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Orphans


Much of what I write on posts such as this is simply me collecting my thoughts and corresponding resources with the added benefit of you gaining some insight into what has been grabbing my heart. I do hope that you are stirred to action, to prayer, to conversation with friends.

The second greatest commandment that Jesus gave us was to "love our neighbor as ourselves," and caring for orphans seems to be a natural progression in obeying that command. True redemption and hope comes through Jesus, I believe, after all, I am staking my life on that. But what does it mean for us to carry that message of redemption to a broken world? Does it mean we only tell people that Jesus died for their sins and wants them to go to heaven to be with him and ignore their desires in this world or does it mean we focus on meeting the physical needs of a devastated world, rooted in a belief that God cares about the poor, but we leave out the important message of hope that God has brought to us through Christ's sacrifice? I think not. I truly believe there has to a harmony of these two. Yes, we will fail in this world to further the kingdom of God in a perfect manner, but I believe that Jesus wanted to see his kingdom come to our lives on this earth before we die and that not only comes through restoring us to a right relationship with him here and now for eternity but in showing his love in tangible ways to those around us. He did say that "let your light shine before men so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." So, ultimately it's all about bring glory to our God and one way that we can do that in the here and now is to care for orphans. How do we do that? Well, maybe we can figure that out together.

"Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles..." James 1:27, NLT

"Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 24 of the 25 countries with the world’s highest levels of HIV prevalence, and the fastest growing proportions and absolute numbers of orphaned children. Between 1990 and 2003, the number of children orphaned by AIDS increased from less than one million to an estimated 12.6 million...

In five countries in southern Africa, 15 per cent or more of orphans lost one or both parents in 2003, the large majority of them due to AIDS. Equally high numbers of children are now living with chronically ill family members and will become orphans this year.

Even without the impact of HIV/AIDS, sub-Saharan Africa already had the largest proportion of orphaned children. In 2003, 12.3 per cent (43 million) of all children in the region were orphans...

Botswana has the highest rate of orphaning (20%). In 11 of the 43 countries in the region, more than 15 per cent of children are orphans. Of these 11 countries, AIDS is the cause of parental death between 11 and 78 per cent of the time...

By 2010, more than one in five children will be orphaned in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe."

-2004 UNICEF Report on AIDS, http://www.orphansinafrica.org/

"The time has come for all of us to see beyond material possessions and geographical boundaries. We must reach out with helping hands to feed the poor, care for the sick, and deliver a true message of Hope." -Larry Warren, African Leadership

Comments

o2thoughtful said…
Thanks for that - just came across your blog today and I have been wrestling with the same issue this week. People I know would say we're Christians, not social workers but I'd say how can we show Jesus love for people without loving them where they are? Good post, thanks again.

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