by a host father responding to God’s call
What does ‘orphan’ mean to you? Is it more than a cliche in a sermon? It is a word that is easy to ignore if you have no face or name to go with it. It is easy for orphans to be something distant and irrelevant in your life if you’ve never met them or materially loved them.
A few years ago the Lord used an orphan hosting program called New Horizons For Children http://nhfc.org/ to bring to our attention the plight of orphans in Eastern Europe and especially in Ukraine. We hosted several kids over a few year period and the word ‘orphan’ took on a new meaning for us.
When you’ve wept with a child as she tells you of the death of her mother to cancer after losing her father to a fire only a few years earlier, the word ‘orphan’ takes on a new meaning. You’ll weep with her as you realize the bleak future she faces in a country where the average family already struggles to survive. You pray with these kids and you have a face you can’t forget.
When you read a report from NHFC that a 17 year old girl whom you remember very well from the program was just found murdered in a parking lot, it will get your attention.
When you are told that very little statistical information exists about an orphan’s chance of assimilating into society because “they just die” after leaving the orphanage, your heart begins to break. When you say goodbye at the airport to a child who begs to be allowed to stay with you where she feels loved, and you know you are sending them to an unloved and lonely future, you will stop and ask “Is what I am doing with my life really important, and will it really matter in eternity?”
Here are some shocking statistics about Ukrainian orphans taken from orphanoutreach.com
There are approximately 95,000 children in Ukrainian orphanages for various reasons and these children must leave the orphanage by the time they are 16 or 17. The statistics for what happens to these young adults after graduating from the orphanage are heartbreaking. Within the first year of leaving the orphanage, over 50% are involved in prostitution or crime, another 30% are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and another 10% commit suicide.
An orphan’s average life expectancy in Ukraine is less than 30 years.
These kids “age out” and are forced to leave the orphanages with very limited life skills. Many of them have no one to turn to for assistance and they become top targets for sex traffickers.
A few years ago, we hosted two orphan sisters from Ukraine for six weeks. The Lord began to stir in our hearts months before they came and we prayed earnestly for them. We sensed the Lord was up to something. What a blessed six weeks we spent with them! God stirred our hearts with an overwhelming love for them and said “These girls need a family, and I am asking you to be that family.”
Yes, it’s a step of faith and we don’t know how it’ll all play out yet for us, BUT GOD knows! God has said “Where I call you to go, I will lead the way and provide the means.”
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21
Yes Lord we believe in Your leading and we are thrilled to follow You in this venture!