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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Missions and Orphans


This is my family.
It's no secret, we are passionate about adoption. We are especially passionate about trans-racial adoption. There is a recent post on the Lily 7 blog that I started about racism in the church. I would love to see some of you comment on it. That will be another post on this blog, specifically about trans-racial adoption.
This post is about caring for the orphans.
This post has been brewing in me because of what's been happenning in my extended family lately...my brother Brian and his wife Amy are pursuing adopting two kids that have been a part of a foster family in my other brother, Chris', church. (Confusing?) Chris has been burdened for these two sweet foster kids who have been in the system for over a year, and no family has been found for them. They have already been separated from a sister, and she was adopted out, but Andrie and Patience have been waiting. The agency is not a Christian one, and the likelihood of them going to a homosexual couple is increasing. The foster Mom has been hoping and praying that someone in their church would pursue them, but they have not. Chris was telling us a few weeks ago, when we were all together for my sister's graduation, about these kids. His face was literally pained as he told us about them. My brother Brian and his wife felt God prompting them through this, even though they live in TN, have four kids, no room in their house, and no money to spare. They have prayed about it, and felt a clear word from the Lord to pursue these kids. They are rushing through the paperwork and homestudy to become candidates with this agency in hopes that they will soon have 2 & 3 yr. old Patience and Adrie. They are African-American, and BEAUTIFUL kids!!! What a blessing that will be for my kids to have them as cousins. Please pray for God's hand in this and his favor as they move through this process.
It sparked a discussion in my family.
How should we feel about the orphans among us? When we received the call about fostering Treston, James 1:27 spoke to Rusty.

27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.

Some other words in scripture about caring for orphans...

Ps 82:3-4
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Isa 1:17
17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.


It's a clear mandate in scripture to care for the orphans, but what does that really mean to us?
Well, I think it's exactly how we should feel about missions.
We should all care about missions.
It's a clear mandate in scripture as well to "take this message of repentance to all the nations." (Luke 24:47) No one questions that. Does that mean that EVERY ONE of us is supposed to do foreign mission work?
No.
But we should at least be asking ourselves about the role WE play in missions.
1st, what kind of missionaries are we here, where we live?
2nd, ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO FULL-TIME MISSION WORK WHEREVER GOD CALLS?
3rd, If not, then are we funding the people who do?
4th, are we training people in our own churches and sending them out?
5th, Are we praying for missionaries and their work?
There are so many roles we could play in this call to missions.
There was a time in my life when I didn't care enough about missions. When I was in HS and college, I respected missionaries...I had done GA's and Acteens...I did my steps...I got my crown...(if you're not baptist, you might be confused here.) I knew missions was very important. But it had nothing to do with me, and I was too self-absorbed to REALLY care.
As I grew in maturity and in my faith, I felt more and more burdened for people all over the world to hear the Good News of Jesus, and come to know Him as I do.
Rusty and I have asked ourselves all of those questions, and we are playing a role in many mission efforts. If the Lord calls us to be missionaries outside of Bryan-College Station, then we will go. The great thing about God is He will make it clear to us if that's the role we should play.
I think it's the same with caring for orphans.
Does this mean that every family should adopt or foster?
No.
But it means you should at least be asking yourself if you should.
What role do you play in caring for orphans?
You could help fund adoptions for families who want to adopt and can't afford it.
You can fund agencies like New Life that do amazing work in the lives of women in crisis pregnancies, unborn babies, and families who adopt.
You can join in mission efforts in orphanages around the world.
There are many roles to play.
What we CAN'T do, is look at the orphans among us and think they are someone else's problem to solve. Or that we don't have what it takes to help.
We have more than enough.
Romans 12 is one of my all-time favorite chapters, and the words have struck me anew in verse 13; "When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out."
I like how that's put. Don't wait for someone else to do it. Be the one. (Anyone remember that old Al Denson song? I just got a lift your lighter and sway back and forth youth group flashback. Wow.)
Again, I'm not saying that this means everyone should foster or adopt.
I just think we should at least consider if that's what it means.
If the answer is yes, you will know it. He has made that crystal clear to us twice. He has changed our hearts and minds to match His will. When he tells you to go get a baby, like he's told my brother and sister-in-law, it becomes a drive in you that you can't turn off.
If the answer is no, then choose another way to help.
But can we continue to call ourselves Christians and feel no burden for the children that aren't our flesh and blood?
1 John 3:17 speaks to that.

