Earlier this year, I heard Gary Haugen, President of IJM (International Justice Mission) speak at the Justice Conference. It was a powerful message with one statement that I’ve thought back to often. He said this:
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“Every child deserves to know that at least one person in the world is crazy about them.” -Michele Bachmann (Summit 9)
She said it, and immediately the crowd responded. I sat there, one in a sea of 2,500 conference-goers, pondering such a simple, powerful statement. And in an instant, faces multiplied in my mind – scenes of transformed hope.
Looking for something to do this year to get involved in the orphan movement? Want to dive into God’s heart for compassion and justice? Need information on specific orphan related topics?
If you’re interested in what’s happening in the world of Orphan Care and Adoption, here’s some great places to learn what organizations are involved and take the next step:
Do you know an orphan by name? Have you walked in their shoes for a day? What would you discover if you could? Some of us have had an opportunity to travel short term to orphanages and impoverished areas and seen orphans in dire situations. Others of us have seen the foster care system in our community and participated individually with children. Others have adopted these children into their families – all of which help us see the orphan in a different light as it touches us personally.
But we don’t care for orphans – visiting them and bringing them into our families – just because it’s a good thing. There’s a far deeper passion, vision and understanding wrapped around these actions.
“Love is a thread. Justice is a garment.” –The Justice Conference tagline
Think about that for a minute. If love is a thread, and God is love, then this whole ‘garment’ is woven together in love. And God is just. So as love and justice weave together, we have this beautiful tapestry of… God. I don’t know about you, but if God says that He IS something, then I think that’s something I want to be woven into too.
I love that tagline, because the visual of that tapestry of love and justice seems to marry those words in a beautiful image we miss too often. I’ve been thinking about that ever since getting home from Portland last week.
I was at this conference in Portland, OR with a co-worker to scout out some deeper ways LSM can get learn and get involved with people on fire for God’s kingdom. And through some great conversations with people we met, and tremendous theological speakers, I saw a larger glimpse of the Body of Christ coming together to weave a little bit more of the tapestry.
Sometimes, when we look at injustices like sex trafficking, HIV/AIDS, child slavery and extreme poverty, it can look like those broken threads could never be placed together again. But last week, we saw 4500 believers meet to try and rebuild some of those broken threads as we network and encourage each other in the work God’s placed us in.
And I think I can add something to the slogan. See, if love is a thread and justice is the garment, then I think we’ll be clothed in hope if we take on this garment. And hope doesn’t make us ashamed, because the love of God is stronger than that. He’s promised us that His way is easy and his burden is light. I got a wonderful glimpse of how much lighter that burden can be when we come together. I’m excited to see where this will go as we continue to dive deep into God’s ‘garment’ of love and justice.
We’ve got some events coming up in the next few months. If you’re around these areas, check them out for some great opportunities and ways to get involved in caring for orphans!
Empowered to Connect Conferences
February 17-18, Dallas, Texas and April 20-21, Denver, Colorado
The Cancer Redemption Project
In an effort to ‘redeem his cancer’, see what a young man is doing to raise money for 6 Homes of Hope with LSM in Haiti. Check out www.cancerredemption.com to see more of how you can get involved in caring for orphans through the Cancer Redemption Project.
LSM Indiana Annual Benefit Auction
If you’re near our home office in Bluffton, IN, we’d love to see you at our annual benefit auction to raise support for the ministry and come together for an evening of giving for the orphan.
Summit VIII (with Christian Alliance for Orphans) May 3-4
One of the leading annual conferences for adoption and orphan care, Summit has become a national hub for the “burgeoning Christian orphan care movement.” We’d love to see you in Southern California this spring for the event!
Keep Tuned for more on these events through the year:
LSM’s 10th Anniversary this summer
Together for Adoption Conference, September 14-15, Atlanta, GA
Orphan Sunday, November 11, 2012
November 6 is a big day for those involved in orphan care ministry. If you’ve been keeping in touch with us via facebook and this blog, you’ll have seen the promotional videos encouraging you to create an event within your church or small group for Orphan Sunday.
