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6 Things to Celebrate on Orphan Sunday

Orphan—it’s a word with a decidedly sad connotation. The United Nations Children’s Fund and its global partners define an orphan as a child under 18 years of age who has lost 1 or both parents to any cause of death. Nearly 140 million children around the world meet that definition. So what is there to celebrate on Orphan Sunday, November 12? Plenty.

1. Celebrate adoptive families in your church and community. Enlist 1 or 2 adoptive parents to share their story of how God used adoption to grow their family and their faith. Ask them to speak during a morning worship service or another churchwide event for this special emphasis, or record their stories and show the video during the service or post it, along with prayer requests, on the church’s Facebook page or website. Pray for these families as they seek to train up their children. Pray for those going through the adoption process as they wait to bring their children home. Ask about other ways your church can support these adoptive families financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Pray for the World

You only need to glance at a newspaper or listen to the news to become aware of the urgent need for prayer. No longer can we be concerned with praying only for our family, community, church, and state. As leaders, we need to engage our members in sincere prayer for the entire world.

Why not start with the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer on November 6? Consider implementing one of the strategies Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, used to involve her church in the Day of Prayer:

• Involve all the Baptist churches in your area. Make phone calls and send invitations. Enlist a contact person from each church and ask her to personally invite women to attend.

• Plan to alternate which church hosts the prayer event each year. Or host the event at a Christian Women’s Job Corps site to highlight the ministry hosting the prayer event.

Time for Appreciation

October is recognized as Pastor Appreciation Month in many churches.

It’s not too late to recognize your pastor and church staff, whether you choose to do it corporately as a church or as an individual. Here are some quick thoughts on how to recognize the leaders God has placed in your church.

Love on Display: Showing Christ to refugees is multifaceted

How can you be a friend and care for someone who misses her family and is concerned for her well-being? How do you respond to a young girl who shows you her good grades and tells you she dreams of becoming a doctor? What do you do when you are served a delicious meal or cup of tea? Instead of reacting the same way for each of these scenarios, you find an appropriate response that indicates you share that person’s concern and sadness. You express how proud you are of the child’s accomplishments or thank your host for her hospitality. When you respond to refugees, you can also look for ways to show compassion, share in their joy, and show your appreciation.

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Peace after Turmoil: Sudanese refugee believes the gospel

For decades, Ridick would feel the struggle of war on the outside—and war on the inside.

Rebel fighting was tearing his home country, Sudan, apart at the seams when he was in high school in the ’80s. He tried to put his mind to his studies, but it wasn’t long before he was being asked to join the war.

“I witnessed my friends being taken at night—they were taken to be trained to fight,” Ridick said. “All the roads at that time were blocked, and people were hungry—there was no food.”

So he finally decided he had to get out of that place. He sneaked onto a truck convoy and started the 100-mile trip to the next-closest city. It was a trip plagued with gunfire and attacks. And it was the beginning of a journey that would last for years.

“It was a rough road,” Ridick said.

He crossed the border into Uganda, joining his brother who had also escaped and was living with an uncle. After a month, the uncle died, and the brothers set off for a refugee camp in Kenya, where they lived for nearly a year. But it wasn’t peaceful there.

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Fears and Families on Mission

“Why are you taking her? She won’t remember any of it. What if she doesn’t sleep on the plane? Aren’t you afraid of her getting sick?”

These are questions and statements we have heard numerous times since announcing we are taking our toddler overseas with us this month for a short-term missions trip. Our church has a partnership, through the International Mission Board, with a global city where my husband is leading our group. He went on a vision trip in April, and we agreed that when we went back, we would go as a family.

Little did we know that I would end up being 6 months pregnant when we go. But this isn’t the first time I have been pregnant in Asia. However, it is the first time I have been a mom with a toddler in Asia and pregnant at the same time.

Fear comes to us in hidden places. Am I looking forward to 27-plus hours of plane rides (just on the way over there)? Not really. Do I want my 22-month-old to get a virus I can barely pronounce because we brought her to Asia? Of course not.

Missions and Adoption

Adoption and orphan care play an important role in missions. Whether you feel God calling you to adopt, you are working with orphans in some capacity, or you were adopted yourself, your story is an important one.

We hope one of these resources can help you on your journey. 

30 Days of Hope for Adoptive Parents

30 Days of Hope for Adoptive Parents - $9.99

 

Missionaries, Cookies, Kids, and Stickers

A few weeks ago, we learned about a missionary who bakes cookies and shares them with neighbors in an effort to eventually share the gospel with this new friend. Making cookies to become someone’s friend and eventually tell him or her about Jesus seemed like a very long process to my GAs.

“Why not just tell them that Jesus loves them?” one of my first-grade GAs asked.

This conversation led to a discussion about what it means to be a friend, why we do nice things for people, and how being nice to someone may make him or her want to be our friend.

We waded through a ton of comments and questions.

“I don’t have to give people cookies to be friends with them.”

“Does the missionary keep any of the cookies for herself?”

“Does she get to pick who she gives the cookies to?”

By the end of the discussion, I realized that my first-grade GAs were not going to fully understand this concept until they tried it for themselves.

Because I didn’t have cookies or the time to make them, I did the next best thing.

Extending the Story: Always Remember to Pray

Always Remember to Pray

Using activities related to a story or book is a way of extending what preschoolers learn by giving them experiences connected to the story. When you read Always Remember to Pray, by Robin McCall, extend the story with activities related to prayer. Talk about prayer and tell preschoolers we are talking to God when we pray. Encourage preschoolers to think about ways they can pray at any time and any place. The following activities will extend the story and help preschoolers learn more about prayer.

Recognizing the Humanity in Refugees

Refugee. It’s a heavy word laden with nuances in our world. There are so many types of people who fall into this category—those who are fleeing war-torn countries or persecution and those who need respite from poverty and famine.

But the meaning of the word refugee doesn’t stop there. Mention the word once in a group of people, and politics inevitably comes into the conversation. People have their opinions about the plight of refugees and what everyone should do to address it. Let’s be real, though: behind the word refugee is a human being. There’s a woman fleeing war to protect her children. There’s a man moving his family to ensure their survival during a time of famine.

Every person who becomes a refugee is a human life precious to the Lord. In the past couple of years, God has been working on my heart to ignore the political rhetoric and Facebook debates and focus only on His hurting children. If we are to live a missional lifestyle, then we must set aside societal prejudices and discover ways we can help save the lives of the people God loves.

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