Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Orphan Care

Being confronted with another "imperative" a/k/a command from the Lord Jesus ----
The care of widows and orphans [James 1:27].

Some years ago -- we heard about the exciting work of The Rafiki Foundation. [Rafiki aims to help orphans and widows in Africa become godly contributors in their countries. Their mission is to help Africans know God by caring for and educating orphans, providing materials and training in education and Bible study, and giving economic opportunities to widows].

In small ways, we began to support the work of The Rafiki Foundation, believing it was good enough and pleasing to God. But the Lord has been, dare I say, on us of late - about our definition of "good enough."

This past year, the Lord brought a family into our church who had adopted a beautiful little boy from Ethiopia. That family's story and then dozens more of families who have or are in the process of adopting has been creating an angst in my heart. I wondered, if I miss the boat on something that broke the heart of Jesus! Was supporting Rafiki in small ways really "good enough"? I heard myself asking God [more like whining], "Is not our present involvement with widows and orphans 'good enough' Lord? " Somewhere deep inside, and not in a reproachful way but lovingly, His answer: "No... it is not."

If you have read my first blog, you will remember I am learning not to say "I will never, ever," to the Lord Almighty. But startled on realizing the Lord was calling for "more," I worried, "What if He wants us to adopt?" I felt, being a 59 year old grandma with a 64 year old husband, that it was perfectly sane to say to God this time, "I will never, ever adopt."

Though I did not verbalize it... in my heart my prayer was "Please don't say adopt." But I know the Bible...I know the Lord well enough that for anything, anytime He calls a person [even a "senior" person] to something, He will equip, for nothing is too difficult for Him. There is absolutely no excuse for disobedience when the Lord commands.

The Lord for His good pleasure brought about three families in our church to adopt [not us]. They are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia [one being the family I mentioned earlier who had previously adopted] while a fourth family is adopting locally, a special needs child. These families have sold possessions, cut back in spending, cut coupons, fundraised [i.e. garage sales, car washes], prayed [always praying] because they have taken seriously and gladly the command to care for orphans and widows. I read posted on their FB pages ...that they don't see adoption as being about "sacrificing....but it being about prioritizing."

So, though it does not appear God has adoption in His plan for us [no comment here], it is clear there is much we are to do and can do. We continue to support Rafiki and pray how God might involve us further in the future, and are and can get behind the families in our community. We too can sell possessions, cut back in spending, cut coupons, fundraise, pray [always pray]. We can contribute money, time, energy, be grandparents, encourage, be a voice [one reason why I'm blogging], help with child care when they travel to Ethiopia to go to their court and "Gotcha" dates.

Good enough? I don't want to ask that anymore...but only to wait and.... trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, but in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will make my paths straight.

John Piper said, adoption [being] the heart of the gospel and the clearest picture of what God has done for us, so it seems clear to me that my future blogs will include adoption.

I am looking forward to sharing a wonderful idea that two of our families are going to present on their blogs to raise funds to bring their children home. Perhaps you might like to participate. Stay tune.

In my blog list are the sites of three of our families who are adopting - Melissa [& Jon] Maser, Erica [& Dave] Shubin, and Rachel [& Joe] Walser. Visit their sites if you would like to know more about them and their journeys. You won't be disappointed. Maybe too, like me, you are an empty nester with heart angst regarding widows and orphans, wondering how God plans to use you in the winter of your years. Those years can bear perhaps more fruit than earlier years. Maybe there is a family or two or three in your own church community to whom you can get behind.


Erica said...

I love being able to "read" a little more of your heart I've grown to love and respect. God is at work in our midst. I too never want to say never to anything the Lord might call me too. (although sometimes it may be scary and down right crazy to the outside world) He is the great provider. All for His glory and our good. Its not about us anyways, we're simply vessels and He allows us to be used. I'm so thankful for you. My kids are thankful for you, we're blessed to have a Gramma and a Grandpa in the same area we live. Our baby girl will be blessed to have you.

I'm so grateful that you are on this journey with us. Partnering with us and loving us as well as our daughter the Lord even now has hand picked for our family.

Love you. (And Mr. Larry)

Rachel said...

This, to me, is the perfect picture of "bearing one another's burdens". Thank you for deciding it's as important to you as it is to our families to live out the gospel through these adoptions. You are a vital part of it! I love your desire to always be a part of wherever you see the Lord working---because you don't want to miss it!!! "Here I am---send me!" God is glorified.

I am blessed to call you my friend.

Kim said...

See here's the deal. I feel I have come to know you just a bit through the pictures Erica and Rachel post from Life Bridge functions. And I have realized how much I have missed a "Barbara" in my life. So glad I can get part of you through your heart via your blog. And...I am just across the state so we will no doubt meet someday soon. I will be one of the "older" moms with three homegrown and one Ethiopian princess. Can't wait to read more...

Connie said...

Hi Mrs. B - You and I should form the "adopt an adopter" by one, let's make a difference in the lives of the fatherless. So glad God has knitted us together in a strange sort of 3,000 miles apart sort of way ;-) Rich Mullins sings: "the distance just dissolves into the love". Keep blogging sis ;-)

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