I am very excited about this class and have great expectations! (No pressure Anna.) In 2004 Helen and I began working with orphans in China. These experiences have really tested my faith, my thinking, and my view of the world from the kingdom. Let me share an experience.
Last year I visited an orphanage in China and met with its leaders and the government officials who operate it. This is a really sad place, a collection point for society's unwanted. This is one of 30 sad places I visit. While I am there, I can control my emotions. In the quiet places, however, I have wept uncontrollably. One year a flight attendant on the trip home asked if I needed help after seeing a grown man cry for hours.
During my visit last year the struggle reached its apex. After visiting this place every year for six years very little has seemed to change. I stood in a room and looked over so many children who were defined by the act of their parents. No less than six charities have worked at that orphanage, yet so many children still remain. We could pour every penny we raise into that orphanage and when we left, it would still be there. What would Jesus do?!
What would happen if Jesus came to that city and taught for a year? If Jesus came and taught, I am convinced that the orphanage would still be there when he left. Jesus says "the poor will always be with you" (Mark 14). In John 9, Jesus heals a man blind from birth. The disciples ask Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" and Jesus responds , "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." How does God use orphans? Like the man born blind, so that the work of God might be displayed in their lives."
My perspectives have truly changed. God will use the plight of orphans to bring glory to Himself.
Going through this week's lessons, it would be easy to feel guilty -- let me suggest to you that this week's lessons should not engender guilt but EMPOWERMENT! Who is more able to affect the earthly lives of the poor? We are, for we have been so richly equipped. No guilt is required. Responding to the plight of the poor is the effect, not the cause. The cause is God's never ending love for us that fuels our desire to please him. When we reach out in love to those in need, the work of God is shown in their lives.