Guest Post from CAFO International Orphan Sunday Director Jodi Jackson Tucker
When CAFO first promoted Orphan Sunday in 2009, we could never have imagined how it would find its way into remote corners of our nation in such meaningful and impactful ways.
One of the expressions of that came through a report from our coordinator in Maine, Philip Dubois, who has volunteered in that capacity for three years.
Phil shared that despite being coordinator for the least-churched state in the country, he was overjoyed this year to see 15 churches in Maine observe Orphan Sunday, like First Parish Congregational Church and Four Square Church in Skowhegan.
As many of these churches are small, rural churches with elderly congregations, Phil’s strategy has been to call upon these churches to pray for the children in the Maine Heart Gallery. He created prayer cards and put copies of Heart Gallery photos and prayers cards in many churches across the state, asking congregants to pray specifically in the month leading up to Orphan Sunday for:
– The child’s physical, emotional, psychological, educational, & spiritual well-being.
– The adoptive parents God has chosen.
– Preparation of the parents for the child, and preparation of the child for the parents.
– Wisdom, peace, and patience for those involved in the child’s care: DHHS caseworkers, teachers, lawyer, judge, guardian ad litem, therapists, foster parents and group home staff.
– Discernment in matching the right child with the right parents.
– Adjustment & bonding as the child moves into a forever home.
– A smooth legal process as adoption progresses.
– Availability of resources needed.
– Acceptance and support for the new family, along with their unique traits.
– The child to grow up as Jesus did, “In wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
– The parent/s will raise the child according to God’s word.
-The child will grow into a productive and responsible Christian adult.
Through this simple idea, Phil had every child in the Maine Heart Gallery being prayed for leading up to Orphan Sunday! In fact, the idea became so popular that he had to create a waiting list of churches that wanted to pray for children!
One story that touched Phil deeply came from an older lady, a school bus driver that told him that every morning after her route, she would stop at the church and walk around and pray for the children on the walls of the church. She said she had found great meaning to her day in this simple practice.
Through this prayer outreach, Phil knows of at least one child that has been adopted as a result of a family’s heart being moved from participating in this activity for Orphan Sunday 2013.
It is so reassuring to see how our simple offerings can bring the most glory to our Father. God often uses the small and less known places and our small and meager acts of obedience to do some of his greatest works. Thank you to Phil Dubois and the 193 US volunteer coordinators that made this year’s observance of Orphan Sunday possible in our nation.