Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Friday, February 17, 2012

Time to Act

I have been working on this blog post for the last few weeks. I can't count how many times I have typed a sentence and then deleted it. I want my heart to be heard. I don't just want it to be heard, I want God to stir people into action. Just yesterday, another blogger published a post very similar to what I was working on. She went ahead and said it all, reguardless of how much it made people squirm. (Love her for that.)

For as long as I can remember, looking at a photo of an orphan has tugged at my heart strings. I have read about orphans and their stories on the Internet for years. I recall nights when the problem disturbed me so deeply,I would sit up late, looking at one photo after another on Rainbow Kids, Reece's Rainbow, and other photo listings. I would watch video after video on You Tube shot in orphanages around the globe. Some nights I would find myself sitting at the computer weeping. It was pure self torture. I didn't know what to do or how to help.
(photo from google)

Last April, I went on a mission trip to Uganda. For the first time in my life, I held children without families. I talked to kids who are growing up on the streets, with no mother, no father. I listened to grown men tell their own stories of survival. I spent a day with a little girl who had been raped for years by her own father, before authorities stepped in and placed her in an orphanage. I walked through slums and saw toddlers run across a busy street, with noone in sight who cared. It was then, my life changed forever. All the lonely faces on the computer screen came to life, they had names. And as hard as it was to imagine, I knew this was only a few of them, there were 147 million more. Many of them are living under far worse circumstances than I was witnessing.
I would go back to my hotel at night and visit with my friend Char, and then I would start journaling. Some nights I would lay there under my net and feel blank. Others, my thoughts seemed to swallow me whole. I felt so small, so helpless. I remember one night in particular when the wind picked up and rain started falling. It was coming down so fast and hard. The tin blew and the thin panes shook at the storm. At home, I would have loved such a time as this. Nothing is more cozy than being under my warm covers while the storm rages on outside. But this time, this time brought me to my knees. All I could think about was the street kids. All those sweet boys I played with today are out there somewhere, suffering.
The following morning, I learned that after storms, many times some of the children are swept away and die in the waters. Several were hurt, and all were scared. As a matter of fact, the week before we arrived two of the local children had drowned in a rain storm in the ditches. Not acceptable.

Proverbs 24:12 tells us, "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."

So, what are we going to do about it? It's hard to know where to start. I contacted my girlfriend, Jessica, and we started bouncing some ideas off each other. We are both currently working on adopting children from Ch!na, and we agreed, you do not have to adopt to serve the orphan. But the bible does commands us to act.

James 1:27 says this, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I think it is safe to say, the children lying in beds, day in and day out in soiled clothing are in distress. The children that are hungry, desperate to be held, motherless, and scared, are in distress.

So here is where we are starting. We are starting an orphan relief "group." The purpose of this group will be to serve orphans around the world in a number of different ways. We aim to provide finances, prayer and relief to these helpless children of God. We would love you to partner with us. Let's speak for these who cannot speak for themselves. Let's bring awareness to this crisis. Let's make a difference in these children's life. The Lord's blessing us upon us, for they are His.

More information soon...and we are always open to ideas.

Below is a link to the blog I referred to in the beginning of this post. It is clear to me, He is stirring us as a body. He is breaking our hearts for what breaks His.



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