When Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman founded Show Hope in 2003, they hosted the first Fellowship Weekend in a barn. It was a small gathering. A group of friends who came together around a passion to care for orphans.
At the time, Mary Beth’s dream was to help 100 waiting children come home.
Now, in 2015, nearly 600 people gathered in the Nashville Music City Center for Fellowship Weekend. Together, those 600 in attendance and others who could not be with us in person gave $2,000,323 for the purpose of helping waiting children. The move from the Chapman’s barn to downtown Nashville is an incredible sign of growth. But the bigger, more miraculous growth has nothing to do with the venue.
Mary Beth wanted to help 100 children find families. Now, Show Hope has helped more than 5,000 children find their families, which is more than one child per day since the Chapman’s founded Show Hope. That is nothing short of miraculous.
Fellowship Weekend was a celebration of that miracle. The theme of the weekend was “BELIEVE.” Show Hope’s leaders shared the vision for the organization and the dreams we have moving forward. Families came on stage and shared their own miracle stories of children coming home.
Story after story was told about children who have been welcomed in to loving families, and about parents who believed that God would be faithful to lead them to their children. These are stories of love and mercy, of grace and redemption. The stories are powerful because they are about a movement from the depths of darkness to the light of life—a clear picture of the Gospel.
But, we also remembered that there are many who are still in the darkness. Every 18 seconds, a child becomes an orphan.
In the celebration we remembered that the work is not done, and the movement to care for orphans has just begun. Miraculous stories of adoption inspire action. We have to move forward and help in any way possible to create more of these stories.
While leading worship, Steven spoke of the need to take light into darkness.
“It’s the craziest thing, this upside-down Kingdom,” Steven said. “It’s in the most un-fixable, broken places on this side of Heaven that we experience God.”
Randy Frazee, senior minister of Oak Hills Church, shared a message of encouragement to everyone in attendance. The orphan crisis can seem so large and daunting, but Randy reminded everyone that there is hope.
“Christians outnumber orphans 15 to 1,” he said. “All we need to do is have 1 out of every 15 Christians adopt, and the other 14 come alongside and help. I believe we can actually do this.”
We believe, by the grace of God, that every child can know the love of a family. We have hope that there are many more miracle stories to come. Fellowship Weekend was a joyful expression of that belief, and a celebration of all God has done so far. Now, we cannot wait to see what happens next.