Ok peeps, this is going to get preachy. According to Kristen Howerton (http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/ – love her, read her!), you can have one preachy, advocacy post after a good number of personal posts. Here’s my preachy post for the month.
I feel like I am in the middle of a battle because I am. Getting these kids home is a total all-out war. I have battled with my agency, two different governments, the State of Illinois, family members, people we meet, God, the Devil, and myself. I am confident the worst is still to come. This is not pessimism. This is reality.
I know I wrote a few times ago last time that I am choosing joy, and I am, but that doesn’t really make anything easier. The battle goes on.
I am very cognizant on a daily basis about the conditions where our kids live. While the conditions are probably above-average for DRC orphanages, they are still in the DRC, and it’s still an orphanage. One returning family recently referred to their trip as an unrelenting nightmare. Another family relayed a story from their daughter about how she witnesses the brutalization of her mother, and she herself was stabbed by a witch in the foot.
I mean no disrespect to DRC. It is a beautiful country full of amazingly strong people made in the image of God. Unfortunately, it has been ravaged by poverty and war for far too long, much of which an be attributed to the debilitating effects of colonization and the pillaging of their resources (thus we are all to blame – as I currently type this on an iPhone made from conflict minerals).
According to our agency, they try to feed the children once a day, and they drink three times a day. They don’t receive regular medical care, and it’s safe to assume that our kids will come home with lice, parasites, giardia, or other similarly painful medical conditions. They don’t have anything of their own. They don’t play with toys. They have no education. They have no parents showering them with love and security. They have no reason to believe that their life will ever get better.
As I reflect on a prior post about the celebration party, especially about our desire for people to not buy us things, I think this reality is the real heart of the issue for us. I just can’t buy (or receive) fancy expensive toys, clothes, etc. while I wonder if they will eat food today. It just doesn’t jive for me. It’s too insane. It feels disrespectful.
Then I am heartbroken because it’s not just our kids. Our kids have hope because we are coming for them. The millions of other children will never move on to a better life.There are children as young as 5 years old living alone in the wilderness of Sudan who will be attacked by wild dogs while they sleep since they have no shelter. There are children in India who will be sold by their families into the sex trade where they will die at the age of 25, and their bodies will be picked up in the alley by a dump truck. There are children in North Korea who will die because their bodies cannot digest the grass and sticks they eat to cope with their crippling starvation. Children with Down Syndrome in Ukraine are committed to adult insane asylums and chained to their cribs.
I know this is depressing, and you would rather not know. I would rather not know. I would rather sit here in this Starbucks and shop online, completely unaware that the world is burning outside.
What can we do? Unfortunately, we an do nothing of our own strength, but with God, all things are possible. He wages a battle and wins. The fire does go out for some. Thank Jesus that he is victorious and that he loves these children.
Want to get involved? Here’s what you can do:
1. Pray. It’s the most powerful tool you have, and it works. Pray for orphans. Pray for families. Pray for whole nations.2. Give your money. Here are some very worthy organizations that work with vulnerable children: As Our Own (http://asourown.org/); Make Way Partners (http://www.makewaypartners.org); Project Hopeful (http://www.projecthopeful.org/); By the Hand Club (http://bythehand.org/).
4. Adopt an orphan! You know you want to.
5. Go! There are so many awesome mission trips out there.
6. Become a foster parent. There are many children in the US who need stable, loving families.
7. Mentor a child, teen or young mom.
By supporting vulnerable children, you support us and our children, and that means so much more to us and them than a new outfit or toy.