So, I had some interesting discussions today.
First, about orphan care:
For reference, please see these blogs from Gween Mangine and the Livesay’s (provide link)
Diane Pierce added these comments:
“After running an orphanage in Haiti, my heart broke for each baby or child whose mother wanted to hand them over. My heart also broke for each mother. At some point I realized I was contributing to the orphan problem by accepting these kids instead of trying to encourage and empower the mother to keep them. In Haiti it is seemingly culturally acceptable to give your child away to a white person or to an orphanage. Every single week I had mothers trying to make me take their babies. This is a very difficult issue and although I do not have all the answers for every situation, I have come to believe in empowering mothers and families to keep their own children. You may ask what about the kids with no parents and that is a different situation but the sad truth is that the majority of so-called “orphans” in Haiti indeed have a mother and a family. One of the problems quite honestly is that we think we can raise them better. I support and admire my friends in Haiti who are raising orphans as part of their family and doing a foster care type of service. I can’t help but wonder if there were no orphanages if maybe the families would raise their own babies. Incidently, the big organizations such as World Vision and Compassion are against institutional orphanages. Just alot to think about. No harm meant to anyone here.”
Second, I saw a blog about being “radical” and what that means, which concluded with the author saying: “Face it, you’re not radical, and neither am I” in reference to christians in the united states reading a book and literally buying into a “radical” movement without actually changing their lifestyle.
My response to this was that the author just isn’t seeing the right people.
There are radicals out there, but they don’t consider themselves as such. They are people desperately following Christ, knowing they have nothing else to cling to.
They are changing the world, and its usually as they are barely hanging on by a thread, but that thread of faith is strong enough to pull them out of the deepest pit.
These radicals gave up many things to go to places that are uncomfortable.
Some left good jobs as architects, contractors, doctors, etc to serve as shop teachers, agonomists, and foster parents.
Some gave up beautiful places like Hawaii and California, or even the proximity to great families to end up in places like Kenya, Johnstown, or Haiti.
But the thing that remains is that the moves they made were out of faith.
It wasn’t about a sacrifice. It was simple.
It wasn’t a radical notion that moved them. It was simply hearing God’s voice and following His lead.
Why is that radical?
My question then gets posed to you.
Assuming you believe in Christ, are you following Him?
When was the last time you asked Him for directions?
Where is the last place He lead you? What is the last thing He told you to do?
Are you still seeking out the next step?
See, the “radicals” I have seen, and read about (as I’m currently reading the autobiography of George Muller), typically were living in the dark. They didn’t know the “next” steps, only the one that God had showed them for today.
Maybe it was simply to pray for someone. To talk to someone they hadn’t talked to in a while.
I don’t know.
But, if God hasn’t show himself working in your life, look around and figure out where He is working and get involved.
It’s not being radical, it is being faithful, and you were called to a life of faith.
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving glory to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17
Now, surprisingly, that wasn’t the thing I pulled my computer back out to write after I finished my prayer time.
I got this back out to share a little more about orphan care.
I realized that in all my discussions today, there was something significantly lacking. The presence of God.
If you ask people to describe why they are starting an orphange, you usually get “to take care of widows and orphans in their need” (James 1:27)
That is a great answer. God calls us to that.
The thing is, He doesn’t stop there. We must keep seeking his face for direction of How to do that.
Maybe it is an orphanage, though I’ll admit there’s many reasons why I logically think they are not the best plan.
***Side note: The Hands and Feet Project is aware of the shortcomings of orphanages. They consider their homes a “children’s village” with the goal of the kids being raised in family units with haitian caregivers. Just to make sure no one thinks I’m picking on them since they are the orphanage I work most closely with. Also, Joy in Hope is a “Children’s Home”, also, not an orphanage, but instead most clesly resembling a “foster care” family, with the Mangine’s committing to 20 years in Haiti to raise THEIR kids.***
However, in all situations, we must remember that the ultimate goal is not to grow kids big, strong, and smart, and to have them go out into the world and make lots of money, or even help to stabilize this terribly unstable country.
The goal must be first, and always, the glory of Christ.
We must raise children to know Him.
We must raise funds in a way that glorifies Him.
We must have business relationships with the community that honor Him.
We must have integrity is all our dealing in order to maintain His integrity.
We come into whatever position we are in as Christ’s ambassadors.
I always return to the example of George Muller. He started many orphan’s homes, schools, and sunday schools, all while still running churches and praying that God would give Him more ways to minister.
He didn’t take out loans, because He was of the scriptural understanding that this would not give Honor to God.
He didn’t fundraise, because God would provide to God’s own Glory.
He didn’t even really set out to have an orphanage, but simply knew that God would want these children taken care of, so they could know the love of their heavenly Father, which in turn would bring Him glory.
To this end, all our thoughts should be centered on what brings Him the most glory.
And, as I don’t do “orphan care”, this still convicts me as well.
Everything I do is to His glory.
When I work on electricity, it is to His glory.
In all of my work, He must be first. The work second, and myself third.
I don’t always succeed, but I must maintain integrity to honor Him.
I must pursue excellence to honor Him.
I must be intentional to point the glory to Him for everything that is done.
I was asked today if there were chances to get grants to do the infrastructure work that I would like to do.
The answer, probably, but if God is to get the Honor, then God will provide for the work.
If the U.S. Government provides the money, they will also want the honor, and I don’t want to cut down on God’s glory.
This is why I don’t fundraise. If I fundraise, then I earned money to do the work, and it is partially to my glory. I have done nothing glorious. God has done everything.
I am woefully underqualified to do many of the things that have been accomplished, and yet, they have been accomplished well, to His Honor.
Let us never get caught up in the overanalysis of ministries without looking to God.
If each ministry looks to God for direction, and knows the voice they are listening to. God will take care of leading them in a good direction.
Please pray for each of us in ministry that we would continue to follow faithfully, seeking God’s direction that we may bring Him the most glory.
Please pray that we would be strong through difficulties, knowing they will come, and that as long as He is with us, there is nothing that can stop Him.