There are an estimated 153 million orphans worldwide. Some of these orphans have lost one parent, some both, and some are “virtual” orphans that have been turned out onto the streets by their families, but all are vulnerable and in need of help. Without assistance these orphans continue in the cycle of poverty, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, prostitution and slavery that haunts developing countries. 1
James 1:27 tells us that “true religion is to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” This issue of orphans is deeply on the heart of God. When I think of how an orphaned child growing up sees his or her life and experiences real feelings of rejection and abandonment it breaks my heart. I feel this because even the small bit of rejection and abandonment that I feel is paralyzing and brutal to deal with at times, and I was not orphaned, but just let down and rejected at times by others.
As followers of Jesus we see that we were orphaned, and Jesus adopted us as sons and daughters of Him. 3 What can we possibly do with the situation of 153 million orphans? Well, as usual it just involves taking small steps of doing justice.
- Read a book on Orphans, like Scared by Thomas Davies to learn more
- Share this post on to teach others.
- Help an orphan in another country that your heart burns for. You can do this through Children’s Hope Chest.
- Look at the face of orphans differently, not as hopeless, broken abandoned kids, but as children of God.
On Monday, we were at Happy Tree orphanage in Phnom Penh. We didn’t see an institution, we saw a family. 105 kids, 35 staff and lots of laughter, smiles and hope. These children get their ARV drugs twice a day, at 5:30am and 5:30pm. They are fed well, go to school, have clean clothes and are being taught about Jesus. They are healthy, loved and paid attention too. The stereotype of the orphan and orphanages needs to change, it needs to be one of family, not of institution, adoption not abandonment. Hope, not as hopelessness. See the below images, this is how God sees his kids, they are not orphans, they are his.
Photo’s by Lindsey Brunsman at Happy Tree Orphanage.