Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
My heart is filled to the brim and broken and bleeding, all at the same time. I have looked into the face of Jesus, and I will never be the same. I am so grateful for the high and holy privilege of serving precious orphans in China, the least of the least. They also happened to be in the same place where my daughter spent the first 17 months of her life.
It was an experience that brought tears, and joy, laughter and deep grief.
So much of the time in the adoption world, children are known by their label, their special need. But in the six days that we were at the orphanage, I saw past their special need. I saw these children in all of their preciousness, and I fell in love with each one. My time there seemed too short, and my heart longs to be back among them.
They are in my thoughts constantly. I wonder how they are. Did anyone get them out of their crib today? Did someone touch them, speak to them, love them today? Are they hungry now? Did someone change their diaper enough today?
These precious babies will forever be buried deep in my heart. I feel so honored to have cared for them, even if it was just for a few short days. They have done for me more than I could ever do for them. They have changed me.
Now when I read Jesus' words in Matt. 25:35-36,
"'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me',"
I will forever think of
...of little man who was snatching up all the stray noodles that had fallen from the spoon of another child.
...of Baby Hope whose body and crib hold her prisoner, whose clothes were so wet and who was desperate for touch even though she cried when being held and how she surprised us all, even the nannies, when she finally settled down and let out the most beautiful giggle over a crinkle blanket.
...of the one who was crying in seeming agony in his crib because his body could not function the way it should, but quieted when I sang "Jesus Loves You," and stroked his precious head.
...of sweet baby girl whose head was so large from hydrocephalus, who cried quietly so much the time, but was soothed when held so gently by our team members.
I will think of little Cindy whose mind was so bright but whose body was so weak and how we were able to shed light on her condition in hopes of setting her free from her crib.
and Roo, whose eyes would light up at the sight of her special American friend who adopted her for the week and who was so proud of herself when she counted in Chinese.
I will think of Smiley, who always had a smile on his face even though his arms and legs didn't move the way they needed to and left him a bystander much of the time.
...of adorable David who loved to be cuddled and Kasen who picked up toys for the babies whose toys had fallen out of their crib.
And so, now, when I think of orphans, I don't think of the huge group of 147 million. I think of these precious ones, the ones we held, the ones we kissed and snuggled, and changed and prayed over desperately. I cry tears for these precious ones who deserve so much but whom the world has seemingly forgotten.
But even though my heart breaks for them, they are not without HOPE. Although we had to leave, He is still there. He is with them, He is singing over them, He SEES them because
He is El Roi, the God who sees,
He is the Father to the fatherless,
He is the Defender of orphans and widows
He is the the God of Justice and
the One who executes justice for them.
And, so, I have hope.
Hope that He is fighting for them and Hope because He allows me to fight for them too.
Orphancare is not just another cause. It's not just someone's agenda.
IT'S GOD'S HEART.
It is His everlasting mission. It's the reason He came. It's the reason He died. It's the reason He rose again.
If we claim to be His followers, we MUST be about defending the fatherless, the poor, the oppressed because HE IS.
"A Father to the Fatherless, a Defender of widows,
is God in His holy dwelling."
James 1:27 says that pure and genuine religion is to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to refuse to the let the world corrupt us.
And that's the key.
When we care for orphans and widows in their distress, we are the ones changed. It opens our eyes to the unimportant things in life that try to consume us each day. It helps us to focus on what truly matters in this life rather than continuously focusing on ourselves. And that's why we must all be involved in caring for them.
There are many ways to do that. Here are a few ideas:
1. Adoption. It's an amazing experience. Here is a link where you can go for more information about the process.
2. Help another family adopt. Here is a link to page where you can donate to my good friend Beth York and her family who are bringing another little one home from China.
3. GO. Here is a link to a list of trips planned for next year. I would love for you to join my team next October going to China.
4. Support the Love Without Boundaries Believe in Me School that will be up and running in this orphanage hopefully by the end of December of THIS year (2014)! Here is a link to sponsor a child who is enrolled in this school.
Please listen to the following song as you look through the pictures:
And to my precious team:
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." Eph 1:16
You guys are 17 of the very best people on the face of the earth. I love each of you dearly.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
make His face shine upon you,
and give you peace.