Letter from Ohio

As often noted on this blog, it’s thrilling to see continual evidence of God stirring His people for the fatherless.  And just as exciting as the growing breadth of this movement is the diversity of ways the same core truth—God’s heart for the fatherless—is being expressed by believers across the country and beyond.

Here’s one note we received recently from Ohio.  It offers some encouraging words about the Alliance.  But even more significant, it gives a little window into one local expression of the growing movement.  It’s locally led, but the writer—Heather Bench—gives a sense of how countless others nationwide have helped grow the vision.  Her work is inspired by friends encountered through the Alliance and at Summit, amplified by Orphan Sunday activities, and draws effective models from fellow Alliance members.  From Orphan Sunday volunteers to Summit instructors to countless others, the local vision is a fruit of the work of so many.  And what’s happening in Ohio, in turn, is an encouragement to many others as well:

I’d like to share with the Alliance that we really appreciate all that you are doing to help churches create and maintain an orphan care focus in their communities.  My husband and I have been working in this ministry area for six years.  There have been many difficult moments when just visiting, reading the website or blog post and praying over the ministries listed that we have been refreshed and renewed and ready to face the next challenge.  Thank you, to everyone involved in the Alliance for being obedient.  The first thing I recommend to someone who calls me about starting a ministry is to join the Alliance and attend the Summit.

It’s been slower in Ohio, but we are beginning to see a huge rush of activity in the Dayton area.  I am speaking to more and more churches about creating an orphan care focus within their church.  Our ministry has developed a partnership with our local social workers working with transitioning foster youth.  Our team will present a proposal to our church leadership to launch a ministry modeled after 4Kids of South Florida’s Independent Living Program Spirit of Success on November 16th.  Many in our congregation are poised and ready to serve in whatever ways our team can think of…our sewing ministry has just committed to embroidering names on 25 stockings for our foster youth!  God is at work and we move forward in obedience to His call.

I am ready to serve the Alliance in any way that you feel I could help.  We are no longer in the beginning stages and feel we could offer great insight for those starting ministries in this geographical area.  When we started out we thought we would be a support and educational group, much like Tapestry.  But God had a different plan in mind and we have become mainly focused on caring for orphans.  Our mantra within our team is that not all are called to foster or adopt, but everyone is called to serve.  Since that has become our focus, God has opened doors in many ways that I could not imagine and families of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ages have joined us in caring.

Thank you for taking the time to read my excitement as God works through us.  How humbled I am to be a part of loving His children.