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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

This week, Hope for Orphans’ Executive Director, Paul Pennington, will be delivering one of the keynote addresses at The Baby Conference: A Historic Family Summit on the Triumph of Life over the Culture of Death.

The Baby Conference, sponsored by Vision Forum Ministries, will bring to light issues that are pervasive in today’s pro-choice world.  Is it excessive to have 4 children in today’s world?  Is it right to bring a child into this world without being able to provide a $150,000 college fund?  Are children indeed a blessing from the Lord?  The Bible says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3).  The next two verses continue, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

The Baby Conference is centered on the celebration of life — the life that we are called, as followers of Christ, to enjoy and cherish and honor.  All life is to be valued.  All of us — the orphan, the widow, the stranger – are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image of God.  This conference will take a hard look at Scripture and will demonstrate, among other things, how adoption and orphan care fit within the church’s responsibility to what God has called us to do.

Join us, along with Doug Phillips and Jim Bob Duggar, on July 8 -10 in San Antonio for this challenging, yet fresh perspective on how we to look at human life biblically, in a post-modern, pro-choice world.

To learn more about the issues and topics that will be discussed, or to register for this event, please click here.

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(The following comes from our June 2010 E-Newsletter. You may subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter by clicking here.)

Some of the very best things in my life have happened as a result of some of the hardest things in my life. There was a day that Robin and I learned that we had lost a baby and the ability to ever have a biological child short of in-vitro fertilization. It was a hard day. It was hard to pray or understand. But little did we know that as this was happening a little girl was soon to be born. This little girl was our daughter Kit whom God brought to us just 6 months later. Not only was she a gift we could not have imagined, but also through her, the Lord led us to more of our children, some born on the other side of the world, and ultimately to this ministry.

In his new book about Ruth, A Sweet and Bitter Providence, Pastor John Piper shares a quote from William Cowper, an 18th century poet and hymn writer:

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.”

Joseph experienced this frowning providence when his brothers sold him into slavery. But as you know, God knew this very act would bring about the rescue of those same brothers from famine and His grace would be demonstrated through the centuries like a chain in His word to us in the 21st century.

Every adoption begins in hurt of some kind. Sometimes being the parent of a child through adoption involves a lot of hurt. We all come from a hard place because of the first Adam’s fateful choice in the garden. Thankfully, the second Adam also made a choice in a garden, a choice not to save Himself, a choice made so that we might receive adoption as sons of God through Him.

As we consider with eyes wide open the road of adoption and loving the fatherless, let us remember why Ruth the Moabitess was able to say to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17 that she would follow her from all that was familiar and safe…how she committed herself to this widow to the point of saying that Naomi’s God would be her God and Naomi’s people her people.

Ruth was grafted into this family and met her kinsman redeemer because as Piper says, “Here we have a picture of…faith in God that sees beyond present bitter setbacks. Freedom from the securities and comforts of the world. Courage to venture into the unknown and the strange. Radical commitment in the relationships appointed by God”. In this case, a relationship that led to line of David and The Messiah.

May those called to adopt, or to love a foster child, or to serve churches overseas in loving orphans be likewise radically committed to the relationships appointed by God for them. May we see the world as the work of God, and that we are privileged and blessed to be invited to join Him in His work. May we see God who sometimes uses frowning providence in bringing about His will, as the very One in whom we will very soon see His smiling face.

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This post was written by Missy Leventhal – wife of HFO Ops guy David Leventhal.  Missy & David have four children and are in the process of adopting their second child from China (a three year old little boy).  Missy recently reflected on what she’s learned through the waiting process.  Missy does her blogging at www.theleventhals.com & her Twittering at @missyleventhal.

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I’ve had several people ask me recently how I’m doing with the wait.  So far I think I’m doing pretty good.  We’ve had enough to distract us with buying a new house and preparing to move, along with the normal hustle and bustle of keeping up with the other four, that I haven’t had much time to sit and think about the wait.  Don’t get me wrong, I think about my boy often!  I’ve just done a better job this time around not letting the wait control me.

