USA (MNN) — There is a crisis around the world. It's a crisis that saddens everyone involved. It affects children and adults, both male and female. It's caused by death and abuse. Can it be helped? Sometimes. Can Christians help pick up the pieces? Absolutely.
We're talking about the worldwide orphan crisis. Some claim there are more than 159 million children today who are considered orphans. That means they're orphaned by one or both parents, their parents have either abandoned them, or their parents have lost their rights due to abuse or other issues.
This crisis was addressed last week as part of Summit 9, The Christian Alliance for Orphans' annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. In nine years, organizers say it's become the national hub for the Christian orphan care movement.
Tiffany Taylor with Orphan Outreach was one of more than 2,000 who attended the conference.
Taylor says while helping orphans is making huge strides in the U.S., the church in other countries has been almost silent about it–until just recently. "For example, in Ukraine, Russia, Guatemala, and other parts of the world, local churches are joining this movement that started in the United States: caring about and understanding adoption, foster care, and orphanages."
Probably the biggest change has happened in Ukraine with a church initiative called Ukraine Without Orphans. "It was started by a Ukrainian national to pull together the churches there to get members of the local churches to decide, 'Let's step up and adopt the children in our own country. Let's get these children out of the orphanages and into foster care. How can the local church reach out?'"
According to Taylor, churches in the West can work with churches in nations where adoption isn't common. "Maybe it's a country like Russia where they're no longer allowing international adoption, but we can come alongside the local churches and help support them and their mission to help the orphans that are there in the orphanages."
Many believe it's becoming an international movement. Amd Taylor says your involvement could be eternal. "Even if you help just one child, what a huge difference in the kingdom of God it is. Even though they're orphans and they don't have a physical father, they do have a Heavenly Father who loves them and has not forgotten them."
Taylor doesn't believe the church international has turned their back on orphans; she thinks they're just uninformed. "Once they have heard the cry of the orphan and learned about all the ways that we here in America want to come alongside them, we've just seen a huge turnaround."
James 1:22 is clear that pure religion is taking care of the widows and orphans. If you'd like to connect with churches abroad and partner in orphan ministry, connect with Orphan Outreach by clicking here.