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Our good friends at Show Hope are offering “Empowered to Connect” conferences in two locations this spring. Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child and a dear friend of Hope for Orphans, will be speaking on hope and healing for adopted children.

Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect conferences will take place in Dallas, February 17-18th at Irving Bible Church and in Denver, April 20-21 at Mission Hills Church.

If you have the chance, I encourage attending either of these events. More information is online at showhope.org/connect

Press on,


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Hey friends!

Here’s a list of San Antonio area Chick-fil-A’s participating in the fundraiser for Hope for Orphans this Wednesday. As I mentioned before, these restaurants have committed to donate all brownie sales on Wednesday, December 14th, to Hope for Orphans! Please tell any friends in the San Antonio area!


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Hope for Orphans is kick-starting a promotion with Chick-fil-A restaurants in the San Antonio, Texas area and we need your help! This fundraiser will significantly help Hope for Orphans continue to serve the Church and orphans in 2012. Please help us spread the word by passing on this information to family, friends, and those serving in the military who live in the San Antonio, Texas area:

On Wednesday, December 14th, every San Antonio area Chick-fil-A restaurant will donate all proceeds from their brownie sales to Hope for Orphans!

Stop by any San Antonio Chick-fil-A restaurant and pick up a delicious, moist, gooey, fudge nut brownie or two – or even a whole tray! And, don’t forget to pick up some extra brownies for your friends and let them know that a brownie can help Hope for Orphans this Wednesday.

Let’s help every participating Chick-fil-A in San Antonio sell out of its brownies by the end of the day on Wednesday!

Please thank our friends at Chick-fil-A for their generosity and your purchase will help us reach more churches to reach more orphans. And, feel free to forward this message, or post it on Twitter or Facebook. Call ahead to order your brownies or stop your local Chick-fil-A restaurant on December 14!

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Leaving Blissful

Until very recently, I lived in a place called Blissful. Just as the name would imply, it was a terrific place to grow up.

So nice in fact, that you may find it hard to believe that since I left it, I’ve never wanted to return.

Seems strange, I know. Why would anyone ever want to leave? Peaceful, prosperous…not perfect maybe, but what place is, this side of heaven? The people of Blissful care deeply for each other, and spend time together in fellowship (awesome potlucks), meaningful worship, and inspiring bible studies, youth group activities, & baby showers.

If you come from a place like Blissful, I probably don’t need to say much more.  You already know what it’s like.  A welcoming place where everyone is loved and cared for, warm and fed. Why would anyone want to leave Blissful?

Certainly not me.

No one has ever really wanted to leave this comfortable place. Well, Grace being the exception. Grace has always wanted the best for me, even though we don’t always see eye to eye.  For as long as I can remember, Grace took up residence in Blissful.

But you can count on Grace to always be on the move.

It should have been no surprise when one day Grace gently led me beyond the skies of Blissful to a place on the outskirts of the city. We climbed a hill so high that, from the summit, I could see farther than I’d ever seen before.

The view was not what I expected. I’d always known that other people didn’t live in places like Blissful, but I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared for the reality.

I saw was misery…everywhere. Destruction. Disaster. Death. Lost and despairing people. Ruined lives. From the top of the hill, to this place where Grace led me, I could also see how close the ugliness came right up to the grassy borders of Blissful, even up to the very edge of the city. So close…

How had I not seen this before?

Read the rest here.

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Fall leaves at Holt Korea

Molly Holt is a second generation fighter. Her parents, Harry and Bertha, were farming in Oregon when they heard about children across the ocean orphaned by the Korean War. They wondered how to adopt children internationally. They pushed and prayed. And prayed and pushed, til Congress and the House of Representatives moved, passing a bill, giving them the right to adopt. The Holt Bill of 1955 led to the formalization of international adoption in the United States.

Fast forward sixty-some odd years. I’m sitting a bus, leaning forward in my seat to hear Molly Holt speak above the traffic outside Seoul. She reminds me of my grandmother, but in a hanbok.*

We chat about Korean grammar. She tells me about her extended family back in the States. She misses them, but fits comfortably here, in her traditional clothes and fluent Korean. I’d seen that for myself.

I’d walked through the campus of Holt Korea, a huge complex of buildings and dormitories which is one still-budding fruit of Harry and Bertha Holt’s prayers. (In fact, they’re buried on top of the mountain where the campus is built.) I’d been hugged by some of the people who Molly serves—smiling faces with Downs’ Syndrome, or cerebral palsy, twisted joints and lists of disabilities I could not begin to name.

