I am entering my fourth year of orphan care ministry and up till now I have been fairly confident that my strategy for effectively doing my job was a good one. On a recent trip to Haiti God showed me a much better strategy.
My job with World Orphans is to bring churches in the U.S. into partnership with churches in developing countries to care for orphans and vulnerable children. As a result I have the privilege of taking numerous international trips with U.S. churches to visit church based orphan care projects. It really is a cool job that I love dearly.
After more than twenty trips I know from experience how easily it is to fall in love with the churches and the people you are serving along side of. It is even easier to become emotionally attached to the precious children you are serving. Employing earthly thinking, I decided it would be wise to guard my heart against becoming too emotionally attached to any one church, project, group of children, or child. I believed that by carefully managing my emotional attachment I could more effectively move from project to project facilitating partnerships that would enable hundreds of children to be cared for.
My self-imposed strategy had been working fairly well until a few weeks ago when God thoroughly wrecked my heart and showed me a much better strategy. It began with a four year old named Samuel.
At one of our Haitian partner churches I learned that Samuel was conceived by the rape of his mentally handicapped mother. His Christian grandmother would not allow her daughter to have an abortion and made the commitment to care for Samuel. Grandmother, her five children including her handicapped daughter and little Samuel were doing okay until the earthquake completely destroyed their small home. They are now forced to survive in deplorable living conditions in a tent camp. Their home is little more than fifty square feet of tarps over a mud floor with no ventilation except through the entry. The heat inside is stifling as are the smells of unsanitary living conditions that are the result of no water or electricity amongst a sea of closely built tents and hundreds of families in similar circumstances.
Despite the circumstances of his birth and his fragile family, Samuel is a bright little four year old who climbed onto my lap with a child’s word book. As we turned the pages and he made sounds as I pointed to the images I could not help but marvel that God had not forgotten this precious child. It suddenly dawned on me, as tears filled my eyes, how deeply God cares about Samuel. If God cares, then how could I possibly not!
My “guard my heart” strategy was instantly changed into a “break my heart” prayer.
Lord, help me understand how deeply you care for all the Samuels of the world. Break my heart, Lord for every child. Help me understand your love and draw on your power so that I can effectively do my job. Forgive me, Father for thinking that guarding my heart was a good strategy.
Until they all have homes,
P.S. If you would like to help the Samuels of the world please call me at 214-636-3887 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .