Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). I was boldly confronted with this verse a few weeks ago. What am I doing to care for those who only have a mom or a dad? I thought. What am I doing to care for those who don’t have any parents?
According to UNICEF, there are 151 million orphans (defined as a child who has lost a mom, dad, or both) worldwide. That’s just below 50 percent of the population in the United States.
God Got My Attention
In May I had an opportunity to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit (CAFO) at Willow Creek Community Church. The Summit was filled with two days of general sessions, workshops, and interviews. From worshiping God in Korean, Portuguese, and English throughout the general sessions to seeing mothers or fathers with their children from different nations, tribes, and tongues around the world, the conference was a beautiful picture of God’s kingdom.
At the conference, I was surrounded by people desiring to impact the lives of orphans around the world. At each workshop I attended, people would ask, “What brought you to CAFO?” And I’d have to sheepishly say something like, “I’m covering it for work.” Because at the time I couldn’t honestly say that I had thought much about adoption or foster care—or of the millions of orphans scattered throughout the world. Up to that point, it wasn’t on my radar.