This one I have been giving a lot of thought and my words have often fallen short of where I wanted my heart to go. However; last night, approaching midnight, I felt this thing start to bubble up in my chest.
I am currently in my final year of my undergrad. After an 11 year hiatus, I decided to go back to school last January. It has been refreshing. However, it has been challenging in many ways. My nights have been later, my time with family less, but the sense of finishing something that I started when I was just a depressed 18-year-old has been oddly satisfying. Even more so because I spent 10 of those 11 years thinking I could care less about finishing.
In my studies, I have been blessed to be able to dig a little deeper into many topics. The most enjoyable for me up to this point has been the opportunity to learn more about the early church, where it came from, how it grew and how it got to where we are today. I find it fascinating, especially the growth through persecution and exile. God used these events to further His Kingdom. Amazing!
Hearing the various stories of young children here in Guatemala never ceases to break your heart. When you thought things couldn't get any worse, you hear a young child's story that digs the hole of pain in your heart a little deeper.
Children, persecuted for being children. Abused and neglected because of who they are.
Innocent and unknowing.
Our call as Christians is to ultimately be in an unending, beautiful, intimate relationship with God. This call looks different for everyone. What shouldn't look different, is the result of that relationship. It should result in mission.
Just like relationship, mission looks different to everyone. What shouldn't look different, however, is the purpose of the mission.
Orphan Care is an extremely common mission in Guatemala. We see entire ministries founded on the principle of children being fed healthy meals, or family style orphanages. We see calls of action to the Church, telling them that they are the answer, we can end this problem before it gets any worse. I am guilty of these calls to action. What I am also guilty of is not telling people why they are called to action.
We care for the orphan because Christ cared for us when we were orphans--yes, we do. But that is not the primary reason. We care for the orphan to be a testimony of who Christ is.
We care for the orphan to grow the Church.
When Christians "were all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria" (Acts 8:1), they went out "speaking the Word to none except Jews." Christians began living a simple life of love and mission amongst one another. Helping each other, and allowing their lives to be a witness of who Christ was.
AND IT SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE. THE CHURCH BEGAN TO GROW RAPIDLY.
We are called to speak with boldness, but words without action are hypocritical and often more harmful than good. We are called to do good, but doing good without words is borderline charity.
When we care for the orphan, our primary mission should not be feeding, providing shelter, or providing a family (all good things). Our primary mission should be to grow the church through the goodness, love, mercy, grace, and TESTIMONY of who Christ is.
To Him be the glory.
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash