The thing God used to draw our family to Togo was orphan ministry. We are so excited to engage in discipleship and church planting, but our hearts are for children and, specifically, orphans. Let me explain…
When I was pregnant with Clara, the Lord started impressing on me a desire to adopt. I don’t know why. Our lives were already crazy and we were fixing to add another little one to the mix. I had crazy heartburn and wasn’t sleeping. We were trying to save for Clara’s birth and Allen’s schooling. We had every reason to say, “No” to the Lord…
… other than He is the Lord. And Scripture is VERY CLEAR about how we, as believers, are to view orphans. For example:
Y’all, God’s heart is for those who are alone. Lonely. Forgotten. Orphans. Widows. Those without a family. So our hearts should be for them, too.
So as I was pregnant with Clara, praying for her to grow strong and healthy, I started praying for those orphaned babies, too. I cried for the mamas who carried their babies to term and then gave them up for adoption, knowing that was the best course of action for them. I cried for the kids who have no earthly father… and no one to introduce them to the Heavenly Father.
So I turned to Allen one night and said, “I think we should adopt internationally.”
The Lord began to work on his heart, too, and before the year was up, we had settled into life with a newborn, opened an “Adoption” bank account, and began researching different agencies and countries.
Then we went to Ghana, West Africa for a mission trip with our church. While we were there, we finalized our “imaginings” for 2018 and, at the top of the list, was to begin the adoption process. But the next day, our friends came to us and said, “Hey, ABWE is looking to open an orphanage in Togo and they need directors… what do you think?”
And it was as if the Lord was saying, “You want to provide orphan care to one baby… what about caring for countless children in another country?!”
And we said, “Yes, Lord.”
So here we are.
If you’re still with me (I know that was a long back-story), I want to share an update about the orphan ministry.
We bring this up today because Monday, November 12, is World Orphans Day. And what better time of year to bring attention and light to the orphan crisis around the world?
As we mentioned in this post, ABWE was gifted an orphanage facility next door to a Bible Institute several years ago. Currently, the building is used periodically for meetings and conferences. Most recently, a group of Sunday School teachers from churches in Kara and the surrounding area were at the facility for training! This was very effective in equipping them with resources and skills to continue developing disciples in their home churches.
Pastor Moussa (pictured below) has a passion for helping orphans and vulnerable children. He currently oversees the facility and ensures that the building and grounds are kept in shape and safe. Additionally, he hired a young man named Alex who sleeps at the facility to provide further security.
One of our ministry partners, Joan, is currently in Kara doing research with Pastor Moussa. ABWE’s vision is to work with local churches to place infant orphans (ages 0-2) with believing families who will raise them to be the next generation of Christian leaders… but is that a true need in the country? Is it a culturally appropriate model? How are other orphanages in the region run effectively, safely, and for the good of the children? How can we marry ABWE’s vision with Pastor Moussa’s passion?
We are holding this ministry with open hands because, to be honest, we don’t know what Joan’s research (or time) will reveal. We only know that an opportunity is there that aligns with what God has burdened our family for. We are willing to follow Him there, knowing that things may not turn out how we foresee them.
So as you think of this ministry, please pray. Specifically, pray for:
- Joan’s safety as she travels around Togo doing research
- Wisdom in how to move forward with this ministry
- The Lord’s will to be accomplished in His timing
- For the churches in Togo (and here in America) to catch the Lord’s vision for caring for orphans. There is so much need and we have so much capacity to help.