For those of you near the LSM home office in Bluffton, IN, we’d love for you to join us as we learn more about the Global Orphan Crisis. We have large walk through exhibits talking about some of the root causes in poverty and talk about what LSM is doing to place children in loving, Godly families. To see details for the evening in Indiana, see the invitation below. We’d love to see you there!
We’d love to hear what you’re doing to care for the orphan on this nationally recognized day, or let us know you’re coming to share the evening with us! If you’ve got a creative idea or thought, comment below about it!
We’re excited to work with passionate people like Dennis who helps organize the Annual Benefit Auction for LSM in Illinois.
It’s because her heart is aligned with our mission that Andrea rallied a group of her friends and decided to make a difference to impact the lives of orphans in Haiti.
Keep reading to see what they’re doing to advocate for the orphan…
IL Benefit Auction
On Oct 21, advocates in IL are hosting the second annual benefit auction for LSM. All proceeds from the auction are supporting the orphaned, abandoned and exploited children in Haiti and Ethiopia that LSM is reaching. To see more of what they’re doing, check out their Facebook page here.
A Night in Haiti
Andrea hosted a “Night in Haiti”. This evening included walk through displays, a Haitian meal, and presentation by LSM staff that offered ways for the guests to get involved by becoming monthly supporters of our Hand of the Shepherd Program. It was an energetic evening with a lot of smiles, learning, and culture! Not only was the cry of the orphan heard by this group, but there was a genuine response as people were immersed into “Haitian Culture” for the evening!
If you’re interested in hosting your own “Night in Haiti”, Auction, or other creative event, email Joe Gerber, our National Mobilization Coordinator at email@example.com to become a voice for the voiceless today!
I wanted to share a number of tremendous Adoption and Orphan Care conferences coming soon! If any of these come in your area, they’re bound to be encouraging and challenging times as we join together to care for the orphan.
Missional living, the Gospel and Orphan Care
Friday-Saturday, October 21-22
Redemption Church – Phoenix, Arizona
Saturday, October 29
Irving Bible Church – Irving, Texas
God’s Heart for Orphans
Saturday, December 10th
Green Acres Baptist Church
Senator Jim DeMint & Carolina Christian Alliance for Orphans
Tuesday, October 25th
Taylors First Baptist Church
Saturday, November 12th
Salem Church of God
“I don’t trust you. You will have to earn my trust.”
There was a wary look in her eyes, and her mouth formed a hard line as she said those raw words. It seemed by all logical appearances as if she should jump at the hope Annie offered her. But she didn’t. Not right away.
This young woman with hardened eyes had no one in her life that she could trust, and so when Annie Hilton came and offered her a chance at a steady, honest job, she responded with all the walls in her heart from years of pain and exploitation. This young girl articulated the fear and pain of millions of girls around the world who are trafficked and coerced into the sex industry every year.
I met Annie Hilton last week in a conference room in Wisconsin, and saw the love in her eyes as she told us of her and her husband’s daunting work in Sonagacchi, the largest, most infamous sex district of Kolkata, India. The Hiltons worked tirelessly to start up a business to provide alternate income for these women. Annie went on to describe the relationships and consistent lifestyle and display of love they showed to these girls, and finally earned their trust, one by one. Today, they have a thriving business called FREESET, where women are offered full time employment and dignity in their work. (To read about their story, go to: www.freesetglobal.com).
Annie’s story wasn’t the only one I heard last week. In fact, at the ICAP Conference (International Christian Alliance on Prostitution), I was humbled over and over again as I met people like the Hiltons from 40 different countries around the world. As I saw these people starting businesses and working to counsel and guide these broken women to free lifestyles, I became confident that the work that LSM is pursuing in Ethiopia is a deeply worthy cause. Praise God for the fellowship of others in this work who guide and encourage with such wisdom and strength. Through many believers, in many areas, trust is being built and hope is brought to some of the darkest places on earth.