
- Become a mentor or tutor a teenager in a foster group-home.
- Help out with Kid’s Club or Royal Family Kids Camp.
9. Adopt them into your family.
- Give a child a home through international, domestic, or foster care adoption.
- Adopt a young adult who has aged out of the foster care system.
10. Mobilize your church for them.