USA (MNN) — The first five years can be difficult for any ministry starting up. Gaining credibility, support, and momentum are not easy tasks.
The difficulty usually associated with a start-up organization is part of what makes Orphan Outreach stand out. It's not that the last five years have been easy, but in just half a decade, Orphan Outreach has gotten an overwhelming response from believers around the globe.
"In five years I didn't have any imagination of thinking that so many people would join our effort to care for kids," said Orphan Outreach president Mike Douris at a five-year anniversary celebration last week.
It's hard to say exactly how many people have jumped on board with Orphan Outreach when you consider the countless donors, prayer warriors, and trip goers. But there are a few quantifiable statistics. In 2007–Orphan Outreach's first year, they were able to send 67 short-term team members to help orphans overseas. In 2012, they are expecting to send 542.
From 2007 to 2011 alone, Orphan Outreach sent over 1,100 short-termers.
It seems like a lot of hands on deck, and it is. But short-term teams make up only a very small piece of what Orphan Outreach has been able to do.
"Really our ministry is about supporting the people who are in the field who sacrifice a lot more than we do to minister to [kids]," explained Douris. "So a lot of our ministry is supporting them; they are the ones who day-by-day exhibit the life of Christ, and they are the ones that God uses to bring kids to Christ."
As a result of Orphan Outreach's support for other believers in Guatemala, Latvia, Russia, Honduras, and India, hundreds of kids have come to Christ. And as Douris pointed out last week, He is the reason they do what they do.
"This celebration tonight is really a celebration of Christ and His love for these kids," Douris stated. "We have the opportunity to be part of His plan to demonstrate in a very tangible way how much He loves them."
Douris says orphans are just looking for someone to love them, and Orphan Outreach teams are able to offer them the indelible love of Christ.
As Orphan Outreach continues to grow, so does the spread of the Gospel. To learn more about the depths their ministry roots have reached, or to partner with Orphan Outreach, visit www.orphanoutreach.org.