Today it’s estimated that there are over 160 million orphans in our world. Here in Ethiopia, its home to about 5 million orphans, and what’s important is not the massive statistics but that each ONE of these children have been created in the image of God with purpose, a purpose that they may never realize unless we take away the faceless statistics and replace it with a name and a face.
In ancient Rome, many unwanted children faced what they called Exposing. Exposing was done when a child was born malformed, with disability, or simply out of inconvenience. These children were taken outside the city walls where they were defenseless, exposed to weather, animals, and left for dead. This cruel practice was finally banned in 374AD, but before it was banned a group of people became known for rescuing and caring for these little ones. This is how the early Church responded to not only a need but to what God has called us to.
Today, that need and calling is no different. In the book of Isaiah we are called to “Defend the cause of the fatherless”, and we are invited to join God and stand for these little ones. This isn’t a box we need to check off as Christians, but an honor and incredible privilege for us to be part of.
Orphan care is often thought of as only adoption, but its really only part of how we can respond. You can sponsor a child, start an orphan care ministry at your church/community, visit them and come on a missions trip, Adopt or help in foster care, and much more. There are so many opportunities we have today, to join God in His call to be a Father to the fatherless, to defend them, and we can respond just as the early Church did in Rome.
How will you respond?