Friday, February 12, 2010
There are 143 million orphans in the world by conservative standards and every 18 seconds a new child is orphaned somewhere in the world. There are at least 500,000 children living in US foster care today. Every 14 seconds another child is orphaned because of HIV/AIDS. And every 2.5 seconds a child dies in the world because of vaccine preventable disease or malnutrition.
In our isolated, insulated world these statistics sting until our mind wanders somewhere else or to something else. We tend to believe that those children are in a place we will never see and it is so easy to forget, but for three special Lifeline families these statistics aren't numbers anymore; these statistics have names, faces, and a place in their heart.
The picture attached to the post is the picture of a little boy from Ghana. He is a victim of the HIV crisis, losing parents to the disease. He is an orphan. His picture and his story found its way into the hearts of some of mine and Ashley's dearest friends last Saturday. His eyes pierced their hearts, his story became etched in their mind, and their journey to adopt became defined by pursuing this child.
It was Tuesday when they called me at 11:00 in the morning to tell me about how the Lord had opened up their hearts and taken them on a journey - they were ready, willing, and even excited to add a child with HIV to their family. Just a mere 2 hours and 15 minutes later, little Sampson became another statistic. He died of a vaccine preventable disease - malaria.
Although the quest for Sampson had only lasted for 4 days, my friends will never look at numbers the same. Every 2.5 seconds - another Sampson passes away; every 14 seconds another Sampson loses parents to AIDS. For them there are 143 million Sampsons who need a home, who need to be loved.
My friends wrote this week, "Sampson will forever be with us. His life has forever changed us. His life was not lived in vain, God has a purpose for him, just like He has for ALL of us, and that purpose was fulfilled, and now he is resting in our Father's arms."
At least two other Lifeline families are no longer living in a world of full of meaningless and cold numbers. Last Thursday, we had the honor of seeing our first set of foster children placed through our new partnership with DHR. One family saw abuse and neglect in the eyes of seven and nine year old sisters - the youngest, whose hair was matted with worms and roaches while the oldest was scared and afraid of what could happen to her next. The other family brought home an 11 y/o young man whose hurt runs so deep that he knows of nothing else to do but to inflict pain on others.
For these families there are no longer just 500,000 children in US foster care, there and 500,000 who are just like those eating at their dinner table, sleeping under their roof, running around their homes, and hurting with real hurt and pain in their arms.
May God fill us all with His Love this Valentines weekend for His beloved - orphans like Sampson and foster children like these. "You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." Psalm 10:17-18
LOVE - unending; HOPE - sustaining; FAITH - unshakeable: Orphan you are pursued by God physically and spiritually! His PRESENCE fulfilling!
After putting a face to the numbers if you feel led to pursue a child through adoption or foster care or to sacrifice your time and treasure on their behalf - please do not hesitate to give Lifeline a call because we are here...
On behalf of the orphans.
Lifeline Children's Services
giving children a hope and a future