Guest Post by Jodi Jackson Tucker, International Director of Orphan Sunday
November always brings us an extra measure of thanksgiving as testimonies pour in about the impact of Orphan Sunday. It’s hard to imagine that this simple idea, born in a remote church in Zambia, has now grown to change children’s lives in 90 nations!
To let you share in our joy, we’ve compiled a small sampling of the beautiful witness of the Father’s love in the heart of the global church through Orphan Sunday 2017. We know you played a role and we are rejoicing with you.
All across America, hundreds of churches created testimonies like this one from Mississippi, where 30 new churches participated…“Dear pastor, we felt led to come visit your church this morning. You didn’t know this but I have had a foster care application for over 2 weeks and didn’t know if I wanted to fill it out or not. After your prayer this morning for the orphan and foster child, I will go home and fill out the application.”
For children in foster care, “Stand Sunday” found it’s voice this year in an idea that went viral…one chair representing standing for a waiting child. “Not everyone decides to foster, but I fiercely believe that every single person should do something. Take a Stand. Could you imagine if everyone just did something?”
Across Latin America, Domingo Para El Huerfano was embraced in Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras and more! “This time we achieved the best participation. 12 cities and 40 churches joined us to celebrate Sunday for Orphans in Colombia.”
We witnessed observances in Europe with a focus on Unaccompanied Minor Refugee Children. Churches in Switzerland, Italy, France and beyond offered prayers and opportunities to serve. “I made a prayer course for people to go from one post to the next. When they are sitting on the floor they either sit in ‘a boat’ or the desert and pray for safe journeys for the young refugees…they call Christians through prayer and with little toy figures they build families that take refugees into their homes.”
The Middle East emerged with the launch of Orphan Shabbat in Israel and Orphan Sunday in Jordan. “At the 12th of November and for the first time in Jordan, churches united to pray for orphans. More than 25 evangelical churches were praying for orphans, and preaching about the heart of God towards them. The number of people who showed interest in this ministry was amazing. Great work is yet to come.”
One story that touched the heart was learning of the adoption on Orphan Sunday of an 18-year old boy in the Philippines. This nation being transformed by turning its heart toward street children and orphans. “The most amazing happening this Orphan Sunday 2017 is the coming home of aged-out William to our family… on November 12, we had a welcoming party with our neighborhood for William!
Finally, in Africa, expressions both large and small spoke reflected the local church reaching local children. “We visited some homes to give gifts to vulnerable children and orphans. We also gave street kids joy by giving them small gifts. It was wonderful.”
And from Ethiopia, we received this amazing report! “The fire of Orphan Sunday is spreading to the nation of Ethiopia, where 52 churches hosted and 26,556 people heard the message.”
But some of the most touching expressions were children praying for children, in places like India and Pakistan, where so many find themselves without a safe and loving family. “In Bangladesh, we listed 244 churches that were observing a day of prayer for orphans.”
And finally, we want to leave you with this video testimony from Zimbabwe, an unlikely place where adoption is not the norm. A couple tells of hearing an Orphan Sunday message in 2015…“It got us talking about why couldn’t we adopt? We saw the hand of God in this…Our daughter is so much a part of us now, we can’t imagine her having come any other way.”
If God can write stories like these, we can only imagine what might be possible as we look toward Orphan Sunday on November 13, 2018.
We are eternally grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who work tirelessly year-round to promote and organize this event. May you be richly blessed knowing that children found hope and a family through your efforts!