Bombshells, Orphan Outreach ministry reflections

By March 26, 2014
(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

International (MNN) — A major bombshell dropped on the evangelical community Monday: World Vision President Richard Stearns told Christianity Today that his organization, one of America’s largest Christian charities, is now allowing gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be hired as well as gay Christians who follow their policy of abstinence outside of marriage.

The organization, known for their child sponsorship programs worldwide, is now dealing with the fallout.

The reality: it will be children who will suffer the consequences because of dropped sponsorships or programs that may suffer due to diverted giving.

(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

Meanwhile, over 1.4 billion people in the developing world live below the poverty line (USD$1.25 per day).    Children under age 18 make up nearly 48% of the population of the world’s least developed countries, compared with 21% of the population of the world’s industrialized nations.

This begs the question: does child sponsorship make a difference?  There’s about $3.3 billion going into child sponsorship every year, compared to the $2.9 billion that goes for development assistance from the U.S. government. Up until last March, no one had done a study on child sponsorship to see if it is effective.

According to a peer-reviewed study released last March by the University of San Francisco, the message does make a difference. In that study, published in the University of Chicago’s Journal of Political Economy, researchers concluded that sponsored children are more likely to graduate both secondary school and college, have salaried employment, and be leaders in their communities.*

The study notes that programs from other organizations–including World Vision, Plan USA, and Save the Children–that “use funding given in the name of a sponsored child more broadly to create village-level public goods” are “less-targeted nature” and “more difficult to assess.”

The one-on-one impact of sponsor to child in the name of Christ helps shatter the cycle of poverty. Tiffany Taylor with Orphan Outreach says, “It’s one thing to have humanitarian aid and to be able to help the children with their physical needs, but obviously, the key for these children is for them to have a lifelong personal relationship with Christ.”

(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

Sponsors are encouraged to engage their child, because even though they may be worlds apart, it makes a difference to a child to know that someone cares. “They know that there’s someone who is praying for them, who is writing them, who is caring for them. We also have the opportunity for people to go on short-term mission trips and actually meet their children.”

Orphan Outreach’s sponsorship programs provide funding that will allow a child to remain part of a vital Christian program in their community. Taylor says their staff makes no apologies for a biblical worldview. “What’s key to us is that these programs involve Christian discipleship of the children, that they are run by Christians, and that these children are exposed to the Gospel on a daily basis.”

Sponsorships with Orphan Outreach are just $36 a month. Orphan Outreach cares for orphans and at-risk kids (in Christian schools) in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Latvia, and Russia.

Actual details of what a sponsorship covers can vary from project to project–from monthly tuition to food and clothing. But the investment is transformational for both the sponsor and the child, adds Taylor. “Their sponsors also can be totally open with them about their love of Christ. And that is why they are sponsoring these children and giving them their financial and prayer support directly, to transform the lives of these children.”

You may ask what the connection is between the World Vision announcement and the vision of a sponsorship program by Orphan Outreach. For Orphan Outreach, who they are directs what they do.

Orphan Outreach is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to glorifying the Lord through reaching out to the millions of at risk children throughout the world. Since our founding in 2007, we have acted as instruments of Christ impacting the lives of those we serve. Ministering primarily in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Latvia, Russia, and the United States, we support a variety of programs designed to offer a better chance to children in dire living conditions. James 1:27 is the inspiration of our mission and the motivation and passion towards attaining our vision.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Editor’s note: All this week, we will be contacting MNN partners and ask them to be a part of this dialogue. Check back often as this discussion continues.

*Peer-reviewed, independent study on the viability of international child sponsorship led by Dr. Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, reveals large and statistically significant impacts on life outcomes for children enrolled in Compassion International’s Christian child sponsorship program.

9 Comments

  • stephanie says:

    My god ppl.. we are quick to attach “christian to anybody and anything. Have we forgotten the word christian started out as a slur? A word that could mean certain death? Now in our country its become a joke. A passing word of a by gone era…the church needs to wake up and remember Sodom? God didn’t slap the word Christian on them.. true salvation doesn’t partly change a life .or three quarters of the. Salvation is a total and complete change and direction and vision. Repentancemeans to turn not to pretend to. Always remember if you compromise with the devil he’ll make peace with you. And that which will pass for peace will be temporary and false.

  • Gene says:

    It is a terrable thing to see denominations and great organization whittled down by their acceptance of secular oppinions while turning their minds away from His word. This “right” all started when many “came out of the closet” and proclaimed their vile acts…I wonder. With so many pedifiles in this world, if they would all “come out” Would that then become the NEXT new norm? In other words, Where does this all stop? There is just one standard maker. It can’t be me or you because everyone’s standard ( left to themselves) will be different. ONLY God’s standard holds the rank of submission to. It is perfect and never changing and we all must alter our standards to comply with His

  • LJ says:

    How wonderful that Orphan Outreach has grown and is now mature to the place of fully helping the children while giving them the opportunity to live in eternity with Jesus. Their help will be especially needed now.

  • Nicole says:

    It’s true that the children will be the ones to suffer from this, as well as many of the WV staff who disagree with the CEO’s statement (I already heard one come out and say this was a top-down decision that they had no say in).

    While I myself would not want to support any group that blows off sin as ok, it would still be unfair to the kids to pull sponsorships due to something totally outside their control. All mine were already with Compassion International so I don’t have to make this tough choice, but there are many who do. I pray that every sponsor will take full consideration of how their choices will affect others, both here and there. May the Lord’s grace be on all who are stuck in the middle.

  • ice says:

    Even though many Christians will respond with “I won’t support World Vision” I wonder if that is correct response. I commented on another site about this: basically we as Christians support many non faith organizations without asking questions–so maybe the response could be the same here. The issue as I see it is that while I don’t agree with World Vision’s decision I feel they could have quietly done it and nothing would have been said and children would not have been hurt.
    I have thought for years that World Vision has become more mainstream( secular) in the approach with who their spokespeople were and how they attract donors

    • Julie says:

      I support many non Christian organizations but DO ask what their standards are and tgen DO NOT support them if they support sin! i.e. boy scouts. I will not purchase any thing from this group due to their standards on the same issue.

  • ecbrown says:

    Just more confirmation the we’re in the last days, folks. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim. 4:3)

  • Greetings in the name of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

    I am Nehru Naik, I am native of small and backward village NVK THANDA,
    Peddavoora Manadal, Nalagonda District, telagana India. I am
    born in a very poor family, my parents were daily wage labours. I
    belong to Schedule Tribe community which is most neglected community
    in the society.

    Voice calling me ” I NEED YOU MY SON”, I looked here and there but no
    one was there. I opened the BIBLE, God spoke to me through the
    scriptures, Nahum :1:15. According the Scripture I decided to search
    the Gospel to the unreached areas of our society. And started
    preaching the gospel in the year 1992 till now preached 24 villages of
    our surroundings after taking Bible Training in collage and
    established achurch, where saints are worshiping regularly.

    One day while mediating the God’s word, God spoken with me by the
    Scripture James 1:27 to care of orphan children. Hence, we have
    started small orphanage with 13.orphans by providing food, shelter,
    education.

    We request you to kindly pray for these children as they need of
    school books, bags & fees. We love you to invite you to come to our
    children home whenever you visit India.

    With much love &

    pastor.nehrunaik

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