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"You are the defender of orphans ... Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless."
Psalm 10:14, 17
Every family is a gift from God. That includes the family you came from, the family you've created and the institution of family. It's worthy of every ounce of attention, effort and care you can apply to it. Our primary responsibility is first and foremost to our immediate family. However, we are also called to reach out to and defend the defenseless. Every child deserves a family. Today, I would like to introduce you to some of the important work Focus on the Family® and special people like you are doing together in the ministry of orphan care.
Are you ready to be stunned? The United Nations counts 143 million kids around the world as orphans. 143 million innocent children are waiting for love and support. That statistic simply makes my heart ache.
The Orphan Crisis
Recognizing that the severity of today's orphan crisis is bigger than any one organization, Focus on the Family has joined together with FamilyLife and Shaohannah's Hope to launch a long term, nationwide campaign called Voice of the Orphan™. This campaign seeks to raise the awareness of the orphan crisis and spur fellow Christians to action.
Worldwide, orphans have been robbed of their parents by disease, starvation or armed conflict. An even more alarming epidemic is the rapidly increasing child abandonment rate due to poverty, restrictive population control policies, disabilities and biased cultural traditions. Is this consistent with God's plan? We think not.
Why This Matters
Even in the U.S., the consequences of neglecting our waiting children are horrifying.
*30% of all the homeless adults in the United States spent time in foster care.
*One in three youth who turn 18 and leave foster care resort to stealing, prostitution, or selling drugs.
One in four spend time in jail or prison.
"If you have large numbers of orphans who are rootless and foodless, and bewildered by their position, and feeling pretty angry and anti-social about what has happened to them ... you have the possibility of real instability ... Poverty can be the basis for the attraction of extremist groups." - Ambassador Stephen Lewis, the UN Special Envoy on HIV and AIDS in Africa.
What You Can Do
From hopelessness to dramatic recovery from burns on 70 percent of his body, Levi is truly a stunning example of God's healing hand.
Help for orphans can take many forms. You can: pray for them, speak up for them, mentor vulnerable children and support those who directly support these young ones. It doesn't require that you have unlimited resources or that you be a high-profile celebrity. A good place to start is to become informed. I highly encourage you to visit VoiceoftheOrphan.org. There you'll find more specific statistics of the scope and breadth of this tragedy as well as useful action steps you and your family can take to care for orphans and waiting children. You'll also discover: Why This Matters to God, What God Says, and What Happens to These Kids.
Together, we are helping to educate concerned Christians worldwide regarding this crisis, and offer practical ideas on how everyone can get involved in caring for the world's orphans.
Thank you for your interest and heart,
President and CEO
P.S. Praise the Lord for grace! Next week, I'm excited to bring you Focus on the Family Radio Theater's® newest audio epic Amazing Grace, and other tools for keeping your family's faith growing.