One frequent expression of our deepest prayer at CAFO is this: the local church in every nation known as the primary answer for the orphans of that place.
That vision may seem far on the horizon. But what I saw last week in Guatemala reminded that it’s possible. More than 400 Christians from across the country – many of them pastors and other key influencers – gathered at the Alianza Cristiana para los Huerfanos Summit. They explored together in serious fashion how they could become the answer for Guatemala’s orphans.
The speakers included Alex and Aixa de Lopez, who are considered among Guatemala’s most vibrant Christian leaders. The Lopezes, along with other pioneering believers, have violated their culture’s taboo against adoption. And they are inviting others to do the same.
Many Guatemalan friends have shared with me that when infertility forces families to adopt, Guatemalan women will sometimes even “fake” pregnancies to conceal adoption. But the Lopezes have welcomed two daughters out of local orphanages
into their family, alongside their biological children. “It’s just a little reflection of how God has loved us,” Aixa said to me. “That’s much more powerful than the assumptions and biases of our culture.”
Likewise, many CAFO member organizations are working closely with Guatemalan churches to embrace orphaned children in other ways also: family preservation projects…innovative foster care to bring children from orphanages into caring homes… mentoring relationships for youth aging out of care…church-based supports for families that have recently received their children back from orphanages…and much more.
Certainly, there will always be orphans this side of heaven. But imagine a day when everyone knows that wherever there is an orphan, there are also Christians nearby willing to do whatever necessary to meet that child’s greatest needs – whether fostering or adopting or mentoring or family reunification.
If the good seeds that were so effectively sown and cultivated at Saturday’s Summit are any indication, I suspect the Guatemalans will be showing us all what it can look like in action over the years to come.
No doubt it will always be messy. And always imperfect. But, it will blaze with the light of God’s love like little else on earth could do. That’s a vision worth praying for…and worth striving for.