Wrap your arms around a child today by Emily Hilburn - Mobilization Coordinator, J117/World Orphans


Eddie is a small boy in a government orphanage in Uganda.  Eddie isn’t his real name.  I haven’t changed his name for protection reasons, I’ve given him a name because no one knew his name.  Eddie walked up to me the moment I walked through the gates that morning.  His petite, dark features were beautiful and yet he never once smiled.  He took my hand and from that moment he had my heart as well.  When I asked the caretakers his name, they said they didn’t know.  When I asked the other children, they didn’t know either.  I asked him and he wouldn’t speak a word.  I eventually called him Eddie because he stands back and watches others interact, the same way my Pappa used to.  No one knew Eddie’s story, no one knew why he was there except that he seemed to have no where else to go.  He was one of too many, He was lost in the crowd and it would probably not be noticed if he was there or not.

Dorcas has been abandoned by her mother.  She’s three years old and you can’t explain to her why her mother left, she just knows she’s gone.  She attached herself to one of our short term team members and when we left, it was a very tearful goodbye.  But Dorcas’ story differs from Eddie’s.  Dorcas has a name that people know.  She isn’t lost in the crowd because she has a church family that loves her, that cares for her.  They provide for her, not only physically but spiritually and emotionally.  They love her and call her by name.  They notice when she is having a particularly difficult time and they comfort her.  She is still an orphan, but she is an orphan who has been adopted into a family of faith.

See the difference when the body of Christ steps in and fulfills their calling?  An orphan has a name, she is loved, cared for and pointed towards a God who loves her infinitely more than anyone here on earth ever could.  What a difference from the life Eddie will have.  Yes, Eddie will have a roof over his head and yes, Eddie will eat some of the time.  But what will happen to Eddie as a result of being lost in the crowd?  My heart aches when I see his face.  He not only represents so many orphans in this world who are not told that they are valued by an ever-present God, but he is an individual child I long to wrap my arms around and tell this truth until I know he understands.  I can’t wrap my arms around every orphan in this world, but the church can.  Will you wrap your arms around a child today?

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