By this they will know you are my Disciples…
Just a quick thought….
As you have no doubt figured out (if you have been reading my posts over the last few weeks), our goal in serving the Orphans of Ogoloi is about far more than feeding children who otherwise might not eat.
Our goal is not only that these kids might have hope in a hopeless situation, or that we might make sustainable lasting change in this small region to impact peoples lives. Its not even just that we might direct people towards the truth and selfless love that can only be realized through the love of our “Servant King”.
But more than that, it is also about our desire to help remind the American Evangelical church of our rightful place as His Body (as in a physical manifestation – hands and feet) to a dying world. Perhaps to remind those of us that may have gotten wrapped up in doing church, or small group, or bible study, that although we were saved by Grace, that it was for these very works of love that we were created. What we are trying to accomplish in Ogoloi is not exceptional. We were made for this….
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” – Eph 2:10
It is His Church…His Bride….His Body that is charged with the labor of loving a fallen world.
It is through the Church that God intends to reveal His glory, His masterful rescue plan, and His undying love for His chosen bride. After all, the Church is the very manifest presence of God on earth, in whom He has His dwelling.
Now to be sure, in mentioning the Church, I am not speaking of a building, a denomination, or a doctrinal stance. I use the word Church in the strictest sense of its origins…the saints…Gods children. Those whom He has chosen, and those who have chosen to follow Him. That’s the Church. His People…wherever they may choose to gather.
From the offset, one of our hopes in taking this leap of faith, was to learn more about how local churches (gatherings of the Church) could be more intentionally involved in loving “the least of these” – Gods orphans and widows, the poor and the oppressed around the world.
Children’s Hope Chest (CHC) is the organization that we have partnered with in order to reach these kids on Uganda. CHC is based in Colorado and although it shares similarities to some of the larger organizations such as World Vision or Compassion International, its approach to serving the needs of the marginalized is entirely unique.
CHC’s primary goal is to connect “communities” in the U.S. (usually churches)… with “communities” of the marginalized around the world (sometimes orphanages, sometimes care points – depending on the nation).
Primarily, CHC partners with a local church, who take on a care point and find sponsorships for the kids at $34 a month from within. The church also commits to, and partners with CHC in a 3-5 year development plan for the Care Point, working with the local community to create a sustainable change in the lives of Orphans in the area.
As you can imagine, if a medium sized local church took on this endeavor, it would be an easy feat for it to accomplish. A church of lets say 500 -1000 members can easily facilitate the sponsorship of a medium sized care point of around 200 Orphans overnight. CHC provides instruction and support in providing a kick off event at a church service (you can even get the CEO and author of the best seller “RED LETTERS”- Tom Davis to join you). Your church makes a collective commitment to sponsor the kids, and in a weekend (if just 20% of the body make a commitment to sponsor a child) the sponsorships are fulfilled.
Our personal approach (working to get this done within our personal sphere and our organization) is a little more complex…and frankly out of the ordinary. But as individuals, we just couldn’t not (that’s right – its a double negative) take a stab at trying to facilitate this. And God has been incredibly faithful. We have more than 80% of the children sponsored in just a few short weeks, and people keep raising their hands. Its been amazing to see how God has responded to our step of faith.
CHC is really the ideal partnership for a local church. It’s a fantastic and beautiful thing to connect the church in the wealthiest nation in the world with his children in some of the poorest – in order to demonstrate that our Messiah is alive, in us, manifest in our love for one another.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35
Love one another?
That’s how the world will know that we are his followers?
And how did he love us?
By giving his life for us. By coming here, to us. By giving up his luxuries (consider that concept for a second) and becoming poor so that we might have life. And by loving us, in his life- with his life.
And we are called to the same!
I believe that the local church has the opportunity, through organizations like Hope Chest, or any other way, to show this love by living out His command to love others as we love ourselves.
We likewise then can give our lives for others. We too can go, to them. We can also give up the luxuries of this world and have a little less so that someone who has nothing can have something. And we too can love them, in this life, with ours.
Do you see the parallel between what Jesus did for us and what he expects us to do for them? That’s why the Church must respond to the situation in our world. If he is manifest in us, and we are his hands and feet to this world, then we- through Him, and He -through us…must be the conduit through which that love, and hope is offered to the hopeless.
Anything else is just water to the thirsty.
But we know of living water, from which if you drink you will never thirst
“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. ” (John 4:14)
Call to Action
Perhaps you know of a local church that might be in a position to oversee a Care Point somewhere in the world? Perhaps your local church is in that position? I would strongly encourage you (ask you) to pass on the info you have about CHC and other organizations like it to those around you, and to the leaders among you.
It is imperative that the Church recognize its calling to be the vehicle through which God loves a broken and hurting world…not just in words and speech but in actions and truth – 1 John 3:18.
But it’s also imperative that you…if you consider yourself a member of His body, recognize that this work might begin in you. Please take a minute to learn more about Childrens Hope Chest, and the work they do to connect churches and organizations in the US to those who have nothing. I believe that you can make a difference….not just by your sponsorship of a child…but by passing on the message to the Church around you.
Here is a link to Children’s Hope Chest
If you know of anyone who would like to learn more about sponsoring a Care Point as a church, or even as an organization, please let me know. I would be thrilled to pass on what we have learned so far to whoever would care to hear.
Thank you kindly….
For His Glory
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
– Matthew 25:37-40