This Sunday is Orphan Sunday and its foster-focused expression, Stand Sunday. What began in a humble church in Zambia will echo in more than 90 countries this year.
The growing reach is amazing. But just as beautiful are the individual stories. It’s one teen in Kentucky…one pastor in Mexico…one mom in Minnesota…one dad in Uganda – each rallying their church…and, in some cases, many churches.
Catherine Rivas is a young woman in Puerto Rico. She longed to help more Christians on the island step up for orphans and vulnerable children.
So this summer, Catherine became one of CAFO’s 200+ volunteer Orphan Sunday Coordinators now at work across the U.S. and around the world.
Catherine was supported by veteran Coordinator Angie Dunlevy in Maryland. CAFO’s Spanish materials and website – translated by volunteers in Guatemala – helped too.
Now, thanks to Catherine, more than 15 churches in Puerto Rico will be among thousands observing Orphan Sunday around the world.
Each of these congregations will worship our God, who “sets the lonely in families” (Ps. 68:5-6). And they’ll point to ways each of us can reflect that same love.
Last week, the Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Carlos Nunez, joined in too. He issued a public call, urging all Puerto Ricans to be part of Orphan Sunday!
You see, Nunez himself was adopted. He expressed, “I am a product of that immense gift of love we call adoption. Thanks to that love…I am here today.”
That’s just one of myriad stories of ordinary people, like you and me. They’re using their gifts to raise a banner for vulnerable children in response to God’s love.
I think of pastor Daniel in Uganda. Thanks to his faithful efforts over many years, this year 989 churches across Uganda will remember God’s heart for orphans and how we all can play a part.
I think of Jewish friends who’ve created Orphan Shabbat to call others across Israel to step up for local children in need of foster care, adoption or mentoring.
I think of the world-class athletes that have produced a very moving series of messages for Orphan Sunday – each directed to orphans and other children around the world (you’ve got to see these):
Yes, the need is great. But when we join together – one day, one purpose – our united voice echoes round the globe.
And as we’ve seen, year after year, when God’s people hear that voice…and encounter God’s loving heart afresh…something deep stirs. Deep enough to change families. To change churches. To change the destiny of children, too.
Thanks be to God for those little stories that make the big difference.