By Nicole Leeper | Senior Director of Communications I've been immersed in orphan care for five years now - three of them spent working for World Orphans - and I'm still learning. At this point I'm convinced that God will be teaching me about orphan care for the rest of my life. He uses many methods and people to show me the intricacies of His heart for the fatherless: our staff, the Haitian pastors I've visited, our missionaries who take the time to message me on Facebook, His Word, our volunteers, the families caring for children, and the children themselves. There is a lot to learn and I'm thankful for the soaking I've been able to do.
If you asked me what pieces of knowledge have been the most valuable, I would respond with these 3 things I've learned:
- Orphan Care Belongs to God
Yes it's true. Orphan care does not belong to me, to you, to World Orphans, to UNICEF, to the western privileged world, or anyone else on this earth. Orphan care belongs to God. It's His. Every messy situation, every family coming together, every church at work, every little thing about it. It belongs to God. He is the One with the blueprint for orphan care. So where do we come in?
- He Has Invited Us Into His Story
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” - Philippians 2:13
As I stated above, God has the blueprint. So, what does He do with us? I often picture Jesus in a garage working on carpentry. I come along as a child and He teaches me how to build with Him. First he gives me a toy hammer and a box of plastic nails, patiently watching me and finding joy in my process of growth. At some point I graduate to a real hammer, and even though I miss the nails from time to time, He graciously loves me as I learn.
The way I see it, he's given some of us a saw, some a hammer, some a level, and some other supplies. He takes the time to patiently teach all of us about His heart for orphans and allows each of us to be part of the story in a variety of ways.
What tool are you in the toolbox of God? Maybe your tool is being an adoptive parent. Maybe it's being a fundraiser. Maybe it's educating caretakers. One of my tools is graphic design. I invite you to consider your tool. I promise that you are equipped with skills that God can use to care for those He loves. Ask Him to show you his blueprints and your place in His story.
- Orphan Care is Messy
"Everything stinks till it's finished." - Dr. Seuss
Ah, Dr. Seuss. This statement is true. It's certainly true in orphan care … IT IS MESSY. If you've ever put a solid foot into anything that deals with humans on a relational level, you know that it can be smelly and dirty. That is why I love that we can go back to the blueprint … the Bible...
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” - Romans 14:17-19
We know what the kingdom of God looks like, and in this we can find joy in the mess while we pursue, "…what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding".
Join us in spending time getting to know the blueprints of the Father, identifying the tools He's given you, and jump into the messiness with us, until they all have homes.