"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I Peter 5:8
Here’s a sad fact: when it comes to orphans, the truth of this scripture is overwhelming. The enemy rapes, pillages, destroys, and devours the life of every single orphan he can get his hands on. That’s the kind of low life he is. He takes advantage of the orphan, because the little orphan girl is helpless to protect herself. There is no natural, parental covering, no spiritual covering, rarely even a community covering. They are caught, all alone, in a blizzard of abuse and they are exposed to all of the elements. So our enemy devours them.
To devour means to destroy something rapidly and completely. Yes, I’ve seen this too many times in places like Russia and Africa. Now, there are over 2 million children enslave to forced prostitution – this number has drastically increased in the last year. An estimated 171 million children are working in hazardous conditions and with dangerous machinery, and forced to work as slaves. Hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in armed conflict as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks, and sex slaves for armed groups. In many cases they have been forcibly abducted. If you want to be sickened to your stomach and be informed about how the enemy has devoured children, see UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report.
I firmly believe that the orphan is precious to God. He created them in His image, He loves them, and His heart is broken for them. His answer to this tragedy is YOU and me. We have to utilize our influence, our relationships, and our talents to fight this enemy. As long as we sit on our hands he will continue to unleash hell and savagely kill the innocent.
Dare we continue to just watch it happen?
"Many people have forgotten me. But I am God’s Child – and I would like to meet you."
“Hello! My name is Valya. I am 20 and I am from Kostroma, Russia. I’ve graduated from tech school 18 and right now I am looking for a job according to my profession. I am much honored to be able to tell about our beloved home where we have become one family. I go there like to a little paradise. Have you ever thought why our Ministry Center is called “Hope?"
Everyone who comes there receives hope that life isn’t over, it goes on. People start to believe in a better life and future. That’s what happened to me two years ago. I left the boarding school, had nothing, came to a place where no one was waiting for me. I realized then how hard it is not to have parents and to walk this life alone. Life at the orphanage is one thing and life in the world is something completely different. But there came a day when I met some good people on my way and they showed me the road to the place where I could get a help and find what I am looking for. I came to the Ministry Center and believe me or not but I did receive peace, care, love, faith and hope that God’s will will be done. It’s been two years since then and I keep coming to the place where I found God.
I go there with joy. I know that I’ll always be encouraged, helped, hugged, kissed. I didn’t so much love in my childhood as I see here now. The staff of the there are like mothers, fathers, grandmas, brothers and sisters for us. They take such good care of us and make sure we feel protected and secure. I thank God for this gift, for the place where orphan kids can get help, where they get understanding that they belong here on earth and that they are the same people – they just don’t have parents.
I’ve also met a lot of friends from America thru Children’s HopeChest. I love them all very much and am very thankful to them for not abandoning me. I’ve also been to a lot of camps. I really like family hours. I like to listen to American people tell their stories about their life.
You can do so many things when people love you at a place like this. You can play, you can do laundry, you can find somebody to talk to and you’ll always be listened to and encouraged, you can watch good movies, you can go to the dentist… It’s like a dream and all is done for us. I really respect all the staff from Children’s HopeChest. I wish them many many years."
Valya has a very interesting life story. She had been in the orphanage system since she was a preschooler. As a small child, she lived in one orphanage and then was transferred to a special curriculum boarding school where she spent 9 years. She didn’t have any choice as to where to go or study. So she was sent to one of the worst tech schools in the region to study interior decoration (nothing more than painting walls and putting up the wallpaper – a holding tank) for a year. She was the only girl to graduate – all the other girls left, got pregnant, and lived on the street. I visited her here and it was a literal nightmare.
She “survived” that year, with horrible living conditions and people breaking into her room and stealing the little she had. After graduation Valya came to Kostroma with no place to live and no place to go. She lived at the Ministry Center for a few months until CHC found her an apartment to share with another girl. CHC helped Valya to go to a different tech school for two years to study sewing. She just graduated and is working as a seamstress at one of the sewing companies in Kostroma. Sadly, her mother recently died because she was totally lost and her life consisted of nothing more than drinking and begging.
Now, Valya is doing very well. She is very sensible, purposeful, and has really good moral grounds. She openly admits that without Hopechest she would not have survived and made it in life. The very fact that someone loved her, gave her the strength to carry on.
This is really what life is about: Making a difference in the life of one orphan. Jesus told us in Matthew 25 how important this kind of ministry is, "As you’ve done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me!"
Wonder what I’m doing this week? Ministering with, and to, the next generation of LIONS!
And I’m loving it! It’s about orphans, church planting, and the nations. Want to come along?! These are our World Racers, theworldrace.org
Dream of a generation fully alive 9/14/2006
Posted by Seth Barnes
I feel a little crazy sharing this, but I’m consumed by this thing, so I have to throw it out there. You see, there is the dream I can’t shake. In my mind’s eye, I see a generation fully alive.
They live in community and work by teams. They are initiated into life in the Kingdom and know what it is to celebrate and minister on a daily basis.They have been deeply discipled and have experienced the walk of intimacy with the Father and the flow of ministry thru their fingers to broken people in their community and around the world.
They have been broken by the world’s pain and have abandoned the idols and adolescent amusements that used to keep them numb and ineffective. They have connected with widows and orphans in war-torn and AIDS-devastated places and understand what it costs to bring Jesus there. They have laid down their lives.
They have sold their earthly treasures for the pearl of great price, living simply and unencumbered so they can travel light. They are scattered across America and around the world. And in those places, they have awakened to their Kingdom identity and call. They have learned how to incarnate Christ in places where Hell had established a stronghold. They are building churches and orphanages. They are transforming their communities.
They are a generation that will cross over the Jordan to the promised land. They have their eye on the prize and are running hard after it.
I’ve seen the first fruits of this dream out on my lawn this week. They are amazing. I believe tens of thousands will follow after them.
The girl in the pink is the mom and the dad for her family. She finds the food, the water, all they need to survive. These children are known as ‘the head of the household.’ She’s about 9 years old and both of her parents have died from AIDS. Now, she’s trying to care for her little brother and sister – all alone.
Many days and nights there is nothing for any of them to eat. So, a man will come knocking on her door and offer her a loaf of bread in exchange for her body. She will have no choice but to accept – or starve. Tragically, this is too often the story for these children in Africa.
My goal is to make sure that in the places we work this never, ever happens. There will always be food and there will always be a safe place to sleep because of the churches, businesses and partners who are connected with Children’s HopeChest.
Please pray this prayer for the vulnerable children in Africa. Few people ever pray for them. It could be the difference between life and death:
We admit today, O Lord, the sorry state of the world. We have allowed hunger a poverty to exist so long that for millions it is the only way of life they have ever known. We have allowed too many children to pass from this life without tasting of the blessings that we take for granted every day.
Help us to see the world differently. Help us not to despair over the world’s poverty but to seek ways to end it. You told us the poor would always be with us, and for that reason we must open our hands and our hearts. Keep us from the callous unconcern that tends to take hold of those who have what they need for safety and security. Stir us with a vision of your own work in the world, and how you chose to do that work among us.
We pray for the children in Africa. Protect them from evil, nourish them, guide them by Your Holy Spirit and send your people to rescue them.