So I'm a bit behind... I've had good reasons--- I promise! Here is the first in a series of family updates; we start with Orphan Sunday.
My church, Desert Springs Community Church, hosted its first Orphan Sunday on February 20, 2011. We were blessed beyond measure with the wonderful groups represented at our church: YWAM/Ethiopia, Building AZ Families, Christian Family Care, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, OCJ Kids, World Orphans, and Sister Connection. Thank you to each group and person who made this day possible; it was an unbelievably important and special day to me. Caring for orphans occupies a major portion of my heart, and I am so thankful for organizations that serve so willingly.
I am also grateful to the Lord for the many lessons He has taught me through the physical adoption of children. It helped to prepare me for Orphan Sunday. One of the main lessons is not to have great expectations. That doesn't imply a fatalist attitude; it simply recognizes that God owns and controls everything. Things are what they are, and they happen in the Lord's time, not mine. He just asks for my obedience, not my perfect performance.
That being said, Orphan Sunday was a work of the Lord. It was what He wanted it to be. Whether it brought attention and raised awareness of orphans is not my responsibility. I did what I believed the Lord told me to; the "success" or "failure" of Project: James 1:27 rests on His shoulders. My main hope for this day was simply to instill some sort of awareness at Desert Springs of the enormous magnitude of the global orphan crisis. 163 million orphans. It's difficult to even process the number, let alone realize that each and every number represents a living soul--- struggling to live and breathe and survive. Sadly, I don't really know whether people in the church cared or not. Only the Lord knows.
One of the highlights of my day was to hear my Pastor preach on serving others. Hearing the Word of God... knowing what it says about caring for orphans and widows is critical to every believer. We simply MUST hear the truth, and hear it repeatedly. We must be encouraged to respond, and be given opportunity to respond. And we can't hear the truth only once a year; we have too short of memories and are too intrinsically selfish for that sort of lackadaisical approach.This is an awesome responsibility of church leadership. And when believers actually hear what God says about orphans and widows, how can any deny that this is a crucial mandate of the church? I pray with every fiber of my being that someone, anyone is hearing and responding to the call to rescue the lost. Come on, church!
On a lighter note, the other highlight of Orphan Sunday was simply opening up my home to others who love the Lord. I am so touched to have had the sheer pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of my fellow warriors, in particular Julie Gumm of World Orphans, Chris and Jeff Butler of YWAM/Ethiopia.
It is such a joy to meet others who give their very lives to serving the Lord through caring for His kids. You ladies (oh, and Jeff, too!) inspire me to continue on in the area of orphan care.
I wonder what next year's Orphan Sunday will bring?