Orphan Sunday 2011 was nothing short of amazing, from Kansas to Kiev. Stories continue to roll in. Individually, each local event carried its own beauty. Viewed all together, they form a breathtaking tapestry of the ways God is stirring His people around the world.
We’ll be sharing glimpses of this over the days ahead. One very meaningful aspect was “The Orphan’s Table.” It enabled families, home groups and entire churches to gather around a simple meal to eat, pray, and discuss. Well over 20,000 people participated in The Orphan’s Table in its inaugural year! And yes, we do plan to offer it again next year! (A huge thanks to Alliance Member A Child’s Hope for providing the food and tremendous help with the shipping.)
Here are a handful of the nearly 100 reports we’ve received about The Orphan’s Table this week…
The best part of our experience was hearing the children praying for orphans. Praying that they will get a hug before bed, praying they might get to eat some watermelon or pizza and listening to them talk about how good their lives are and wanting the same for children without families. So sweet. Hopefully we planted seeds for a lifetime. Thanks for all your work and creativity with the Orphan’s Table.
–Niemeyer Family in Erie, CO
A couple from Burkina Faso told of how orphans in their country are treated very poorly. They seemed to realize that for the first time. A student from Vietnam cried throughout the entire evening, then said she realized that God loves the orphans and the children. We ate sitting on the floor on cardboard and burlap, and had the discussion questions as we ate. We closed with the Power Point found on the Orphan Sunday site, and it was very moving. We had about five minutes of absolute silence except for the sound of weeping.
–Christ For The Nations Church in TX
My husband had the idea to hand out numbers randomly when people arrived at our house, and we had planned for all but one person to have the orphan’s meal, on our bare floor. One person however was randomly selected to have a very nice dinner at our table, and at first, as we served everyone dinner, that person was facing away from everyone else eating the orphan’s meal (and my husband built up the scenario by spoiling him with fine china and attention, while doing the opposite for our other guests), but then my husband had him move to the other side of the table, where he could see how everyone else was eating so simply and on the floor. At first everyone was caught off guard, but then they figured out the point my husband was trying to make, and it was humbling for all of us. It was a creative idea, and was a neat spring board for our discussion.
–Amy in Kirkwood, MO
During our family time sharing the Orphan Table my daughter(5 yrs old) prayed for “all the Orphans in the world would have food and a family and that we could have 1,000 come stay with us.” As much as I love children, I’m not to sure about a 1000…heheheh…Got to love her heart….
–Mc Fadden Family in Rock Hill, SC
We had the most incredible orphan’s table experience with our own children. They were so worried about being hungry, as we fasted before we ate the lunch, and did not eat again until later that night. We were really able to see the lightbulb come on in their hearts and minds as they put themselves in the place of children all around the world who are hungry. The verses and questions that went along with it was amazing. At the end of the meal, we gave them a banana, to show them what a GIFT it is to receive any kind of fresh food when you are not usually able to have it. I’ve never seen them love a banana more! And, they have told so many people about the meal, and how excited they were to have fresh fruit as a surprise. This definitely hit home for them, and for us as parents. The sweetest prayers were prayed for orphans and it was such a powerful experience. We definitely plan to do this every year on Orphan Sunday. Thank you for making it possible for us!
–Jacobs Family in Dallas, TX
I am not sure how to even begin to share about our night! My family and I hosted The Orphan’s Table for 30 teenage girls. We started by talking about inconveniences they may have experienced this past week. The girls shared experiences such as the pencil sharpener at school being full, the pizza being cold at lunch, people driving too slowly on the road, etc. Meanwhile, one of our volunteers had started dropping a penny into a mason jar, and the girls noticed the ‘clink” every 20 seconds. I then talked about the inconveniences that orphans face and that we were going to partake in a typical orphans meal. The girls were asked to line up and walk through the kitchen to get their meal, and then take it to the garage to eat. The girls sat on flattened card boxes, with plastic bowls and drank water out of “dirty” cups. It was silent as the girls looked the food and it dawned on them what real inconveniences might be. My son, who was adopted from Ethiopia at the age of 6, shared what life was like for him in an orphanage and the girls asked a lot of questions. We moved back inside and watched “Hope Fading”, which led all the girls to tears. And the pennies continued to drop. We then led the girls through the Bible verses and discussion questions. One of the teens then shared how she had been adopted at the age of 7 from Russia and shared what it was like for her coming to a new country, learning a new language, etc. We then told the girls that every 20 second, a child becomes a double orphan – and that is what the pennies symbolized. They were shocked. We talked about a ministry in Colombia for street children, most who are fatherless, and then asked the girls if any of them would want to be a pen-pal to these kids – the entire stack of kids were taken and the girls are anxious to start writing! We ended with prayer, holding hands, and then gave the girls a Ugandan bracelet. It was a small event, but I think made a huge impact on the teens.
–Weldie Family in Greenville