Sunday, November 23, 2008

The least of these...

I helped coordinate a women's event at our church this past weekend. The event was called 'Mugs and Muffins for Missions'. We honored the 'pioneer' missionary women our church supports.

I truly admire anyone who is willing to give up a comfortable life for a life 'on the battle field' faced with persecution and uncomfortable living conditions. I believe this takes a very special person to find joy in serving the Lord in this way, especially under very extreme and unfavorable conditions. The work of a missionary is truly honorable.

One of the missionaries, her husband and 2 children live in an African country and teach at a university. If they expose themselves as missionaries, as ones who are spreading Christianity, their lives would be in great danger. The country they live in is 99.9% Muslim. They have been rescued by helicopter from a situation that may have taken their lives. The Muslim faith is so strong that if they stay there for 20 years, they will be excited to lead 6 people to Christianity.

Another missionary couple resides in South Africa with their 4 children. They witness people hurting all around them. This missionary woman wrote a letter to our group and shared some very personal experiences. One was about a woman standing on a street corner in pouring rain with her children by her side trying to sell one mushroom. Selling this mushroom appeared to be her only hope for the day but as dusk was setting in, her hope would diminish.

Another group of missionaries work for Wycliff, an organization that translates Bibles into different language so that God's Word can be brought to all ends of the earth.

Just before this event, I heard part of a radio show and the speaker was talking about how Islamic Terrorists were settling in Addis Abba, Ethiopia by growing numbers. There, the terrorists groups take abandoned orphans off the street and train them to be terrorists.

Human Trafficking is another danger for homeless orphans. There are groups at increasing numbers picking up these vulnerable children and turning them into slaves and prostitutes as young as 7 years old.

Joyce Meier and other Christian leaders have been strongly advocating against human trafficking. Joyce, for one has recently funded a shelter in Addis Abba as an effort to rescue women from this horrible life and give them hope for a much better future.

Everyone participating in these efforts, deserve to be honored. Again, this type of work takes a special person and leading from the Lord.

Many friends and family members tell us how blessed our son will be and how we are doing such a good thing. We have also been told that this is the "MOST honorable" act we could perform.

What we have become to realize, however is how much our son will be a blessing to our family. We in no way want this journey to be looked at as honorable or the greatest things we can do to help the orphans.

Many adoption talk shows focus on the several different steps we can take to help the orphans. Adoption is always listed as the best way and then if you are not able to adopt, giving money to charities is the 'next' best thing.

Adoption is only a reaction to the 143 million orphans in the world. The best way to help the orphans is to perform actions that will keep children from becoming an orphan in the first place.

Adoption is the LEAST we can do to help those when it is too late, when there is no hope for them to no longer stay in their birth families.

What we are doing is so easy compared to the work of a missionary. When we go to Ethiopia to bring home our son, we will only be there for 1 week and then right back to the comforts of our home with the precious gift of a son.

For every child and adult that a missionary can bring the Gospel, that is one less person that Islamic terrorists will take into their training camps. When we give to charities, such as Charity Water (see side bar), we help keep families from disease, poverty and the difficult decision of relinquishing their child. When we give up our own comforts and material possessions to show others better ways of living, we help families who face the choice of giving up a child stay together. These are all honorable ways to support the orphans.

There should not be poverty in this world. There should not be people dieing of diseases that are curable in other countries. There should not be 80% of this world without clean drinking water. If we satisfy the needs of the hungry and take care of the oppressed, there should not be orphans.

The best life for our child would be to be raised in his birth family. God intended it to be that way. Our family would be His second choice. Yes, our child will have a better (material) life and more opportunities but how can I explain to him after going through a terrible loss that he is lucky to have us? Is he the lucky one?

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