It’s been amazing to read the stories coming in from Orphan Sunday events across the country. Here are just thirty snapshots of the remarkable and diverse reports we’re receiving. (We easily could have shared many times that number, but wanted to keep it to a somewhat manageable number!)
Orphan Sunday Reports from Across America
Orphan Sunday here spurred an amazing amount of engagement. Forty-five individuals came forward to volunteer with our various projects—including enough to complete the start up of our Safe Families program launch. In addition, many families committed to seriously consider adoption and foster care, and we raised about $2,500 for our Lifesong for Orphans grant fund for adoptions. People are embracing the Orphan Movement!
Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, WA
We included a sponsorship opportunity at end of webcast and sponsored 12 kids in Liberia. Received over $300 in donations for our work in Honduras.
First Baptist Church of Harvester in St. Charles, MO
Last year after Orphan , a young father expressed to me how touched he was. This year, he and his wife are in the process of foster to adopt. Also this year, a single woman told me after the service that she would pursue becoming a CASA and foster youth mentor. We are building an adoption culture which will soon embrace another child that will be coming home from China this year. We were able to encourage people to begin praying each day at 1:47 to pray down the number of 147 million orphans.
The Shepherd’s House in Thousand Oaks, CA
As a continuation of Orphan Sunday, around 30 students signed up to do a vow of silence for those who have no voice. We are starting this event at 12 am and it will go until 6 pm. We’ll be wearing t-shirts that have statistics and Bible verses about orphans and the fatherless. Thank you for the initiative of the Orphan Sunday! We hope to continue hosting events at Dordt College through the years!
Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA
We have a number of couples in our congregation who have adopted orphans and foster kids, and they were SO excited, blessed, and affirmed that we were involved with Orphan Sunday for the 1st time.
Military Street Baptist Church in Houlton, ME
We are a church of about 100. We had 26 walkers in our Jug-A-Thon raising money for well-drilling in Africa! Our youth group did a skit for Sun AM service. It excites me to be getting more people involved. Personally, we dedicated our newly adopted daughter from Bulgaria to the Lord on Orphan Sunday.
Hansen Assembly of God in Hansen, ID
I would have to say the most encouraging thing has been how God has moved throughout the church leaders as they prepared for Orphan Sunday. It is truly amazing to see how their heart for the orphan has grown from the time I first met with them this summer until Orphan Sunday. God has seriously done a work in their hearts and I know that He will use that to give their congregations a greater heart for the orphan. It is has been so encouraging being a part of the planning process for this amazing day! All of the pastors had encouraging things to share with me about how their congregations were moved by Orphan Sunday, but I was most encouraged by what God did in the hearts of the pastors!
Classic City Community Church in Athens, GA
Grace Christian Academy dedicated a chapel service to learning about foster care, adoption and orphans—and how people can help. Emily Nienhuis spoke to the children about her experiences fostering over 20 children over the years. She now has four children adopted from foster care, and is also fostering twin 17 month old girls. Emily shared her story, showed a video, played some songs and had the children role play what it might be like when a child enters the foster care system. As the children left chapel, each child was given a picture and biography of a child or sibling group currently waiting for an adoptive family in the State of Missouri. Each child was asked to pray for the children to find permanent families. A few days after the chapel service I was approached by two different parents, who said they were informed by their children that they should become foster or adoptive parents! One 12 year old girl approached me and practically begged me to talk to her father about adopted a child from the foster care system. God is good! God will use the voice of children to help other children!
Grace Christian Academy in Maryland Heights, MO
We had an amazing event for our first OS at our church. We shared our homemade Orphan’s Table meal, and lots of testimonies and scripture. There were at least 3 families who are interested in Foster care, and some others who are praying what the Lord would have them to do. The message was clear, and the seed was planted, I am very excited to see what our Father will do! Thanks for the resources and ideas for OS, we are already talking about what to do next year! God Bless!
West Salem Baptist Church in West Salem, WI
This was the first Orphan Sunday our church has participated in, and we bathed it in prayer before and during. In a church that is typically headsmart, but not always heartfelt, it was such a blessing to speak with many who said they felt the Holy Spirit moving. Many people were interested in finding out more about what they can do; where they can give; who they can partner with! We’re hoping that this event was a catalyst for change and revival within the church that will lead to within our walls and throughout the world.
