Orphan Sunday

There are approximately 163 million orphans in the world right now. Children with faces, names, stories.

163 million stories.

Sometimes I try to picture all the orphans in the world at once, gathered together in one place, until my mind begins to hurt and my heart begins to feel overwhelmed. I think of cities like Beijing that have 12 million inhabitants. Multiply that by 10 and you still wouldn’t have all the orphans in the world accounted for. There are orphans everywhere. In every country, in every city and town, including ours, there are children who have been left parent-less or abandoned, without hope.

But then I am reminded that there is One who created each of these 163 million lives with value and purpose. One who loves them, who is their faithful Father, who desires for them to know what a precious treasure they are. And one of the ways he shows them is through me, and you. Ordinary people. We have been given the great joy of loving the unlovely, of accepting the rejected, of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

On my own, I would be crushed under the sheer weight of what it would take to reach these children and care for them. Thankfully we are not called to do this alone (since we can’t anyway), and it is such a humble privilege to join so many who are “defending the cause of the Fatherless” (Is. 1:17). I may not be able to love and care for them all, but I can love one, or two, or ten, or however many the Lord brings into my life. I can pray for them, care for them, know their stories, and introduce them to Jesus. Whatever it takes.

Today is Orphan Sunday. Watch this video. Pray for orphans around the world today. And remember that these are stories worth hearing, stories worth sharing, stories worth joining.

Why I am Terricited (and what that even means)

Everything is about to change. Except Jesus. Thankfully, He always remains the same. I’ve been singing the hymn “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” in my head for the past two days. And that is so true. My hope and my confidence are in Christ alone.

I start off that way because the rest of my life at this moment is in a state of chaos and transition, with very little solid ground to stand upon. Most of the upheaval is exciting, although part of it is absolutely terrifying, and a tiny bit of it is sad. In other words, I am terricited – both terrified and excited all at the same time. I made that word up the other day…feel free to use it as you have need of it. 😉 One year ago, if you had told me this change was going to happen, I probably would have laughed. But now it is real, and really happening. And I am learning that reality is my friend, and to embrace it.

What are these changes, you ask? Well, it all starts about 10 years ago, when I went to Ukraine for the first time and fell in love with a group of unkempt, lost, lonely children living on the street, desperately in need of love, a home, and the gospel. My heart was captured, and since that time I have wanted to work with orphans overseas. For a variety of reasons that I won’t get into right now (feel free to ask me about it though – would love to share!) the Lord has led me instead on a windy path that has moved me from Charleston, SC, to Berlin, Germany and then to Indianapolis, IN, all the time working with university students.

And I have loved it. Serving on staff with Cru for the past five years has been incredibly enriching, challenging, fun, growth-filled, sanctifying, humbling, stretching, delightful and hilarious. It is an adventure that I would not trade, and I am so thankful for the community and growth that came through being a part of this ministry, and the experience of seeing God actively working in the lives of men and women around the world as His gospel goes forth.

But now a new set of children have captured my heart, this time in Southeast Asia. And so, with some sadness, a little bit of terror, and a lot of excitement, I am saying farewell to Cru and pursuing going to this new, unknown place to love on and serve a group of orphans. The Lord is answering a desire of my heart that I have been praying about for a decade, and I am running after it until He closes the door or leads me otherwise!

There are still so, so many things to work out with this new opportunity (hence the bit of terror). So many unanswered questions. For example: How am I going to get there? And who is going to come with me? (Would you like to come with me? I am now accepting applications for a teammate who is fantastic, adventurous, and loves Jesus. I joke. But really. Let me know. We’ll talk). And when am I going to go? And what will my role look like? And am I crazy? (don’t worry – I already know the answer to that one).

What I do know is that there is One who sees everything, all at once, and I can rest knowing that He knows. He knows the answer to every question I have, and as I continue faithfully walking with Him all things will be revealed. It might end up looking completely different than what I anticipate. I haven’t done so well in the past holding my dreams and desires with an open hand, but I am learning. And this time, I am open to whatever the Lord wants this new adventure to look like.

In the meantime, I am moving back to Northern Virginia to spend some quality time with the family & enjoy my new nephew, start learning the language of the place I am going, transition to a new ministry, love Jesus, embrace community and continue growing and learning to love people well. I will also be learning to embrace the chaos, and maybe, just maybe, even enjoy it.