Being a World Changer.

Creating families. Loving orphans.

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Let’s chat about this idea of being a world changer.  It’s trendy these days, but what makes someone a world changer?

Eugene Cho made this statement recently, “I’m convinced that this might be the most overrated generation…We might be more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world.”

Truth.

1. World Changers are passionate.

Changing the world is not a hobby.  Abraham Lincoln did not contemplate ending slavery in his spare time.  Mother Teresa did not serve the poor when she had a free Saturday. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t send an occasional tweet about civil rights.  This is a lifestyle.  It’s living and breathing a passion for seeing {insert social issue} eradicated.  World changers wake up thinking about it, feel it creep into their thoughts during the day, and go to bed dreaming of a world without it.

2. World Changers…

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A Clear Vision

As I work on creating a clear vision for the future of Kupenda 127, my research has led me to many other amazing organizations doing phenomenal things.  I wanted to share some of these encouraging stories with you.  In the very near future, we will be releasing our vision for where we are headed.

Have you heard of Project 127?  They are out of Colorado and have made it their goal for Colorado to have no waiting children.  In 2007, there were more than 800 children waiting in foster care…today there are none.  Their mission is spreading…check out this awesome  news slip and article about what Arizona is doing to continue the mission.

This movement has also spread to Fresno, California.  Christian Alliance for Orphans has highlighted this program in a great blog that you can read here and here.  Or you can check out the full article from Christianity Today here.

And even right here in the Pacific Northwest, the least churched region in America.  CAFO also wrote a blog on the awesome upcoming events and programs in Oregon and Washington.  You can check that out here.  I am part of the planning for the Spokane Orphan Summit.  If you are in the Spokane area, I strongly encourage you to attend.  Portland churches are supporting their foster community, read this encouraging article here.

And finally, a video about a family who adopted 5 siblings from Peru.  While today’s post has been mostly about domestic programs and movements, our heart is for the orphan — no matter where they are from.  And this video is encouraging too, because domestically most waiting children are older and have siblings…  And we need families to step up and take in these kiddos too.

I hope these videos and articles encourage and inspire you.  If you would like to partner with us in some way, please contact me.  And please be praying for us and we move through the next weeks of changes and new exciting happenings.

The Most Vulnerable of All

Today there are 140 – 210 million orphans in the world.  You can check out past posts for more statistics — here and here.

Today I want to focus on a special number of these.  According to Avert, at the end of 2010 there were 3.4 million children living with HIV/AIDS around the globe.  90% of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa’s struggle with the AIDS virus has caused a lot of fear in people.  There has been a lot of work done to educate the African people about AIDS and HIV…how it is spread, how it is prevented, and other facts about the virus.

However, fear remains.  This fear results in children who are orphaned and have HIV being shunned, sent to special orphanages, and avoided.

Project Hopeful has done some outstanding work in advocating for these orphans.

{Photo courtesy of MorgueFile}

These children are unlikely to be placed in families in their home countries.  They are often not able to access the anti-retro viral medications that they need.  And they often will not get the care they need because of limited resources and the belief that healthier people should get the resources.

Their best hope for the future is adoption.  And often, because of our own fear and lack of education, we pass them by as well.

There has never been a transmission of the virus between family members in a normal household setting.

These children have the possibility of living long, happy, fulfilling lives through adoption.  With the right medications, the virus can become nearly undetectable.  It is a chronic, yet manageable disease.

I encourage you to check out:  Positively Adopted, Reece’s Rainbow, Rainbow Kids, andProject Hopeful.

And I hope to begin featuring a special kiddo in need of a loving home here weekly, specifically focusing on those with HIV/AIDS.

You have the power to make a difference in the life of a child.

Adoption. God’s Heart for the Fatherless.

National Adoption Day.

So, I can’t remember if I shared this before on here, but I am adopted.  You can imagine then, I think adoption is pretty amazing.  It completely changed my life and rewrote my story.  Someday maybe I’ll share more of my story or if you would like to know more, send me a message…I love to talk about the miracle of my adoption.

And someday (hopefully sooner rather than later), I want to adopt.  I think that my family would not be complete without an adopted child, I believe that God has pressed upon my heart that somewhere out there is a child that was meant to call me “Mommy.”  A child who needs love and family and I can’t wait to meet them.

I have been studying the theology of adoption.  It’s been life changing.  In the adoption world, there is a lot of heated debate on both sides.  The concern of baby-selling, coercion, and exploitation.  The other side concerned about institutionalization, neglect, and an unloved/unwanted child.  And I think both sides are concerned with all of the above…it really comes down to what’s more important and those answers vary.

I think all sides have good points.  Important points.  But I believe that God’s heart is for the Fatherless.  And that He specifically equipped His church to look out for them.  I personally think government has a lot of roles (more on this another day) but that some roles that the government has taken on would be better left to the Church.  But the Church needs to stand up and take back what was given to us by God…a calling to protect the Fatherless, to look after the orphans and the widows in their distress.

Church, we need to stand up.  We cannot sit idle while children go to bed hungry and feeling unloved.  We cannot rest until there is no child uncared for in the world.  Get involved, do SOMETHING.  You can do something wherever you are, with however many (or few) resources you have.

Let’s make National Adoption Day 2013 even bigger!  You have 365 days.  Use them wisely.

Tangible Ways.

There are a lot of ways to serve these kids.  Some are bigger and require a huge commitment, others are smaller.  It’s important to remember that not everyone is called to adopt or work in the developing world, there is so much that you can do right now, right where you are.

Of course, there are the basics that we think of when we think of orphan care.  And these are very important.

  • Adopt a child.
  • Become a foster parent or an emergency foster parent.
  • Volunteer or go on a mission trip to an orphanage overseas.
  • Donate to a reputable ministry or agency who works with orphans.
  • Pray for them.

However, if those are not a possibility in your life right now, there are a lot of creative ways to serve.

To serve local children in foster care:

  • Bring a foster family a meal (or two).
  • Offer to help a foster family with house cleaning, yard work, or shoveling their walk when it snows.
  • Pray for them.
  • Hold a food and necessities drive for the families in your area.
  • If there is a group home, find out if you can hold a game night.
  • Hold a play date for foster families to get together with you and some of your friends.
  • Become a mentor, informally or formally.
  • Become a CASA volunteer.
  • Regularly encourage families who are fostering – send them a card, give them a call, let them know that you are there for them.
  • Become a tutor for a foster child.

To serve in the Church:

  • Coordinate an event for Orphan Sunday (November 3, 2013).
  • Start an orphan care ministry at your church.
  • Plan an event to educate and encourage your church (Faultless is a great movie to show.)
  • Organize a prayer summit for members of your church and community.  Get serious about praying for orphans.

Educate yourself and your community:

  • Learn some of their stories.  Talk to foster or adoptive families about their children’s past.
  • Talk to your children about the importance of orphan care.
  • Host an event and show the movie Faultless.
  • Read Reclaiming Adoption, Kisses From Katie, The Hole in Our Gospel, Crazy Love, just to name a few.
  • Network through social media.
  • Check out great organizations and get involved with them.  (Some great ones are: Lifesong for Orphans, Christian Alliance for Orphans, Together for Adoption.)

Support those who are adopting:

  • Throw them a shower, even if the child is an older child.
  • Offer to babysit so the pa.rents can enjoy some down time.
  • Pray for them

Other good ideas:

  • Reach out to a child who has “aged” out of the system and become a mentor and a friend.
  • Connect with grandparents raising their grandchildren.
  • Let those who are working on the “front lines” of orphan care know that you are thinking of them and keeping them in prayer.