I just returned from meeting with about 120 ministry leaders in Kyrgyzstan, each passionate about caring for orphans and desiring to see the local church rise on behalf of the fatherless of their country. This was exciting for me to see, because it showed without a doubt that there are champions there – orphan advocates that will remain to work with the churches, share the topics presented, and stand with their brethren as Christians are called to adopt, foster, mentor and care for orphans and vulnerable children in their own communities.
But I’m also reminded that simply inspiring the church – without offering solid next steps, connections with local issue experts, and partnerships with experienced practitioners – can actually end up hurting children and families. Our intent in catalyzing local movements is always to help the local situation with orphans by encouraging local Christians toward care. Yet that care should also be rooted in best practices, supported by evidence-based models and guided by experienced practitioners who can assist with complex situations and processes. Within Kyrgyzstan, I am very pleased to see solid models, best practices, and practitioners who are willing to share their expertise with the church and other organizations.
Over the next year, in the countries where CAFO is directly engaged, we will be connecting reputable Christian NGO’s with local-church movement leadership to assist with building capacity, training families and social workers, and ensuring excellence in orphan care practices. In some cases, this will be as easy as introducing people to one another, and in others it may take some time to develop relationships, build potential partnerships, and lay a solid foundation for the movement. All of this strives to commit every effort to excellence in ministry, ultimately bringing glory to God.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:9,12 NIV
As you grow the movement in your own countries, I highly encourage you to connect with the local Christian NGO’s, learn best practices, and commit to serving with excellence in all things. Through this, may others in your communities be a witness to God’s glory, and even come to know him as Savior.