It’s thrilling to see students increasingly join, and even lead, efforts to transform the lives of orphans and make God’s heart visible to the world. This past November, youth groups across the U.S. participated in the Orphan Sunday LIVE from Colorado Springs simulcast concert. Summit this year will include a number of sessions focused on student-led and student-focused orphan ministry. And the Heartwork Campaign will ultimately involve students from coast to coast in sacrificial orphan initiatives.
It’s the specific stories that often mean the most. I received a “ministry update letter” from two recent college grads who now serves students at San Francisco State University through Campus Crusade, Matt and Leah St. Pierre. Matt and Leah desire to live out the biblical call to care for orphans, and also to expose non-Christian students to the heart of the God who cares deeply for the destitute and alone. So Matt pioneered the idea of an Orphan Scholarship Fund that would enable college students to raise funds to show orphans God’s love via access to a college education. Matt says they are still learning how best to grow the vision. But the glimpse he provides into little seeds already taking root as a result is beautiful:
It can be hard to measure the impact you are having in ministry at times. You pour out into people what God has given you, and pray that He produces a change in their lives. One way that we seek to make disciples of our students is through an effort called the Orphan Scholarship Fund (OSF). The OSF provides scholarships for orphans to attend college in their home country. We are communicating God’s heart for orphans through awareness and fundraising events with the aim of sending 3 specific orphans in Honduras to college. The student turnout at some of those events has been less than hoped for. The temptation is to interpret small numbers as a sign of fruitlessness. We are thankful that through James and Maria God is showing us otherwise.
At the end of the semester, James, a student that I meet with weekly, told me some unexpected, yet encouraging news. James asked that his parents not buy him anything for Christmas, but instead make a contribution to the OSF. Seeing this selfless decision come from a 19 year-old college student opened my eyes. God was at work in the life of this young man. Maria is a freshman who recently got her first job, doing set-up and tear-down at our church. She comes from a low-income background and is not accustomed to having spending money. After one conversation with her about what God says about money and giving in His word, Maria decided she wanted to start giving regularly towards the OSF. She said that she’s beginning to understand the way God wants us to use our resources.
Through these students, God spoke to our hearts about the reality of the impact our efforts are having for His Kingdom. The reminder that our goal is not in numbers, but in lives significantly changed for Christ was a priceless one.