140 million orphans worldwide and counting

By May 19, 2010

International (MNN) — With earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, mudslides and various other natural disasters in the news of late, coupled with famines and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the number of orphans worldwide seems to be growing exponentially. And no one expects this number to slow up anytime soon.

Orphan agencies like Bethany Christian Services are joining forces to take a stab at this problem before it escalates even more.

"The time is now. There are reportedly well over 140 million identified orphans in the world," said Jaclyn Skalnik of Bethany, who pointed out that this number is only the number of orphans that organizations are aware of in the world; the actually number is probably much higher.

With the biblical mandate to care for orphans in their distress, agencies are networking and developing a shared vision to maximize impact.

Much of this collaboration grew out of last month's Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit, where organizations and individuals from around the world joined together to step up to the orphan care challenge.

One of the events speakers, Dr. Al Molher, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said when Christ returns, there will be no more orphans, and all Christians will be adopted children of God. Until then, the Church must come to the aid of these children.

"As a huge community, a huge group [whose] hands reach across the world, it's something that is very possible for us to do as a group of people," Skalnik said.

Initially, the task can seem overwhelming, especially when not everyone has the financial resources to adopt, sponsor a child, or start an orphan care center.

However, the whole journey begins with each individual stepping up to do small things. Skalnik calls it "the power of one": "The power of just one person starting by praying; the power of one person going to their church and saying 'let's start an orphan ministry' the power of one person going to any [of the] thousands of Web sites that provide orphan care … this can start the chain effect of what people can do."

This whole process begins with you saying "Yes." Say "yes" today by visiting Bethany's Web site to see what small step you can take. Bethany offers help in starting the process of adoption, sponsoring a child and providing an avenue whereby you can donate funds to go where they are most needed.

Visit the Christian Alliance for Orphans to see how agencies across the world are coming together to make a huge impact.

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