Orphans around the world have new friends: American churches. This surge of interest is less than a decade old, but momentum seems to keep growing. One reason may be that scores of leading ministries united and now speak with one voice through the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
The 8th annual Orphan Summit of the alliance, held during the first week of May at Saddleback Church in California, drew delegates from 46 states and several foreign countries. David C Cook is both a member of the alliance and a sponsor of the summit.
Well-known Cook author Francis Chan delivered the keynote message, describing how God captured his heart for orphans.
Some of us were self-centered people. It was killing us. But the spirit of God came into us. When spirit of God comes into people, Scripture comes alive.
Then, pointing to his Bible, he added,
Life makes sense in light of this book.
He spoke of passages like Psalm 68 which reveal how God views orphans: he is “a father to the fatherless” and “sets the lonely in families.” He held up James 1:27 as especially important: “True religion that God accepts is to care for orphans in their distress.” Reflecting on that passage, Chan asked,
How can we be so flippant about this…so casual…
when this is TRUE RELIGION?
To get an idea of the orphan tragedy’s monumental scale, imagine one-half of the U.S. population. That’s about how many orphans live in the world today. Children need and want protection, but millions of them are abandoned to fend for themselves. How can we tolerate this?
Orphanages help, but most fall short of a complete answer. Typical orphanages, even those run by Christians, focus, for the most part, on physical needs. Yet nearly all orphans have broken hearts, or “distress” as James 1:27 puts it. These boys and girls suffer personal trauma and deep spiritual wounds.
This is where David C Cook makes a unique contribution with a comprehensive intervention that teaches local Christians how to counsel and nurture these hurting children. Cook representatives spoke at sessions of the Orphan Summit and offered free resources to international ministries at a booth.
The curriculum, the David C Cook J127* Orphan Initiative, is unique and effective. We regularly post individual stories of children changed forever by this ministry. Your support is making the program available, at no cost, to orphan ministries in India, Uganda, Mexico, Bangladesh and Romania. Soon, even more countries will have it as a result of the recent Orphan Summit.
The way the Christian Alliance for Orphan sees it, solutions branch in three directions: foster homes and adoption in the United States and orphan care internationally. While all three interventions are valuable and deserve encouragement, the reality is, however, that 99% of orphans will never be adopted. Also, most of the neediest children do not live in Western countries. That’s why we urge the greatest support for underserved orphans in foreign countries. When you give to the J127 Orphan Initiative,* 100% of your donation goes to help and heal orphans in the developing world.
Your church may want to join in the nationwide Orphan Sunday campaign this year on November 4, promoting discovery and support of the orphan cause. Learn more about Orphan Sunday from the Orphan Alliance or contact us for stories, videos and other materials you can use in your church.
Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.