My heart hurt because that morning I’d held a baby whose complicated medical condition Molly summarized as being born with only part of his brain. I’d had my hands held, too, in the days before by perfectly healthy little children whose hope for forever-families was growing dim.

And I was impatient…am impatient…because God has not moved on their behalf yet. They are still waiting. As adoption in Korea is attacked by church and government leaders who oppose international adoption for nationalistic reasons, and as the orphanages continue to fill—“How long, O Lord?” is a prayer Korean social workers understand.

I ask Molly, “What is the biggest overarching lesson God has taught you in your years of serving?”

“Trust Him,” she says simply. Then she lists off times of God’s faithfulness.

She warns me against placing limitations on people. She warns against viewing them in terms of their mental powers instead as beloved people who carry the image of God. Molly tells me about her father–explaining that his Christian background wasn’t always devout; that God doesn’t necessarily pick people among the strong-and-perfect to show how great is His name.

But she comes back to the exhortation to trust, like the chorus to her song: “There were many times we nearly lost our ministry,” she says. “But God provided.” Trust.

It hit me while sitting on that bus, speaking loud over the hum of traffic, the life of the lady next to me is a living testimony. Holt Korea lives on the trust that God will continue to make a way.

Molly carries on a long legacy of hearts that have hurt with the weight of compassion, and yet have trusted. As a token of that confidence, she’s spent her life in the Lord’s service, serving alongside American and Korean co-laborers, watching and waiting for Him to move. In spite of the temptation to be discouraged, Molly realizes its an endurance race. Orphan ministry isn’t a place for sprinters.

Some sixty-odd years after an Oregon farmer and his wife began to pray, the obstacles to adoption in Korea have not yet collapsed. But with patience born of trust, orphan care workers still serve; social workers still campaign, and churches are arising to appeal on the side of children. The Holts are still there.

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Hope for Orphans founders, Paul and Robin Pennington, will be interviewed today and tomorrow on the FamilyLife Today radio show. We covet your prayers that the interview will be helpful to individuals hoping to start an adoption/orphan ministry in their local church.

Paul and Robin will be discussing…

  •  How the church can support adoptive families
  • How the church can get involved in orphan ministry

Find a radio station near you.//Listen online.

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Africa Bound

Shane and Mitzi McBride have been with Hope for Orphans for about a year & half, and during that time they have served with enthusiasm and unending energy. Their gifts and hearts have been a true blessing. So it with sadness for HFO but excitement for God’s plans for the McBrides, that we wanted to let you know of a new chapter in their lives.

Later this summer the McBrides will be leaving HFO to join our long time friends at LifeSong as Country leaders in Zambia. Shane and Mitzi have had a heart for Africa for a long time and the opportunity to be involved in the field with orphans is where they believe God has called them. We are grateful for all their contributions to the work of Hope for Orphans and we look forward to working with them now as partners in Africa.

Please join our team as we pray for and thank the McBrides for their service at Hope for Orphans.

Paul Pennington

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I see you there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now you are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

Phil Wickman

Sunday was Easter. Two weeks ago yesterday, my 6-year-old grandson Benjamin woke up, ate breakfast with his sisters and brothers and then had a “cardiac event” as the medical folks call it. Less than 15 minutes later, he arrived at eternity’s shore and full of faith. Ben had told his family several weeks ago that he was ready to go see Jesus. You see, Ben was born with single ventricle and pulmonary atresia. Basically half of a normal heart. But, the really hard thing was Ben had been put into the care of an orphanage shortly after birth. Fortunately he was born in South Korea and he did have a foster family. But Benjamin was not going to live long in South Korea. His best chance for sustainable intervention was in America. It turns out that God’s plan for him to have a family was in America too.

Our daughter Elizabeth and her husband Mat heard about Ben. It was not the kind of adoption most families, even Christians, pursue. It was a choice to enter into pain and even suffering from the beginning. The doctor here told Elizabeth, “Best case he will live to about 20, and worst case he will make it only to 2.” For a military couple with a biological child with severe heart disease and another little boy, this was a big decision. But as they considered the Spirit’s leading, they came to believe that not only was Ben “theirs” but that if they walked away, he would still have to face this road alone. For him to face it with a family and be introduced to Jesus, was their privilege. Later the Lord brought two more biological children to Ben’s new family; one of these also had a severe heart problem.

