The group that organizes National Orphan Sunday had a conference call today to begin their organization efforts for this year's Orphan Sunday events. The group on the conference call consisted of the state volunteer organizers from across the nation. I volunteered to share our church's story and our family's story from last year's Orphan Sunday. Here is what I shared:
In the fall of 2009, during an Elder’s meeting, one of our Elder’s (Jim Reynolds) suggested we begin some type of orphan care ministry at the church. He specifically mentioned several verses related to orphan care and also shared his personal passion. He also admitted that we should learn to crawl first before we could walk or run. He recommended that as a body, we should participate in National Orphan Sunday, scheduled for November 8th, 2009.
Jim volunteered to lead the S.S. hour and to share God’s view of orphans and orphan care. Another family also volunteered to coordinate some videos to help put the orphan crisis in front of our eyes. Two specific videos were the 143MM video and the “Treasure of Jesus” video by Steven Curtis Chapman.
The morning consisted of Jim’s S.S. lesson, a testimony by a family who had adopted two boys from Ethiopia, several videos, and a message by our Pastor. The morning didn’t go perfectly smoothly. As with any service with a lot of out of the ordinary details to work out, there were some technical issues. For instance, during the playing of one of the videos, the streaming wasn’t working properly. This caused the video to pause every several seconds. So, instead of a very moving orphan video, it was a video that was only occasionally moving, often paused, only to restart again. It’s a reminder that God moves regardless of our imperfections. His glory can be manifested through a worship service even when things appear to not go well.
My wife and I have been around many families who have adopted. And although we loved these families and their hearts for adoption, we never felt led to adopt personally. God had given us five beautiful children. We had never said “no” to adoption, we just had never felt called to it.
On that morning however, through scripture, testimonies, videos, and preaching, God spoke to my wife and me. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. It was as if we were the only people in the room. In my heart, the room became quiet, and we were joyfully responding to the irresistible call of His voice. As the need poured forth before our eyes, and His call to care for the orphan was shared, we realized we had so much to give. We had so much love to offer, so much joy to share, so much materially to give. We knew we had room for more. In the end, it wasn’t just saying yes to adoption, it was saying yes to God.
When we got home from church that morning, we talked and talked and agreed to pray about what God would have for us. Would it be financially supporting some type of orphan care ministry, or would it be adoption?
As we began to watch other videos of families picking up their babies in orphanages – the Gotcha videos, our eyes were caught by the older kids standing in the background. Our hearts were moved toward them and we were led to begin the steps of pursuing adoption.
Orphan Sunday 2009 was 8 months ago today. In that 8 months we have seen God open our eyes to orphan care issues in a way that we cannot turn away from. All of our adoption paperwork is now complete. We are now on the waiting list through our agency AGCI for a 2-5 year old girl from Ethiopia. We hope to get a referral call soon so that we can begin the two-trip process of eventually bringing a beautiful little girl to our home and to our hearts.
We’re thankful for the people that have organized Orphan Sunday because we know that God specifically used that day in our lives to lead us to adoption. We’re thankful for those who shared their passion so that others might hear the message and hear the need and follow the call.