Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why You Should Care About Starving Children in Africa

November 3rd was Orphan Sunday.  November is Adoption Month.  I can't decide if it's awesome or sad that we have a specific day and month to focus on these issues.  Are we intentionally acknowledging children, caregivers, birth families, and adoptive families?  Do we simply forget or ignore the needs of these families and children the 335 other days of the year?

Prompted by an e-mail in October, I asked if our church could take a few moments to pray for these children and adults around the world.  The numbers are staggering and it would be so easy to simply become overwhelmed and turn away.  There are an estimated 153 Million orphans worldwide.  Some of these children have lost one parent, some both.  Some of these children have families who are simply struggling to provide for them.  Each situation is different. 

Consider these 4 countries where members of our church have visited.

Democratic Republic of Congo:  5 Million Orphans, 20% will not live past age 5
Guatemala:  370,000 Orphans, 50% of children live in poverty
Uganda:  2.5 Million Orphans, Nearly 1/2 of these children are orphaned due to AIDS
India:  32 Million Orphans, Anemia affects 74% of children under age 3

We have a responsibility to care for these children and families.  It's not a choice.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  Matthew 25:40

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

These literally starving children in Africa, Asia, Central America, around the world and here in the US are beloved children of God.  They are the future of their villages and countries.  They are heirs to same kingdom of God that we wish to inherit.  They could be us given unforeseen circumstances.  If you were starving, alone, or struggling who would help you?

My only task that Sunday morning was to do a short intro to the video but I couldn't even manage to make it through that during the second service without losing my composure.  For anyone that really knows me, you know that I consider crying to be a sign of my own personal weakness and will avoid the acknowledgement of emotion at most any cost.  This issue is bigger than me or my self respect.  If me crying during the intro made you uncomfortable--Good!  (Be glad that you didn't see me bawling during the video.)  If the video made you feel convicted--Even Better! 

This issue is about children, each with a name who wants to be loved. 

For me, this is about Alejandra and Yire.  Our home is waiting for them.  They are part of the group that may never fulfill the dream of family.  Guatemala, along with other countries is not open to international adoptions.  With a relatively low domestic adoption rate, they might grow into adults at the orphanage.  Even if we are never able to adopt them, we will care for and provide for them.

This issue isn't just about adoption.  It's about the best interest of children, whether that means supporting the socioeconomic growth of families in underdeveloped areas, providing improved health and hygiene services, supporting legitimate orphan care ministries who are impacting the daily lives of children around the world, or opening our homes to children.

So I'll quit being embarassed and annoyed about crying in church this one time because we should all be moved by the needs of these children.

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