We Were Wrong {The Orphan Crisis}

by Laura on December 8, 2010

As I begin to enter the conversation about how to help the Orphan Crisis, I am reminded of a post I wrote last year.  It went something like this:

“A Church in Texas ran a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News.  Big black letters, boldly declaring an apology.  No excuses, no requests for money.  Just an admission and a plea for forgiveness.  In the last two years, this particular church has started to mean what they say by radically impacting their community and the world through finances and programs that give aid, relief, education, and the love of Jesus to thousands.

The full-page ad that greeted the public that day stated simply,

We Were Wrong

We followed trends when we should have followed Jesus.
We told others how to live but did not listen ourselves.
We live in the land of plenty, denying ourselves nothing,
while ignoring our neighbors who actually have nothing.
We sat on the sidelines doing nothing while AIDS ravaged Africa.
We were wrong; we’re sorry.
Please forgive us.”
~ Blog, October 2009

And I am left wondering if our generation will have to say about orphans what this church said about the AIDS pandemic. . .

“We sat on the sidelines doing nothing.
We were wrong.
We’re sorry.”

Because there are 163 million orphans, living and dying, on our watch, and I certainly don’t want to look back 20 years from now, to realize that I spent too much time
sitting the sidelines.


I am excited to be blogging over the next three months about the orphan crisis and various issues related to it.  The conversation will begin on the web, but will happen in face-to-face at a conference in Western Arkansas called !deaCamp.  Head over to their website and check it out.  Enter the conversation by

following them on Twitter {@theideacamp} or

subscribing to their blog,

and if you are in the area {or, heck, in the contiguous United States} consider attending the conference. {I would go if I was within a 10-hour plane ride, promise.}

Here’s a video to watch {the most inspirational thing I’ve seen in a long while} and a discussion question to jump-start the conversation . . . .

{thanks to Christmas Change for posting the video first}

What is the greatest obstacle to our involvement in caring for orphans?  Why is it so easy to “sit on the sidelines” and remain indifferent?

  • http://kendalprivette.blogspot.com/ kendal

    oh, laura. orphans keep coming to my heart. what does it mean? i balk when i think about the money.

  • http://eloranicole.wordpress.com Elora Ramirez

    i’ll be there :)

    also: the video of eric ludy’s message had me in TEARS last week. most powerful thing i’ve seen in awhile.

    and, the article you posted about the church in dallas left me with chills. incredibly encouraging to see a church step out like that – makes me so excited to be a part of the idea camp. :)

    • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura

      I know the video right?! That image of that dude running and the quote about “clawing through a concrete wall”– holy moly, me and my seven-year-old were both in tears, too!

  • http://www.lovewellblog.com Kelly @ Love Well

    I think many people shy away from the orphan crisis because it’s so overwhelming and horrible. We feel helpless.

    That’s why I love how often you emphasize the power of doing SOMETHING, Laura. We can’t save every orphan out there. (Although my heart pleads with God for his mercy to do just that.) But even changing the life of one is being God’s body here on earth.

    • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura

      Totally agree, Kelly. It feels
      SO FAR AWAY.

      And you add those two things together and apathy follows, very naturally.

      But I like what you are saying, that doing SOMETHING and being okay with not being able to fix EVERYTHING is an important attitude to have.

      Very simply, Kelly@ Love Well,
      You rock. Love your insights, as always.

  • http://www.idelette.com idelette

    You were part of God really rocking my world in the past 24 hours. Thank you … Amazing piece.

    • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura

      Thanks Idelette and Bekah,

      For the link love, but much more, for
      being moved.

      Looking forward to the conversation in future days, friends.

      Love from here, Laura

  • Tamara

    What stops me from being all in with orphans (or other really tough stuff)?
    Fear of not enough:
    time, money, energy, heart.
    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
    So, surprise!, I’m still working on the “perfect in love” part.
    Thanks for the prod. Really.

    • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura

      I think that is such a good point, Tamara–that FEAR is what holds us back so often. We get into the “what if” game and the thought of sticking our necks and our names and our time out there is pretty scary–especially when we’ve tried in the past and it HASN”T “worked out”. Then, we become cynical benchwarmers who criticize everybody on the field. {I see that tendency in myself sometimes at least}

      But I love your point that ultimately, “Perfect love drives out fear.”

      Perfect summary, friend.

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  • http://boosharesnews.wordpress.com Bekah S

    O Laura girl….
    am linking to your site here bc it says so well what is on my heart.
    love your way today

  • http://deut286.wordpress.com Jen

    Laura, I am so glad we will be on this !deaCamp journey together. It’s interesting to me because my church believes in spiritual adoption but when I brought up to my pastor’s wife as breakfast last week that I have a heart to adopt, she brushed it off. Making a mention of cost and how maybe I’ll have too many natural children that I won’t be able to adopt. I am hoping that over the next few months I will be able to inform my church about adoption and orphans. Blessings! :-)

    • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura

      Jen . . . interesting story about “spiritual” vs. “physical” adoption. I see the pastor’s wife point about the expense of adoption, absolutely, that is true. But I wonder if sometimes we give excuses for ourselves . . . . we go all “uber-spiritual” and don’t just meet the practical need. That rings true in other things other than just adoption, but maybe it rings true there, too.

      Excited to be reading over your way, too.

  • http://amylsullivan.blogspot.com/ Amy Sullivan

    I love how you make your readers think. You make me think.

    So what is getting in the way of me stepping it up and truly embracing the orphan crisis. One word my friend, FEAR. I’m afraid.

    Of what? Oh, of so many things related to this issue…can’t wait to read your posts over the next few months.

    • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura

      FEAR. Absolutely. Of the unknown. Of the cost. Of it “not working out.” Of the reality being nowhere close to the dramatic dream of it. . . .

      I hear you. And I think many of us can relate.

      love from here, L

  • http://www.freeagentmommy.com Teri Miller

    I saw this video last week…sent it around to lotsa folks here in WPCC. Really convicting. Yes, the Lord keeps putting things like this in front of my face. Ever drawing me closer to His calling. Hard to be patient, to listen carefully, to press in for what He specifically wants us to do.
    Obstacles? The orphan crisis in the US is SO regulated. Have to go thru foster-care process & adhere to their systems. And our fam doesn’t ‘fit’ their systems (home schooling, Biblical-based parenting, etc). Or adopt thru an agency, to the tune of $20K & up.
    Overseas adoption? Again, an enormous financial obstacle.
    We’re researching & ‘listening’ to the call for helping in central America. In the meantime, trying to be not-the-very-worst sponsor for our ‘compassion’ little girl in Tanzania.

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