Sixteen years ago, the simple idea for an “Orphan Sunday” was born in a small church in Lusaka, Zambia. Since 2002, it has grown from a local observance within a few churches to a vision that impacts children’s lives across the globe — with local events taking place in 94 countries this year!
What a picture of the fruit seen when God’s people “leave logos and egos at the door” to join in a vision bigger than any of us could achieve alone!
Only in Heaven can the true impact be measured, but we want to share with you here just a few of the amazing expressions seen in 2018.
Surely one of the most beautiful expressions this year came from Israel, where Orphan Shabbat was launched for the first time in 20 locations across the Holy Land.
In nearby Jordan, believers rallied to pray for Jordanian orphans and vulnerable children. As reported by leaders in Jordan, “Nearly 80 churches participated and the feedback was extremely encouraging, despite many obstacles we face. This was an eye-opening event for the people of Jordanian society.”
In Europe, new nations came onboard this year in miraculous numbers, including Croatia, Lithuania, Serbia, Germany, Macedonia, and the Netherlands, joining Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and the UK in the observance of Orphan Sunday.
In Kiev, Ukraine, leaders from representing Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Charismatic and Seventh Day Adventist churches gathered for the “Day of Prayer for Orphans.” These leaders represent 32,000 churches in Ukraine. This wonderful re-cap video is an inspiration for the world.
In Asia, Orphan Sunday in the Philippines centered on the theme, “Sons and Daughters.” Local government officials joined in to honor and encourage the role of local churches. Filipino leaders reported, “With all of the collaboration of advocates, we engaged 213 churches plus 5 churches in Singapore. Praise the Lord!”
Meanwhile, the island territory of Guam joined in the observance as well!
In Latin America, Puerto Rico burst into participation with 24 churches hosting activities and events. The president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez, joined in urging all Puerto Ricans to participate. Click Here to Read the Article
Christians in Mexico leveraged Orphan Sunday to launch a whole month of foster care and adoption promotional activities, and this gripping video from Guatemala needs no translation in any language.
Hundreds of churches throughout East and West Africa united on Orphan Sunday to change culture and expectations for the orphan. Some raised simple offerings for the orphans and widows of the church, in the same spirit of the first Orphan Sunday. And from Mozambique comes this humbling report: “We are taking some help buckets, Scripture and loving letters of encouragement to 98 families in N Mozambique, victims of violence … more than 1000 homes have been burned and hundreds murdered, some beheaded. Families are caring for orphans, and as in all war zones, many sleep in the bush to hide from the insurgents. These are very troubled times, yet many churches are celebrating Orphan Sunday and trying to specifically help children orphaned through violence. We are praying for Orphan Sunday in your countries, and it is a great encouragement to the church here in Mozambique.”
And finally from Bangladesh, we received this amazing note of encouragement: “You will be glad to hear that this Year 2018 over 350 Churches, Denominations and Christian Organizations Celebrated Orphan Sunday with different activities, programs and prayers for the Fatherless. We praise God that since 2013, Orphan Sunday is celebrated every year in our Country and now it became a Movement for the Fatherless. We are grateful to see the involvement, passion, and prayer from all Churches for Orphan Sunday.”
As Orphan Sunday becomes the spark of “a movement for the fatherless” in country after country is cause to rejoice. We are so encouraged by the way this simple idea is changing hearts and lives around the world.
All of this wouldn’t be possible without that beautiful unity that Jesus prayed for on his last night with his disciples. As part of the global CAFO community — whether organization or church, family or individual — you play an indispensable part. Thank you for helping make this seismic impact possible all over the world. As Jonathan from India wrote: “Thank you CAFO for introducing us to Orphan Sunday as Zambia’s gift!”