"religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress ..." ~ james 1:27
it’s taken me a few days to get my act together. okay ... maybe more like a whole week.
last weekend was the promise686 concert and i have yet to post a blog or add an album of pictures from the event.
but today, on this orphan sunday, i’m motivated to share what took place last saturday night.
|we had 14 of these canvases around the pool/patio area.|
just some of the kids who have come home with the help of promise686.
and just like that (haha) ... we put on an outdoor dinner and concert under a big white tent on a beautiful night in october. good music, good food, good wine and good people gathered together to hear about what God is doing in an anything-but-good-situation.
promise686 is committed to helping children in crisis. through adoption and foster care, promise686 helps families raise money for grants to bring home kids.
promise comes alongside families both financially and physically – huge areas of need when dealing with kids who have no one.
kids who have been abandoned, neglected or orphaned.
i've actually had a few different people tell me that word makes them uncomfortable.
yes, that's what they've said, "uncomfortable."
well, i would hope so.
but for the majority of us, the idea of orphan can be something we loosely associate with a cute red head on broadway singing her heart out about tomorrow.
that's as far as our brains will allow us to go --- just a cute kid, with a cute dog who ends up living with a millionaire.
except, in reality, there are over 150 million orphans in our world.
and in their reality, these kids don't have much to sing about. the reality for these kids doesn’t provide much hope for tomorrow, because today, they are still orphans.
kids living without a mom or a dad or sisters or brothers.
kids who are alone and kids who are lonely.
psalm 68:5-6 says that God is "father to the fatherless ...God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing..."
maybe that broadway dream isn't so far-fetched when God gets involved, right?
when God calls families to the family-less.
when God sets the lonely in loving places.
when God leads imprisoned children out in singing.
i don't know about you, but i'm visual. i love to see pictures in my mind to help make sense of things and when i read that verse i see 150 million kids of every color, shape and size being led forth in singing and it's a beautiful picture because i know that's God's heart.
God – the Father to the fatherless.
and we see it everywhere.
we have lots of friends who have adopted kids internationally and domestically. just this morning we sat in church next to dear friends who adopted both domestically and from the ukraine. another family was in front of us who has for the past 6 years been waiting and fighting for their daughter in krgystan – they are finally getting close! just behind us was a family who added their 5th child in a recent domestic adoption (their oldest is 6)!
seriously, adoption is all around us.
and i love that.
but there are still so many.
so many orphans.
so many kids who still need to come home.
last weekend, we hosted this fundraiser and invited 200+ people to come and hear. people who weren’t aware of what promise686 is doing …people who had the ability to help make a difference … people who, perhaps, didn’t even realize there was a crisis.
through videos and stories and short talks, the evening was a celebration of what has already taken place and an awareness challenge to what we all can do to continue these efforts.
i was excited about all the beautiful elements of this party … but without doubt, the most beautiful part of the evening was hearing people say, “i want to help. I want to support … i want to give.” what they were really saying is, "i want to help bring more kids home."
we can’t solve the orphan crisis in one evening. but we can do our part … and that’s what God calls us to – just doing our part. whether it be to pray, to act or to give --- we all have an important part to play.
so the word orphan makes people uncomfortable.
i get it. and, personally, i’m so glad.
i’m glad because i know it’s in our comfortable places that we become numb to the nudgings of Jesus.
so, Lord, go ahead ... and make us uncomfortable.
as the person responsible for the atmosphere of our event, my job was to accommodate our guests … to ensure a good meal, good entertainment and good overall experience – to make them comfortable.
And where everything in me wanted to do that and even enjoyed doing that … the prayer of my heart was always, through all of it, “Lord, make us uncomfortable that we would see the crisis of these kids and hear the cries of the orphan.”
"i always questioned if i was ready to adopt and then realized no child was ready to be an orphan." ~ unknown
(stole this quote from my dear friend, diana's post today)!
each table was named for a child who has been adopted or fostered with the help of promise. the centerpiece had the child's name and picture and at each place setting a little bit of the child's story was shared with the guests. each table told the story of a different child.
this is april and she's amazing. no kidding, she was my right hand or wing-woman on this event!
the evening began with a cocktail party poolside! what's not to love about that?
rose and her dad, jeffery, shared the powerful story of how she and her brother came home from haiti. it was almost the only time in the evening i actually stood still and listened. it's one thing to hear about adoption and orphans from adults ... a whole other thing to hear it from the children.
everyone enjoyed the music of ed roland of collective soul and the sweet tea project.