By Kathy Davis | Director of Wholistic Care

The New Year is upon us. Truly there is something refreshing about new beginnings and turning over a new leaf. For many of us, the beginning of this year will mark a season of healthier eating, regular exercise, or finishing a task that has long been left undone. Perhaps it's time to get our finances in order or organize a messy closet. Whatever the goal, there is something refreshing about bringing order to chaos and beginning again.

Photo captured by a World Orphans staff soon after the devastating hurricane in 2010.

For our friends in Port-au-Price Haiti, this new year marks the five-year anniversary (1/12/15) of a catastrophic earthquake that, in an instant, crushed the lives of over 300,000 people. They continue to begin again as wives were left without husbands, bodies were trapped under the weight of concrete rubble, and children were wandering the streets without their parents in a state of sheer terror. It was chaos. Haitians will never forget where they were on that dark day. Their grief is still heartbreaking as they reflect back on so much loss, all the while striving to rebuild.

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). 

In recent weeks, I have had the humbling privilege to weep with a friend who was diagnosed with cancer and pray for one who despaired of her own life in order that she might be free from pain. Certainly, there will be a day when pain and suffering will be no more but today is not that day. Until then, may the church engage and bring the hope of the Gospel to bear on the desperate cry of so many in our world.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:3-5, emphasis mine)

Me with a precious Haitian child soon after the earthquake.

Catastrophes, hardship, and suffering provide ongoing opportunities for the church to draw near and wholistically (spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally) embrace the plight of broken and hurting people. Whether in Haiti or in our own local churches, right in front of us are opportunities to show up and bring comfort, care and compassion to those in pain. Jesus, who was acquainted with grief, demonstrated great love, not just by the healing he brought but through the compassionate tears he shed.

People mattered to Jesus and he could often be found with the suffering outcast. I have found that the hope of Jesus is most intimately known, not when things are going well, but as the hearts of people are moved to enter into each others stories of suffering and pain.

"To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace." - Brennan Manning

As World Orphans anticipates another year of empowering the church to wholistically care for orphaned and vulnerable children, there is much work to be done. The relational reach of global church partnership is certainly resulting in the provision of food, the privilege of education and the blessing of emotional care for many children who have come from hard places. Because we believe what the scripture says about the church, the orphan and the expansion of the Gospel, we hold before one another, Jesus. He came, not only to save, but also to restore and heal. May we seek to do the same.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Over the next year, I will spend time blogging about the wholistic transformational impact we are observing in the lives of children who are a part of our family focused programs. I look forward to journeying with you, for in the face of so much need, whether here or across the globe, “to be broken is to stand in need of grace.”

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

To whom will you show compassion today? And, just as important, how will you receive the compassionate love of Jesus for your own, beautiful soul?