In a year that often felt heavy with darkness, glimpses of light shone all the more brightly.
That was certainly the case with Orphan Sunday and Stand Sunday 2020, all across America and around the world.
The theme this year could not have been more apt: Be the Light. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, expressions of believers Being the Light for vulnerable children spanned all walks of life around the globe. From virtual gatherings and advocacy … to in-person events … to hands-on service … God’s people answered Jesus’ call:
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
Catch a glimpse of many expressions of this light below — championing care for orphans, adoption, foster care and family strengthening!
Believers in over 120 nations joined in this year’s invitation to reflect God’s special love for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Children praying for children was one of the most powerful expressions. Across Texas, hundreds of children received the name of one waiting child in the foster care system and prayed for these children daily in their prayers. One Christian school superintendent shared: “The children felt like they were giving to others something from within themselves that they didn’t have to ask their parents in order to give.”
In Latin America, devastating hurricanes and economic hardship joined the pandemic to bring hard-pressed times, but across the region, believers in 10 nations rallied and reached orphans like never before seen.
Even when unable to gather in churches, individual families participated together — like the Posada family of California, who celebrated the Be the Light theme at home with candles, written prayer requests for children and more. A short time later, they met (masks and all) at the courthouse to finalize the adoption of their son from foster care.
Orphan Sunday Arabia brought the message as 7 nations in the Arab world participated.
A soccer team in Syria even rallied to share their expression of Being the Light!
And Orphan Shabbat in Israel engaged believers with the second year of “Prayers from Zion.”
Meanwhile, many new networks across the US joined in with Orphan Sunday and Stand Sunday adding to its impact.
State governments joined in as well, from the Missouri Department of Social Services “shining a light” on adoption to the video below from Governor Stitt of Oklahoma
In India, expressions of “Be the Light” shown in a week of virtual events, educating the nation about orphan care and adoption, as well as distribution of lanterns to widows and orphans living without lights.
Small businesses embraced the theme as a way to advocate for children, like this car dealership in Massachusetts that used a simple advertisement to urge its customers to “Be The Light” for waiting children!
Across Africa, 26+ nations found ways to bless the orphans in their congregations, despite extreme challenges of the pandemic. In Ghana alone, 191 churches brought care to their most vulnerable. As one Ghanian leaded described, “I can categorically confirm that many church leaders … are responding — showing understanding, love and concern for the plight of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Glory be to God Most High.”
In Ohio, believers led a campaign on Stand Sunday to engage churches to give Christmas gift cards to every child in its foster care system.
We also witnessed tremendous growth across Europe as the body of Christ rose up to care for the vulnerable amidst the pressing challenges and restrictions. Many new nations translated the “Be The Light” video for use in their churches and organizations.
Finally, our hearts were filled by this beautiful glimpse from Asia sharing how Orphan Sunday has impacted many churches in the country. A surge of adoptive families includes one church in the Philippines that has received dozens of “aged out” children from orphanages into families.