Grace Covenant Church in Las Cruces, NM
The Nieuwenhuis family celebrated Orphan Sunday at home—remembering God’s grace through their two daughters Jenilyn and Maelynne Rose, both adopted from the foster system! Through this, God is using our family to talk more about His heart for the widow and the orphan in Sunnybrook Community Church.
Nieuwenhuis family in Sioux City, IA
We were able to bring together many foster care and adoption families in our County to begin networking resources with area agencies with our church. We had 250 in attendance, families and agency staff and our church staff. Very positive to this being an annual event. Then on Sunday morning, 1,000 people in our services heard stories from our foster care and adoption families.
Urbancrest Baptist Church in Lebanon, OH
Last year, through the Orphan Sunday event, we had 3 families decide to take the step to become foster/adoptive parents. This year, we had 2 families decide to call the very next day to begin the process of foster care certification, after having thought about it for many years but never actually taking that step. We have only done Orphan Sunday for 2 years, but the result is powerful as God moves through an event like this!
Oasis Christian Church in Pueblo West, CO
The most amazing thing that happened for me, among many awesome things is a man came to me and said, “Thank you for helping me understand for the first time that I can’t just write a check… The Gospel goes…”
Calvary Baptist Church in Norwich, NY
This event was a kick-off event for a new church orphan ministry. The church has four Worship services and this was the first time people throughout the church had an opportunity to connect with others who shared a passion for orphans. One young woman who came to our exhibit tables informed us that she was from Ukraine and that she worked for 7 years in an orphanage there and she has a heart for orphans and wants to get involved in the orphan ministry. No one knew of her background until Orphan Sunday. Another woman came up to us and said, “I want to babysit for foster parents!” One man came up to us and said, “I’m retiring, effective tomorrow, I need something to do. Where is the information on trafficking?” A mother approached us and wanted information on orphanages so that she could take her kids overseas for a year of orphan ministry experience. The current orphan ministry team excitedly promised to each other that they would together attend Summit VIII in 2012. At each of the four services, prayer was lifted up for the orphan ministry team and the orphans around the world.
Living Oaks Community Church in Newbury Park, CA
We were thrilled to see our advertising and marketing efforts as a ‘community-wide’ event bring pastors and members from other churches in the area and begin to let people know a ministry is growing at Real Life Ministries, especially as we try to meet the needs of families who have chosen adoption and foster care. The journey is filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows. And we saw families unite, break down in tears together, make new connections with other Christian families who have chosen to reach out to the fatherless. We were thrilled with 80+ people attending. We were thrilled to get the word out and now have 24+ people attending our parenting workshop (using Dr. Karyn Purvis’ Empowered to Connect: Insights and Gifts). It was a great starting point!
Post Falls, ID
A Q&A session was held after the service, where 5 families came to learn more about Foster Care. Inspired by our first event last year, we are also pursuing a global orphan project as a church body.
Pickerington Church of the Nazarene in Pickerington, OH
Greeneville Community Church had over 35 on stage who had been adopted. We had the Dept of Children’s Services along with all the private agencies in our region represented after our service for folks to get more information about local orphan care and adoption. It was a huge day and God was glorified!
Greenville Community Church in Greeneville, TN
This was the first ever OS at our church. We had 3 services at 2 different campuses and the whole service was dedicated to OS. At the end of the service we announced the start of a new ministry at RCC called OrphanCare and took an offering to seed an Adoption Fund that is being hosted by LifeSong. We also had many people sign up to be a part of the OrphanCare ministry. Overall, it was a very emotional and moving service and people are responding to the Lord’s call. To God be the Glory!
Riverside Community Church in Peoria, IL
During the Orphan’s Table meal we were reminded that “this is not taste testing at Costco.” We are here to participate in an experience that real children all over the world feel fortunate to experience once a day, every day.
Billings Vineyard Church in Billings, MT
Through last year’s (2010) Orphan Sunday, God called 1 church member to be an attorney for orphans; planned 2 mission trips to care for orphans; called 2 church members to serve in Africa for 3 months; raised just under 10K for local adoptions; drew 4 families to become foster parents; drew 2 families to adopt children. On yesterday’s Orphan Sunday (2011), we focused on creating ways to sere orphans locally, to raise awareness in our home community. We have targeted a Christian group home to provide Christmas for all the children. We will also be visiting those children soon to host a fun day, like a cookout. This will provide our people opportunities to serve the fatherless face to face.