17 But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help — how can God's love be in that person?

I write this as a person who has a long way to go in applying this verse to my life. I know God has so much more to teach us about giving and doing what we can and should for the needy.
I hope all of us, and our families, will be open to what God has to say to us about this.
What will our families and churches look like after we've heard Him speak?

*I'm adding an addendum to this post. Does everyone love the word addendum?
If you want to act now, the Henry's are adopting Camille, formerly known as Denaya. (cute little thing!)
For those of you who don't know them, Mark Henry is our discipleship pastor at LH.
We don't want this adoption to be a financial strain for them. We want their financial focus to be feeding those six kids, and putting gas in their 15 passenger van. (Ouch!)
So they need $900. What a privelege it would be for us all to share in this adoption by helping them financially!
If you're interested, contact me or Heather and we will arrange it, or give it directly to the Henry's.
Also, if you're curious to know about the costs of adoption, I would gladly talk with you.

4 comments:

Liz said...

jenn
i appreciate this entry so much. God has been working in our hearts in the area of taking care of the needy, widows and the orphans too.
Growing up, I too was very focused on my own needs and my own little world. I respected missionaries like you did, but there wasn't much else that i was doing.
I am excited because i think there are other families like yours and mine that are raising up a new generation of children who are compassionate and sensitive and aware of those in need around them (at an early age.)
Having children of my own has helped me to better understand God's love for all people and how far it must extend!
I love being part of an extended family that is eagerly seeking God's will in these areas and striving to be missional!
You and Rusty are showing a great example of the Father's love to all who meet and know your family! Thanks for sharing-
Your fav sis in law,
(don't tell amy and lisa- he he!)
Liz

Jennifer Bacak said...

Liz,
Thanks for commenting! I don't think Amy or Lisa are bloggers, so I don't think they'll catch that one. We're safe.
Who knows what our MOB of Seay grandchildren will accomplish!!!
jenn

aggie07 said...

Jenn, I love that I get to see this acted out in your family everyday!! Our God is so great. Before I even met you, I knew that I had the desire to adopt one day, regardless of my ability to have or not have biological children. I am so thankful that he has put me in a place where I can see how it works first hand. As I spend more and more time at your house, and around other adoptions like the Henrys and the Hendricks, it is becoming something I see as an effort of the body instead just a "personal issue". God has spoken to me over and over again that we are to care for orphans, and I am excited to see the body stepping up. This can't be an "except for" category in the church. You are so right, everyone has a responsibility to seek God's will for this area of their lives. I am excited to continue seeing this happen in Living Hope and can't wait for the day when I can adopt my own babies.

Seay Famiy said...

I am the proud mom of this whole Seay clan and I am touched beyond words to watch my children respond to God's call to care for those in need. I encourage you to discover who you are in the midst of this issue - will you become the proud parents of a cherished adopted child? will you contribute to an adoption fee so that someone else can? will you pray for agencies like New LIfe that struggle to reach women and children with the love of Christ?
I am so encouraged by the influx of families that have contacted New Life over the past year who are willing to adopt the child that God has for them - specifically they are "color blind" and willing to welcome a child of color into their homes without a thought. Ten years ago we often had black or part black babies in foster care for months while we searched for a family that would adopt them. Today at New Life we have more families open to children of color than those simply open to caucasion children. Praise God for attitudes that line up with scripture!