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Accept the challenge – make an impact in an orphan’s life

Churches across America and in other countries are planning special events for this Sun., Nov. 8, designated as Orphan Sunday to address a global crisis.

Reportedly, more than 147 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents, primarily due to armed conflict and diseases. More than 13 million orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.

More than 15 million children have lost a parent due to AIDS – a number expected to rise to more than 20 million this year. In fact, every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.

In the U.S., approximately 500,000 children are in foster care with more than 123,000 of them waiting to be adopted. Statistics show that children in foster care wait, on average, two years to be adopted.

Orphaned children are at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation and other abuses because they are likely to work in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade.

“Orphan Sunday seeks to make the Gospel visible as Christians explore and respond to God’s heart for the orphan in adoption, foster care, and global orphan ministry,” states the Christian Alliance for Orphans, a national coalition of organizations and churches committed to the Gospel and the orphan.

“Throughout the Bible, God shares His compassion, His love, and His special concern for the most vulnerable among us – the orphan,” their website states. “The world sees God’s heart when He works through His people to help the helpless.”

The Bible tells us that pure religion undefiled in the sight of God is “to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Isaiah 1:17 instructs us to learn to do good, seek justice, help the oppressed, defend the orphan and plead for the widow.

Caring for orphans and adopting these children represent our relationship with God. All of us are more like orphans than we may even realize. God sent Jesus into the world to redeem us, so that we might receive adoption (Galatians 4:5). When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted into the family of God.

On Orphan Sunday, Christians are asked to stand up and speak out for the orphan because every child deserves a voice. Churches are asked to have special sermons, Sunday School lessons and prayer gatherings about the plight of the orphan.  Go to orphansunday.org for resources and ideas for local events.

But what can you and I do to speak up for them? Support those who support them by showing foster parents and social workers your appreciation with a card of encouragement. Give to orphan care organizations. Sponsor a single child in an orphanage. Host a baby shower for a family adopting a child. Adopt a child yourself and give them a family.

Accept this challenge. “Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.”