I’ll explain…

As we got to this point with Abigail’s adoption I was consumed by blogs and yahoo groups.  I would check them multiple times throughout the day to see if any of the families ahead of us in the process had gotten word of travel approval.  I would get caught up in this cyberworld and WASTE hours upon hours glued to my computer. Daily.

It was not good.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with blogs or yahoo groups…I obviously have a blog and I still participate in a yahoo group.  They are great outlets and great sources for support.  However, when you are so consumed by them that you can’t even step away to play with the children already in your home, or when they stir up anxiety and anxiousness it’s just not good.

Also, the first time around I feel I fantasized about Abigail quite a bit.  What she’d be like, how she’d act, what we’d do together, how the other kids would play with her…it was dreamy!  She was perfect!  I fell in love with a picture and a perfect, made-up child.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being excited and anticipating how things are going to change.  But at some point the expectations formed through this anticipation are going to meet up with reality and some adjustments are going to have to be made.

For me the depths of my expectations did not help me with our transition, and it took me months to figure out that the disconnection I was feeling with her was due, in a large part, to my unmet and unrealistic expectations.  As I’ve come to understand my own heart more through much prayer, educated myself with some great books like The Connected Child, and surrounded myself with other godly adoptive families through our church’s adoption ministry (Watermark Tapestry), I’ve learned that I must evaluate and adjust my expectations so that they are more realistic.  I must love my daughter for who she is and for how our God has created her, rather than try to make her into something she’s not.  This is not a new concept to me, but it is one that took me being very intentional to really change my heart.

So, I guess you can say, I learned my lesson the first time around!  I do get excited about meeting Joshua and discovering his personality.  I can’t wait to have him home to love on him, play with him, and cuddle him.  I can’t wait to see how his little life is going to impact the lives of our other children.  But I’m trying to be more realistic and almost hold my emotions an arm’s length away so that I can fall in love with him, and not what I imagine to be him!  Does that even make any sense?

Do I like waiting? No.  I’d have him home today if I could.  But I know waiting is part of the process.  I know that my Lord loves him even more than I do, and I know that He can take care of Chang Shun just fine without me.  I know that He has invited me into this process and is giving me the privilege of being this little boy’s mommy for a time.  I know that all of my kids are HIS before they are mine, and so I must hold them with an open hand and trust in His loving care…much easier said than done!  But I’m working on it!

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Summertime.  The very word conjures up images of parks and pools, baseball and barbeques.  Summer is a season when we allow ourselves just a bit more laziness…a time in which we seek relaxation, and family vacations.  The fact is, it seems that everyone loves summer.

In the midst of summer, though, we need to pause and think of those who might not welcome summer as robustly we do.  For the orphan, summer doesn’t bring to mind all those thoughts that make it a favorite season for many of us.  No, for many orphans, summer is simply 92 more days to survive the dangers of life, to wait for rescue, to long for love, to hope for a better future.  In the midst of our summertime content, we must remember the orphan’s year-round discontent.  We also need to remember that God has not forgotten the orphan, and that we must remember them too.

In our June E-Newsletter, which came out today, we highlight the story of some schoolchildren in Birmingham, Alabama, who were touched by the orphan crisis in Haiti and decided to do something about it.  They raised nearly $4000 to help bring much needed relief to children suffering in the aftermath of January’s devastating earthquake.

It’s always exciting when we meet others who “get it”.  It’s even more exciting when we see children “get it”.  When we see kids gripped with God’s heart for orphans at a young age, we can only imagine what God will do through them later in life.  Kids loving orphans are infectious and inspiring.

What might God want to do through your children in reaching the least of these?  Dads, would you be willing to set aside a portion of your free time with your kids this summer and look at what God’s word says about orphans, and what His expectations are for us in relation to them?  Moms, would you be willing to take on a project serving orphans with your kids this summer?  Perhaps you could collect shoes for orphans overseas.  Perhaps you could pray for the children in your local foster care system.  Perhaps you could collect money to help offset the cost of adoption for a family in your church.

At Hope for Orphans, our job is to serve the church as it serve orphans.  That includes your children.  We have developed two tools that we hope will better serve you as you seek to educate your children of the mandate from God, and the needs to be met among the tens of millions of orphans in the world.

