Guest Blog today by Kelly McAvoy:
It finally hit me today. We all–you, me, generations before us, and generations after–have been looking at the statistics all wrong. We see “163,000,000 orphans” and think it’s impossible to move that number. We see “AIDS death every 14 seconds” and wonder why God would let such a horrible thing happen. We see “800,000 children in U.S. foster care” and wish we weren’t so helpless to the cause. We see all these numbers and more, when we should see the only number that matters:
We sat across from each other on benches under a tarp to hide us from the blaring sun, these families and a few of us staff. Worship music drifted our way from the church, and a few kids skipped by every so often. It was VBS, and in the heat of the day, we were happy to sit in the shade. I reveled in the families that God’s brought together through so many people’s giving and hard work and passion.
She asked my son an honest question, and he gave her a surprising answer: ”Noah, why is your mommy white?”
Noah’s answer was immediate and matter-of-fact. He simply replied (actually, not so simply), “That’s not a question that Martin Luther King, Jr. would ask. It’s the content of your character that matters, not the color of your skin.” Wow… (source: T4A blog post by Dan Cruver)
That’s a pretty powerful response, and I’m sure one that would make every multi-ethnic family glow with pride… this child gets it. He knows he’s loved and a part of a family – accepted for who he is. Skin color has nothing to do with it.
“Caring about orphans is a way to define your faith… It is the heart of God that we care for widows and orphans in their distress. Caring for orphans is a reflection of what God has done for you and me. We were vulnerable and helpless, and orphans are vulnerable and helpless.” – Rick and Kay Warren, God’s Heart for the Orphan
Yesterday, Americans celebrated Labor Day, a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It’s a celebration of the many people who have worked for the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country (source: United States Dept of Labor).
As I think about that, I think of the plights of the countries that we work in, and long for the day when Labor Day celebrations are something they can claim for themselves and their countries as well. Today, reality looks much different than that for many vulnerable children though.
Bethany* is the biological daughter of one of our Home of Hope couples. She’s got some pretty cool parents (who you can read more about here) and 12 older sisters who love her to pieces. When I think about the unique place she has in her Home of Hope family, I’m encouraged as I think about the example she’ll see in her mom and dad. I think about the things they’ll instill in her as she grows. And when I think of that, I’m excited, because generational change is happening right now.
We’re grateful for everyone who prayed for LSM in Haiti last week through VBS. It was a powerful week, and many of you walked with us on the journey each day of Bible stories, contests, games and lots of laughs. But as I sit here thinking through all of the moments from the week in Haiti, I don’t think of the education or the interviews or the giggles, powerful though they all were. I think about this picture of Polly*.
Less than a year ago, Polly stood here with her uncle who was caring for her in front of his hut. Falling apart, dirty, barely providing relief from the elements, the hut was no place to be raising an orphaned little girl. He knew it. And he wanted more for her. But on his own, there was no way he could do anything.
What an incredible week we’ve had! As the families packed up their things this morning, I think everyone was really excited by the special time we’ve had together.
There were some great ceremonies with special trophies for the family who won the Bible contest.
What a packed day filled with wonderful memories!
Today, many pastors from the Home of Hope churches came to Camp to share with us. Each of our Homes of Hope is connected with a local church close by. These pastors give wisdom, counsel and spiritual guidance to the families and are an intricate part of our work. We’re so thankful for them and for the time they share with LSM’s families.
Laughter is good medicine for the soul and we’ve got plenty of it floating around a little mountaintop in Southern Haiti… Here’s a few of the things that will make you smile.