The first session we went to was led by the V.P. of Lifesong. This is an organization that comes alongside and gives aid to orphans around the world, even giving interest free loans to families who are interested in adopting. Think of this verse: "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) Psalm 68:5 says, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."
Holy cow! So, really, how many of us are following a religion that God accepts as pure? How many of us care about orphans and widows? Proverbs 31: 8-9 says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Again, where do we fall in these commands?
The statistics we were given made me sick to my stomach. I'm not able to write them all down as I would like because they're on our other computer. But there is so much going on in the world that we don't even realize. Have you heard of child trafficking? Where children are lured by being promised that they will have fine jobs and earn money for their family and then the girls end up being forced into prostitution and boys are modern day slaves? Do you know that slavery is more prevalent today than it was during the Civil War? As I write this, I just want to scream,
WHY DOES NO ONE CARE?
I think the saddest thing was only having five people sit in on this particular session. The next day, the session was canceled because so few were interested. You can bet the church growth sessions were filled to the brim though! It's very obvious, as Christians even, where our hearts lie. I was angry walking out of that room. Angry at all of us who say we want to live like Jesus and then keep striving for more, more, more. If I look at the verse from James again, I see how we've been polluted by the world to neglect the orphans and widows and to think of ourselves and our own gain instead.
Now, I'm not perfect in this either. I do happen to have a heart for adoption and I am finding that part of God's purpose in my life is to be an advocate for orphans. That's why I'm so passionate and probably coming off as rude, which I apologize for (sort of). My dream is to adopt a little girl from Thailand, where it is the highest percentage of child trafficking. How amazing to rescue someone from that life! But just because God has called me to actually adopt and He may not have called you to do that, it doesn't mean that those who aren't called to adopt can just sit back and ignore what's going on. If you feel you can, then I would encourage you to go back and read the above verses. There are so many ways to be an advocate for orphans. Just learning the facts and talking about them will enlighten people and perhaps spur them on to find out more about how they can help.
Even with my passion for orphans, I still live life with blinders on, focusing on only my kids and my family's needs. It isn't that my family isn't important and should take a back seat, but I can't ignore what's happening anymore. I've been told that we just need to "take care of our own first" - meaning, we need to pay attention only to ourselves and America. I would argue though, that I don't think God looks at us and sees America here and Haiti there and China over there. I think He looks at us and sees us all as children. He has given us the opportunity, the command - the privilege - to care for each other. Why should it be different when we cross a border line?
I'm not sure if all of this is coming together the way I hope it would. I was intending to write about the entire conference, but obviously, this is something I needed to get off of my chest. I will write about the other sessions another time and I promise it won't be as heavy! Until then, will you do something? Will you set aside the American way and go beyond yourself to see the needs of the world around you? This is the challenge I'm making for myself too. I hope I'll see you on the journey with me!