The Journey Church in Fernandina Beach, FL
It was great to see people come that were completely new to orphan care. It’s exciting to see them get excited!!!
Christian Missionary Alliance in Elizabethtown, PA
Orphan Sunday at Twin City Bible Church in Urbana, IL, involved the entire church. Our pastor shared from the Word about God’s love for the orphan and that to love God means loving these children. Kids from our children’s ministry brought up shoes at various times during the service representing the amount of children that became orphans just during our service. Our kids choir also sang along with ‘Children of God’ – beautiful…. A simple orphan meal luncheon after church highlighted local and global ways to care for vulnerable children. The church also made a VIDEO of adoptive and foster parents, and adoptees and fostered children sharing how God has worked in their lives. It was an amazing Sunday!
Twin City Bible Church in Urbana, IL
We had a lot of families interested in orphan care, adoption, and foster care in our church/community where there isn’t a lot of that going on. We had families come to our church because they saw it on the Orphan Sunday website and were thankful to get connected. Thank you that was our first attempt and we are praying it will be bigger next year!
Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualitin, OR
We celebrated two children adopted through our local foster care program, two adoptions in progress, and the 50 or so foster kids families in our church have hosted this year. We are also encouraged to be involved in some way…if not fostering or adopting, then being a CASA advocate for local children.
College Heights Baptist Church in Casper, WY
As described in the Houston Chronicle online, Houston’s First Baptist Church built their event with interviews of church members who were involved in caring for through adoption, foster care and globally. At the end of the service, everyone went to a “prayer fence” of chicken wire and rustic wood hung with 200 pictures of orphans overseas and adoptable children in Houston. There, people prayed for orphans worldwide and then were encouraged to take a picture with the children on the fence and to continue to pray for them. There were also Response Tables in the foyer that represented Adoption, Foster and Orphan Mission Trips where people could get more information, talk to others and ask questions. It was a powerful time, very moving for many people and the response was very real and genuine.
First Baptist Church in Houston, TX
We had a guest speaker from Orphan Care Alliance who did an amazing job. Our youth group sang a beautiful song about adoption by Debbie Rice and we played a short video about the church being God’s answer to the orphan plight. We also showed Faces of Hope Sunday evening. These were very simple things to coordinate, but we already have 2 families interested in knowing more about adoption! What we think is simple, God can turn into extraordinary!!
New Brandenburg SBC in Brandenburg, KY
We had about ten families sign up as interested in a follow-up meeting to learn more about adoption and foster care. Also, towards the end of the webcast, when “I am Free” was played, three 4-year-olds started dancing on our stage in the middle of a set designed to look like a lonely orphan’s home. Two of the three girls were adopted, one from Ethiopia and one domestically (half Puerto Rican and half Caucasian), and the third is half Colombian/half Pilipino. These three girls represented the majority of the continents of the world and were dancing to set orphans free. It was beautiful! (See the video here!)
Kenosha First Assembly in Kenosha, WI
We basically had four separate things that happened over the course of the weekend. A training, the OS video presentation during our church service, dedications for nine adopted children and an informational luncheon regarding adoption. Showing the Orphan Sunday video and asking for those who had been touched by adoption in their own lives to stand gave the chance to see the impact of adoption. So powerful. The dedication of nine children from five families had several powerful moments when older adopted children spoke of why God had placed them in their family. Our pastor began crying and by the end the families were getting a standing ovation with all glory going to God. Beautiful. At least two families that aren’t currently involved in adoption or fostering attended our informational luncheon and are planning on coming to our “If you were Mine” classes that start tonight! Thank you so much for the vision you share. Thank you for providing resources. Thank you for the encouragement. Being a homeschooling mom to six special needs kids doesn’t leave a lot of time for developing the orphan care ministry at our church, but God takes our little and uses it for HIS glory.
Fellowship Bible Church in Longview, TX
We had many people impacted by the event and the pastors’ sermon on seeking justice. There were individuals who stepped forward to offer financial resources to a family who is pursuing adoption, and at least one couple step out in faith to say they will pursue adoption. It was a challenging and encouraging day of worship! Praise God!
Southbridge Fellowship Church in Raleigh, NC