The first tool is our website for children, which can be found here.  At the website you will learn more about God’s heart, you will find ideas of how your kids can serve orphans, you will read about what other kids have done to address the orphan crisis, and much more.

We have also developed a curriculum for children, called God’s Heart for the Orphan…and Me!.  The curriculum is designed to be used in Sunday school classes, Vacation Bible Schools, or even in your own home with your family.  It is an interactive children’s Bible study that exposes children to God’s passion for orphans and waiting children.  You and your kids will talk about what God wants us to do for orphans, and you will be given the tools to take action and start making a difference in children’s lives right away.

If you have ideas of how you and your children will serve orphans this summer, or perhaps have served together in the past, please share them by commenting below.

Would you consider making this a summer in which your children and family become more closely aligned with God’s heart for orphans?  Imagine what God might do in you and through you if you commit yourselves to just that.

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Wow, this is a question that I have wrestled with.  I’m sure you have, too.  Time is so valuable these days, and balancing work, kids, wife, home maintenance, church, small groups, and THEN ORPHAN MINISTRY can be quite challenging.

Many times, we have seen local church orphans ministry champions ask the question, “What can our ministry do next?”  Perhaps they have launched their ministry with a church-wide orphan-related project and now they are stuck, trying to figure out what they can do to sustain the momentum and to keep people engaged.  Maybe they have more developed ministries that have been engaged for some time, doing various projects, hosting prayer times, partnering with an orphanage, holding a fund-raising banquet, conducting adoption and orphan care awareness meetings, but they still need some new ideas.

At Hope for Orphans, we have the blessing to be networked with local church orphans ministry champions from all over the country.  Local champions that live, breathe, and dream about helping orphans!!  With their help, we have created a strategy library to help YOU as you lead your church.

Two weeks ago, I met with several local champions in Southern California.  They are on FIRE for the Lord and for seeing churches in their region mobilized to care for the thousands of children in their local foster care systems.  I visited with some of the folks from Dark to Dawn (www.DarktoDawn.org) and discussed some of their strategies.  Among many of their initiatives, they recently held an event at which emancipated youth spoke of their experiences.  What a great idea to have youth speak truthfully about what they have experienced, with the goal of having the local church step up to the challenge of loving and caring for these kids. Also, we met with a representative of the Gold Coast Orphan Alliance (www.weheartorphans.org), who conducts “House Parties” to raise awareness of the plight of the orphan.  People throw house parties for Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Tupperware; why not use the same model for orphan care?  Sell a few T-shirts and beads made in Africa, and feed orphans for a month with the proceeds.  Invite your neighbor or family members.  Utilize that time to do what you do best – share the need, share the calling, and point people to action.

Our strategy library is constantly being changed and updated with new ideas.  We hope to have many more strategies added before too long.  If you’re looking for more ways to engage your church, or if you would like to share some of your ministry’s strategies with other local champions, please visit www.hopefororphans.org/Display.asp?Page=strategylibrary.

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I posted up a blog this morning to my personal site & thought the content was relevant to one of the things we do here at Hope for Orphans, which is to remind believers of where they came from.  A clear & honest appraisal of our life before Christ helps encourage us to engage in the orphan crisis with more compassion, commitment & creativity.

I’ve been thinking about my adoption lately. Not my adoption of sweet Abigail which was completed nearly three years ago. And not my current adoption of Joshua – which will hopefully be completed before the end of this year. No, I’ve been mulling over my own personal adoption into the family of God. It occurred to me a couple of weeks back that sometimes I have the tendency to view of my own adoption through the same lens as Abigail’s adoption. Here’s what I mean – we brought Abigail home at 16 months. She was young…she was innocent…she was absolutely adorable & she came to us willingly –as if she’d been in our family her whole life (don’t read this to imply that we didn’t have to work through some attachment issues when she got home). For all these reasons & more – our affection for her came pretty naturally.  And so sometimes when I think about the way the Lord has adopted me into his family it’s colored by my own personal experience with Abigail.

But Scripture doesn’t paint me with the same colors I’ve painted Abigail. I was not an orphan that was cute, innocent, adorable or willing. According to God’s word I was… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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