Mr. Mark Interviews Alyson Walker-
“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27 HCSB)
Hi! I am a Preschool Minister in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my heart has been broken by God. In October of 2009, I learned of an organization called Sweet Sleep (www.sweetsleep.org). They provide beds for orphans and abandoned children. Before this, I was aware there were Orphans and aware that God loves them, but I never really thought about it or knew that it is a real crisis. They were not in my life or in my surroundings. That all changed when I went on a journey with Sweet Sleep in 2010 to Gulu, Uganda. My eyes were opened. I have since been to Cape Town, South Africa and back to Uganda with Sweet Sleep. Because of these journeys, my heart and eyes have been forever changed. We are supposed to care for orphans. In James it is not a question, will you care for them it is commanded “look after…”
So churches, we need to step up!
Sunday, November 3 is Global Orphan Sunday. Please take part in Orphan Sunday.
Below is a link to a short video and more information about this day. Please pray about your part in this.
There are currently more than 153 million orphans in the world, over 114,000 foster children eligible for adoption in the United States, and 9,844 children in Foster Care in Oklahoma. As these numbers demonstrate, there is a very real orphan crisis in the world today. However, where the world sees impossible numbers, God sees each beloved son and daughter crying out for a family. God calls himself a “father to the fatherless,” a God who “places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:5-6.) God’s heart is obviously after the orphan, not only in His passion for the child with no earthly parents, but also in His passion for each us, who were once orphans of sin, helpless and alienated from Him — and have now received “adoption as sons” (Eph. 1:5) through faith in Christ.
God’s heart for the orphan is clearly a reflection of His heart for the lost, the vulnerable, the suffering, those who are alienated from Him, and His passion to reconcile even the most lost and lonely to Himself. This clearly lines up with any church’s mission statement: introducing Christ, pursuing maturity and impacting nations for the sake of the Gospel. God has clearly placed a blessing on the church to reach out to those in need of families. The month of November (also National Adoption Month) is the perfect chance for us to avoid complacency in this call. It’s our opportunity to inform, motivate, and equip the church to reflect God’s heart for Orphans, ultimately expanding His kingdom and bringing Him glory.
The purpose of this Sunday and the entire month is to open eyes and hearts to God’s deep love for orphans…and for each of us. As a community, we will come to understand the needs of orphans and God’s intent to meet those needs through His people through adoption, foster care, mentoring, and global orphan care.
I would like to propose that all churches set aside the month of November to follow God’s call to serve the orphan. The following practical ideas are just some of the ways we could make this time not only important in raising awareness but also make it an effective time in advancing God’s kingdom:
- On the first Sunday of the month, celebrate Orphan Sunday with thousands of other churches around the world.
- Launch the Adoption and Orphan Month in your church with a sermon about God’s heart for the orphan.
- Play a slide show before and after the service featuring the adoptable children in your state o Allocate a percentage of the offering each Sunday towards a church-based ministry that deals with orphan care in one of the countries where God has already called us to minister.
- Each Sunday someone from your congregation who has been affected by adoption gives a short testimony.
- During this month your media team create some kind of display about orphans that will be up in the sanctuary/lobby area.
- Artists/musicians/writers in your congregation create pieces of art that will go up in the sanctuary that relate to adoption.
I (Alyson Walker) will gladly assist with this project in any way possible, and am serving as a local Coordinator for Orphan Sunday. I look forward to hearing from anyone about this awesome opportunity for your church. (firstname.lastname@example.org)