Last Sunday night, churches across Fresno, CA banded together for a city-wide rally. “Speak Up” called Christians to take up the cause of the fatherless. It was an unforgettable night, spanning from pressing needs in the local foster system to orphans worldwide. I have no doubt that seeds planted and choices spurred that night will impact lives for years, even generations.
The couple that spearheaded it all, Brodie and Jen Jahanson, spoke only briefly. But I loved what they shared…a reminder of how small things can spark big choices…that then echo on and on.
With registration for Summit IX opening this week, it was also a great reminder of how a 2-day conference can impact the trajectory of a life. I asked Brodie if he’d be willing to re-share his story, and this is what he wrote:
My wife and I and our 3 children are just about to travel to China to bring home our 2-year old daughter. We have been in the process of adopting her for the last year and a half. Through this season of waiting, God led Jen and I to go to the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit for the first time in Orange County last year.
We were blown away by how powerfully God moved in our hearts there! He spoke so clearly to me one morning using Proverbs 31:8. I usually don’t ready Proverbs 31 since it is about “The Virtuous Woman,” but this morning I was led there in Scripture and I saw a verse I had never read before: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
I was wrecked. I knew God was calling me to speak up for the children who could not speak for themselves. As we traveled home, this verse continued to be pressed on my heart. The next night at church softball, I asked the guys on my team to pray for me – I was heavy hearted and I knew God was asking me to do something – I just wasn’t sure what exactly it was.
The very next morning, Mike Hahn, from His Little Feet (whom we had met at The Summit) called me and asked if we could host a performance of His Little Feet in our town. I knew that this was just one way that I could help “speak up” for orphans in the way that God was asking me to.
By God’s grace, we contacted churches and media and within 6 days had an awesome performance at our church where many in our community were moved to action.
Later, a few of us got together and decided that this year we would do a city-wide event and include all the local churches. We had our first “Speak Up” event here in Fresno, CA last week. We had 6 main churches in town come together and support this event. Many local bodies are taking up the cause of the fatherless in our town and God is moving our local faith community as one in Him.
We are excited to see what God will do to make His Name great as He draws many to care for these children whom He loves so much. We are thankful for all that we learned and all that God did at The Summit last year. Not only were we equipped and refreshed as adoptive parents, but we also connected with so many people and great organizations that will be great resources to us as we travel this wonderful road. We cannot wait to be a part of what God does at future Summits!
Amen to that, Brodie and Jen! May God accomplish all that He has put in your hearts, and even more.