Guatemala (MNN) — International adoptions in the United States are down by 59% from adoption rates 10 years ago.
In Guatemala, adoptions are currently closed on the international front.
With so many Guatemalan orphans left, there needs to be a domestic response for their care.
Orphan Outreach is challenging churches in Guatemala to rev their orphan ministries.
They are co-sponsoring a conference on June 20 in Guatemala City for pastors and Christian leaders. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the SETECA Conference Center in Guatemala City.
Michael Douris, President of Orphan Outreach, says, “In Guatemala, there hasn’t been [a church orphan-care movement], so we’re pulling together hopefully about 400 pastors and Christian leaders to talk about orphan care and what the church can do to make a difference in these children’s lives among the Guatemalan churches."
“The church is really the key to having an impact on these kids’ lives. The Lord’s heart is with the orphan,” Douris says. “In the New Testament, pure and undefiled religion is defined as ministering to widows and orphans in their distress.”
The involvement of churches in orphans’ lives will be beneficial past their childhood, says Tiffany Taylor Wines with Orphan Outreach. “These local churches can make such a huge difference by transforming the lives of these children,[and] by becoming a connection point: a place where [orphans] graduate from the orphanage, they have a local church, they have mentors, they have a place to go.”
Ministering Christ’s compassion and the Gospel message is what it’s all about, says Douris. “That’s the bottom line. Just doing the work without it being Christ-centered is not what God has called us to. Everything we do is for His honor and glory. To be able to give these kids the gift of Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift we can give them, not ignoring their physical, education, and other needs as well.”
What about churches outside Guatemala? Douris says, “I always feel like churches need to look at doing a strategic plan–not only, ‘Okay, we want to get involved in orphan care,' but 'Where do we want to serve?’ Be prayerful about that, and then come up with a strategic plan about what kind of impact they want to have.”
Your church can get involved by partnering with a Guatemalan church in an orphan-care initiative.
Click here to to go to Orphan Outreach's Web site. Contact Amy Norton to learn more about church partnership in Guatemala.