USA (MNN) — In 1916, two missionaries to China began taking in homeless children in the Shantung Province. Now, a century later, Kids Alive International serves in 15 countries around the world, helping children live free from the bondage of hunger, abuse, and exploitation.
Matt Parker, President of Kids Alive, sees the ongoing challenges facing the ministry in a world growing more unsettled and insecure daily.
“We’re working in some very difficult parts of the world, some very remote areas – South Sudan being one example of a country where we’re working right now where there is civil war,” he shares. “Lebanon, another example – whole Middle East situation is obviously very volatile. And so we’re working in some really challenging parts of the world right now.”
The most fundamental needs are being met through Kids Alive programs in those areas – food, shelter, and Christ-centered education.
Parker says Kids Alive remains committed to growing as an organization, wherever God opens doors for ministry. “There is so much need in the world today. There are an estimated 150 million orphaned and abandoned children in today’s world, an estimated 100 million kids who are living on the streets. They have nowhere to go, just sleeping on the streets at night. Thousands and thousands of kids who are dying every day from diseases that are preventable.”
Kids Alive’s ministry is founded on Isaiah 1:17:
Learn to do right.
Encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless
Plead the case of the widow.
Parker says the organization is committed to fulfilling that biblical call to “seek justice, to reach out and help the orphan, the widow, the oppressed, the marginalized, the refugee, people living in poverty.” He says the desire is to do even more in the next 100 years of service.
As Kids Alive celebrates 100 years, the organization has focused on its core commitments to all it serves. Parker says it begins and ends with Jesus.
“We believe it’s Christ alone who transforms lives forever, and so we’re absolutely committed to keeping Jesus Christ right at the heart of every children’s home we run, every school, every care center, every community program. Every decision we make, we’re going to keep Christ right at the center, right at the heart of all we do. And we’re excited to see what He does through us in the years ahead.”
With Christ at the center, Kids Alive does everything with excellence. “We believe excellence honors God, and so we’re committed to excellence in the way we care for our children,” continues Parker.
“We’re committed to excellence in the way we educate them, in the way we help them transition from lives in our ministry to the wider world and their independence in the future. We’re committed to excellence in the way we work with our partners, with our supporters, our sponsors, our donors.
“We’re absolutely committed to excellence because God deserves nothing less than excellence, nor do the kids we serve as well.”
The commitment to excellence has born fruit for Kids Alive beyond their own programs in countries like Guatemala. According to Parker, governments have taken notice of the work being done – and have reached out for collaboration and training.
“Thinking of our Guatemala ministry and the way we care for girls who have been abused – horrifically abused. We have an amazing team of people on the ground who have really pursued excellence in that ministry, and that has really opened doors for us with the government in Guatemala. And we’ve had the opportunities to do training with the social workers there.
“There’s a real desire by the government to partner with us because they see the need as well, but they don’t have necessarily the resources or the expertise that’s needed to respond. And so our commitment to excellence certainly does open doors to work with governments on occasions or other organizations we can partner with in order to help all kids.”
When asked what his greatest prayer request is for Kids Alive International as they move into their second century of service, Parker’s voice grows even more passionate. While more countries may be added and new challenges may be encountered, the purpose of the ministry remains the same.
“You see, our core focus is wanting to see the children we work with come to know Christ. That is our number one goal – that is our foundation as an organization. We want to see the children we are serving come to know the Lord, we want to see them serving the Lord in their lives. We want to see them become change-makers in their communities, in their nations, in the future, for the glory of God. So that would be our number one prayer request, that God would use the kids we are working with today, that these kids would come to know Him in their lives and be part of transformation in their own communities and their nations in the future.”
Learn more about Kids Alive International’s work around the globe, and get involved through child sponsorship and more.