This morning I made a special point to say a prayer for the hundreds of orphans in the U.S., Russia, Romania, Latvia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and Kenya that have touched my life the past 10 years. As I finished my prayer I felt a tug on my heart, obviously from the Holy Spirit, asking me why I need a “special day” to lift these beautiful children up in prayer. In the same light, why do we have to set aside one Sunday as “Orphan Sunday?” Yes I understand the need to draw attention to the enormous needs; however, what if we focused the same attention every Sunday, or even better, everyday? If we made the same effort 365 days a year we might not have the need for a focus day.
However, since today is Orphan Sunday I thought I’d end with a very thought provoking interview. Several years ago I was honored to meet a 25 year old orphan graduate by the name of Valentine. He had lived in the orphanage since he was 10 months old. While sharing lunch with Valentine, a fellow trip participant and Moody Broadcaster Dave Jolly interviewed him.
Dave Jolly: What was it like growing up in an orphanage?
Valentine: Life was very hard in the orphanage. The bigger kids make the rules in the orphanage. They tell the younger ones what to do and what not to do. I was forced to do things I did not want to do and I was beaten numerous times.
Dave: When did you first remember things changing?
Valentine: Up until the age of 17 I did not know what it was like to be loved. This changed when an American team visited my orphanage. At first it was very strange for me. I had lived my life in a certain way but this team showed me something different. They showed me what love was. I asked the Americans what made them so happy. They told me about Jesus. This is what made the difference in their lives. I wanted to feel the way they did. From that day on my life changed. It was something very good for me. I told this to all of my friends in the orphanage. Many denied it but many wanted to know more about it. I taught them about Jesus and it made a difference in their lives too.
Dave: How do you view hope?
Valentine: My life with Jesus is different. I can feel joy and I’m happy. It is a big difference from how I lived in the past and how I live now. I now have a purpose in my life.
Dave: As someone that grew up and graduated from an orphanage what do you think all orphans need?
Valentine: I’m thinking of me when I was their age. They need to be loved. They live in a place where no one cares about them. They are not shown love. They need someone to show them love.
Dave: Upon my return I will be sharing your story with other Americans. Is there anything you would like me to tell them?
Valentine: Pray that God will send people to the orphanage to make a difference in their life like the American team did in my life. This is my prayer request.
In his most recent book on prayer Phillip Yancey warns that “Unanswered prayers pose an especially serious threat to the faith of trusting children.” In a world full of pain, suffering, and an endless search for love, prayer may be all these children have. I don’t know about you, but I lose sleep at night thinking about the thousands, if not millions of children that are praying for help. Jesus himself said in Matthew’s gospel, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” If we are not helping answer these prayers, then maybe, just maybe, we are hindering them from coming to know Him. So, I pose the question to you. What can we do to help answer these prayers?
If you have an interest in working in an orphanage or if you want to travel to Romania to work with at-risk children shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If nothing else, lift up a prayer for Valentine and the 150 million orphans around the world. Aspire to new heights.
6 days ago