Read below as Sarah, a student who recently joined Show Hope on a short-term trip to Haiti, describes her eye-opening experience with the children of Haiti and how God is continuing to teach her the true meaning of James 1:27.
Twenty years ago, my parents adopted me from Russia, giving me the greatest gift possible: a family. As a result, I have been a huge advocate for adoption since I was a little girl, urging everyone to adopt. When I recently had the opportunity to travel with Show Hope to the Hands and Feet Project in Jacmel, Haiti, God used that opportunity to open my eyes to ways in which we can all get involved in caring for orphans that I had never previously considered.
I am incredibly passionate about seeing the church engage in orphan care, and I have said many times that I think God calls us all to adopt. But last week as I was playing with the sweet children under care in Haiti and working on construction projects, I began to ask the Lord how he wanted me to be involved in orphan care. I’ve always thought it would be through adoption, and I still believe that is a huge part of my calling. However, I began to realize the danger of shaping our lives around how we think something should be done, rather than seeking God for His guidance. Thankfully, he is a gracious God, and he gently led my heart to understand something that has forever changed me.
God began to help me understand his commission to us in James 1:27. It is not that everyone needs to rush out and adopt a child. His commission for us is to care for orphans in need. This requires all of us. It will require us to love unconditionally, no matter the circumstance. It is holding a child who has been abandoned and praying God brings her a forever family. It is giving financially to a ministry that is dedicated to caring for waiting children. It also might involve adopting a child who has no one to call mommy or giving medical attention to a baby who has no one to provide for him. It is laying our lives down for the small, forgotten one – never expecting recognition in return. It is what God has done for each of us and what he invites us to do with the love he has given us.
The depth of this is almost too overwhelming for me to comprehend. We, as Christians, are the hands and feet of Jesus, and as such, we have the magnificent privilege of loving children, laying down our lives for them as he has done for us. Truly, we love because he first loved us. I had never thought of it quite like this before!
On this trip, God opened my eyes to all the countless ways we can get involved. There are so many opportunities in addition to adoption, and although we all may not be called to adopt, we are all called to do something to care for orphans. Ask the Lord what that looks like for YOU!
– Sarah, January 2014 Haiti Trip