USA (MNN) — The world's orphan population is growing. That, coupled with the growing number of kids sold into human trafficking, is heartbreaking. It's a tragedy that's just now becoming an issue for Christians. However, there's so much more that can and should be done from a local church level.
Orphan’s Heart recently launched a special campaign titled 40 Days for the Fatherless in order to raise awareness of the plight of orphaned and disadvantaged children throughout the world. The campaign launched on September 27 and will run until November 7, which is Orphan Sunday.
Dr. Jerry Haag, president of the Children's Homes and Orphan's Heart, says they hope to encourage more people to consider ways that they can minister to orphaned and disadvantaged children either in their own community or overseas on an international mission trip.
"One of our primary goals is to encourage more people to get involved in serving the fatherless, such as through adoption, foster care, participating on an international mission trip, or volunteering to serve orphaned or disadvantaged children in their community," Haag says. "In addition, we hope to encourage more churches to participate in Orphan Sunday."
Orphan Sunday, which is November 7, is a nationwide event that was established by a number of orphan care ministries as a way to bring increased attention and awareness to the biblical mandate to minister to orphaned children.
Churches can participate in Orphan Sunday in a number of ways, such as presenting a sermon on the fatherless, publicizing the Prayer Proclamation for the Fatherless, conducting a congregational prayer for children, or having testimonials from foster and adoptive parents," Haag saiys.
Dr. Haag says that the 40-Day campaign is also a way for the body of Christ to unite and show the world that God's people care about orphaned children.
"There are more than 140 million orphaned children throughout the world," says Haag. "These children suffer disproportionately from severe poverty, malnutrition, disease, and physical and emotional abuse.
Haag continues, "There are also more than 100,000 children across the United States that are waiting to be adopted. Every year more than 25,000 children age-out of the foster care system without ever finding a forever family of their own."
Haag says as Christians get involved, it sends a spiritual message. "If families in our churches adopted the 100,000 children in the United States, the world would notice there's something different about them: 'Look, they love children!' Think of the difference it would make in every one of those children who have a forever family and a fantastic Christian home."
"Thousands of disadvantaged children are ignored and left to feel invisible in a dark and hopeless world," says Haag. "The hearts of these children ache for the love, attention, and approval of caring adults. God tells us in His Word to defend the cause of the fatherless and to help orphans in their distress."
Dr. Haag is also encouraging people to consider helping with their international orphan care ministry by participating in one of their week-long international mission trips.
"I would encourage people of all ages to prayerfully consider being a witness to the ends of the earth by going with us to provide assistance to orphanages and other childcare centers in the developing world."
Dr. Haag is also encouraging people to help orphaned children by signing the Prayer Proclamation for the Fatherless at www.40daysforthefatherless.org. Everyone who signs the Prayer Proclamation can also register for a chance to win a free international mission trip from Orphan's Heart.
But if you can't go, Haag would like you to support a child. "We have a sponsorship program that literally works out to where we can feed a child for $30 a month. It's just one dollar a day."
Orphan's Heart is working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and orphaned children in a number of developing countries through short-term mission trips and other projects. Learn more about their short-term mission trips at www.OrphansHeart.org.