Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ethiopia 2011: Does visiting make a difference?

Throughout the Scriptures, we see God's heart for the poor, the disenfranchised, and especially the orphans and widows. A small sample:
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18)
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. (Psalm 68:5)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27) 
Thus, it is the mission of Visiting Orphans (VO) to arrange for team after team to make international visits, loving and caring for children just because they need to see God's love through us. Other missions focus on digging wells, building shelter, and other manual labor. Those are vitally important. But so is this work. And the story of the community where we visited is a great example of the fact that it does make a difference.

I made my first visit a year ago, and God's movement was already well underway. Here is a short video (embedded from having already been posted on YouTube) that will convey it better than I ever could:

So God was beginning to use local believers, and then he began to lead outsiders in. To provide what God knew they needed. And to let us be part of his work.

Between January 2010 and my summer visit last year, VO began to bring teams to this community. From that, he has:

  • Led several to invest their lives there full time,
  • Raised up even more local believers to be leaders in the community,
  • Began a summer program to expose the kids there to loving instruction and Bible teaching,
  • Through sponsorships, given many of the children an opportunity to go to school in an environment with three square meals, a bed, and needed discipline.
And so I returned, and saw the results. Five days of spending time with these children, and seeing the difference that God is making in their lives. There is no way to go and not be changed. Yes, as always, God knew what he was talking about. Visiting makes a difference.

Next post: Home visits

No comments:

Post a Comment