What took place around the globe on Orphan Sunday is at least as thrilling as what happened in the U.S. This year was the first serious attempt at growing Orphan Sunday globally. In the words of Ruslan Maliuta, who led efforts in Ukraine, “God by far exceeded our wildest expectations.” Does that sounds hyperbolic? Not at all. From a handful of churches in Zimbabwe to hundreds in the Philippines to thousands in Eastern Europe, it is clear the Christian orphan movement is burgeoning not just in the U.S., but around the globe! And we believe the best is yet to come.
Here are a few windows into what happened:
Ukraine, Russian & Eastern Europe
Literally thousands of churches across Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe celebrated Orphan Sunday—calling for nothing short of a movement among God’s people to find a home for every orphan. (See more about HERE and check out more pictures on the Russian Orphan Sunday Facebook page and this amazing events MAP on the Russian language Orphan Sunday site!)
Evangelical churches in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the surrounding area joined in celebrating Orphan Sunday. Church services shone light on the needs of orphans in the country and God’s call to respond. The churches together created a team representing each of the churches to oversee an ongoing orphan care and support ministry. Church members gave of their funds, clothing and other goods, and a number of professionals—from doctors to counselors—committed to giving of their skills as well.
We held a fantastic event at our church and hope that it will be the start of a new Adoption / Foster care ministry. In addition, three churches in Calgary have come together to share ideas, resources, and pray together for God’s guidance as He moves people to respond. God is moving, and we feel the winds of change blowing up here in Calgary… of course in Canada the winds of change are a lot colder; but people are slowly warming up to His calling!!!
More than 100 churches across Kenya celebrated Orphan Sunday 2011. Pastors emphasized the need to raise children in families vs. institutions, while emphasizing the need to preserve families and to build a culture of adoption within the Church.
Churches in Korea celebrated Orphan Sunday for the first time this year. One of the nation’s largest hosted Hope for Orphans to speak, raising a banner for the orphans of Korea and the region!
More than 300 churches in the Philippines signed up to participate in Orphan Sunday, from simple prayers for orphans to services centered on how we see God’s love for us in His love for orphans. At one site, in Bacolod City, local churches partnered with Alliance member Home for Good Foundation on two half-day adoption information forums for local believers. More than 130 people attended, most of them pastors and their wives. Many of them are just starting the process to become licensed foster parents, while many others were inquiring about adoption. A local attorney offered to provide pro-bono legal services for any pastors who want to adopt, which cuts costs for local adoption by 50% – 70%.
Myriad other churches in countries around the world participated as well. Local church partners of Alliance Member World Orphans celebrated Orphan Sunday from Iraq to India to Nicaragua. Local churches partnered with Alliance Member Forgotten Voices for events in Zimbabwe and Zambia. A traveling friend of ours traveling in South Africa on November 6 came across a random-seeming handbill announcing a local Orphan Sunday event nearby. In total, the Orphan Sunday website received visitors from 99 countries on Orphan Sunday! And this year was just the start of growth of the global vision…