So it was that little Ben joined our family 5 years ago. More than once we were told he would not survive for 30 days. The Lord did not read that memo and Ben was here for another Christmas and birthday and another. He was ours and we were his. Robin and I have watched as our daughter and son-in-law have entered into what the Bible calls sharing in the suffering of our Lord. Along the way of surgeries, oxygen tanks and wheelchairs, something remarkable happened…God gave this child faith along with a family.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Ben believed in Jesus. He understood that he would not live long. He had such faith that Jesus would take him home, he even told us once that He would pick him up in a red car. We laughed, but listen to Jesus’ words: “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:3)

I was there when Ben’s mom, my first little girl, whispered to him, “It’s ok…you can go see Jesus now,” and because he was a little boy who loved and trusted his mother, and more importantly believed in heaven…he obeyed and his breathing slowed down and he slipped away. The presence of the Lord was strong. The angels were in the room. And a little boy who had earlier been released at an orphanage, left his family to join the family of the Lamb in heaven.

At Ben’s funeral, one of the Pastors made a wonderful observation. He said that this life is like the front porch. It is not the whole house; it is not even inside the house. Once we have been inside, like Ben, for the first million years we will look back at our time on the front porch as so very short. But, important decisions are made on the front porch of life here on earth. Will you change and become like a little child? Will you be willing to join Jesus in His suffering when He calls you? Will you see the lives of orphans with special needs and even terminal conditions as lives worth living, lives worth grafting into your family? Mat and Elizabeth did through God’s grace. As a result, we had a wonderful grandson who taught us that life on the front porch is all about knowing who is going to pick you up and loving those whom you can hug today.

So in the end, Ben’s story was not an adoption story. It wasn’t really a story of heroism. It was about a little boy that was really ours, who taught us in a fresh way how Jesus loved us before we loved Him. How it pleased Him to make us His real children, when we had nothing to offer Him.

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Laura Story

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George Mueller was a German pastor who lived in 19th century Bristol, England. He preached for Spurgeon and it is said that he inspired Hudson Taylor. He was also called to Orphan Ministry.He said that there were three reasons why he asked God to help him to help orphans:

“The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.”

Mueller would say that his life of faith was nothing but a work of God’s grace. The grace he was given for the faith needed to minister to orphans was a powerful demonstration to all that saw his work of the power and reality of God.

Of Mueller, John Piper writes: “He built five large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. When he started in 1834, there were accommodations for 3,600 orphans in all of England and twice that many children under eight were in prison. One of the great effects of Mueller’s ministry was to inspire others so that ‘fifty years after Mr. Mueller began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in England alone.’”

In Matthew 24, Jesus is asked by the disciples, “What will be the sign of Your coming?” Jesus gives them a list of things that will point to the birth pangs. But His comment in verse 14 is particularly interesting in the times that we live. He says, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.”

Just the other day, my wife and I were talking about days not that long ago when there was no internet, there were no cell phones, certainly no Skype video chat, much less a personal computer. But, in just a matter a few years all of this technology, along with “social networking”, has brought profound changes that in fact can and are taking this Gospel of the kingdom around the world. Just this month in Egypt we saw the incredible results of how technology and social networking can bring down a 30-year ruler in just 18 days. In fact, in Isaiah 19:2 we read, “So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; And they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom.” Of course, this passage does not necessarily connect to the recent events in Egypt, but it does show us that the Lord’s plan is unfolding just as He said.

Which brings me back to Mueller. We know from Joel that in the last days the Lord will pour out His Spirit in such a way that the Gospel will reach the least and the unreached. Perhaps orphans represent a major portion of that fulfillment in our time as churches across America and now in the third world are putting action to theology in the love for orphans. As the love of Christ is brought to orphans around the world, Matthew 24 is being fulfilled. I recently heard from a friend that Christians in East Asia are taking their very modest resources and reaching out to orphans and widows, investing their lives to touch those whom are Precious to the Lamb.

If God is leading you to be a part of bringing the good news to foster children and the orphans of the world, ask Him to show you how you and your church can be used. Pray that He will provide not just for the means, but also the power through His spirit so that the faith of others can be strengthened, just like those believers of Mueller’s day.  At Hope for Orphans, we are here to help you any way that we can. We have brand new resources for various orphan ministry outreaches. We have new tools and events coming to help you fulfill the calling you have been given in your church. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter.



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This Saturday night, at 8 PM Eastern, 7 Central, Fox Television will air Change of Plans, a pro-family, pro-adoption movie presented by Walmart and P&G as part of their Family Movie Night Series. Immediately following the movie, there will be a special LIVE 45-minute webcast, sponsored by Chik-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation, in which viewers can submit their questions about adoption, and a panel, which includes Hope for Orphans’ Paul Pennington, will respond.

To learn more about the movie, please click here. To learn more about the webcast, please click here. To share this with your friends on Facebook, please paste this link (http://on.fb.me/FamiliesForAll) to your profile page.

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