Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Orphan Summit: What’s ordinary about helping orphans?

I’m in Louisville, KY, for Orphan Summit VII. I’ll be blogging and tweeting from there. I asked on Twitter, “What do you want to see blogged about from Summit VII?”

One person replied, “I’d like to hear stories of ordinary (not famous) people caring for orphans.”

I’m not sure anyone who is caring for orphans can be called ordinary, but I know what he means.

So here’s a story from Jared Winger, who is coming to the Summit from the Minneapolis area. He writes about the way God has turned his and Michelle’s lives in a direction they hadn’t expected.

Our interest in the process of adoption and care for the orphan began years ago as we prayed against the ever-increasing number of abortions. I would often plead for mercy because I knew God would not endure ongoing murder like we see in this nation.

Eventually, we realized that our fight for the unborn child doesn’t have teeth unless we’re providing solutions after birth. If abortion were ended in the United States and  life were allowed to some 4,000 babies each day, who would care for those “unwanted” babies? The Church would need to be ready to receive them.

God was doing something bigger than just within our own family. More than 15 families in our church expressed a desire to adopt, foster, or help with an adoption agency. Considering the cost of adoption, the obstacles for the church beginning adoption services on a larger scale seemed insurmountable. But with this many people interested in investing time and prayer, we felt the Lord urging us to move forward.

Thus began the process that we are currently in—starting Olive Tree Adoptions. Related ministries are also in development (birthmother care and adoptive family care), but we are on the way!

Personally, our family is trying to reduce some of our “extra” activities to begin focusing more on Olive Tree Adoptions. I recently finished a part-time teaching job, and aim to finish my master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling at Liberty University this year. My wife has increased the publicity of her  business as a freelance proofreader/copyeditor to help our family income. As God blesses her role, I will be able invest more time as Director of Olive Tree Adoptions.

This is an exciting, but challenging, vision for our church family and for us. We feel we are heading into a new season in our lives.

Jared says: “If there are other churches out there doing something similar with adoption services and ministry, we would love to connect with them!”

Please leave a comment to bless Jared and Michelle and/or to tell them about other churches with adoption services.

(And visit the Summit Blog to see what’s happening from the viewpoints of several different bloggers.)

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5 Responses to “Orphan Summit: What’s ordinary about helping orphans?”

  1. So so cool! Praise the Lord for His working in your lives! My thoughts are beginning to be stirred regarding fostering and adoption. I’m praying God’s leading and good contacts as he begins this work in me. My prayers will be with you. Thank you Noel for including the information regarding ordinary people!

  2. Gotta love the wisdom of our Family Ministries Pastor. So proud that we’re moving in the direction of adoption…

  3. if it is not too late to request a subject, i would like to hear more about foster care and adoption through the foster care system. even though there are 500,000 children in foster care in the US, i rarely hear christians talk about this kind of orphan care (i almost exclusively hear about overseas orphan care or US private adoptions).

    my husband and i are foster parents (with the hopes of adopting if this ever becomes an option with any of our kids) and we have found unique challenges to this type of ministry without many resources on how other christians are dealing with it.

    thank you!

  4. You may be encouraged to connect with Randy and Kelsey Bohlender from the IHOP in Kansas City. They have begun a similar work there and have a network of resources available. Check it out at http://thezoefoundation.com/
    May the Lord bless your work here in Minneapolis!

  5. So excitd to hear of a church meeting needs in this way! I would LOVE to hear more as this ministry develops and as we consider beginning ministries in our church that focus on orphan care.

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