Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
Ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Today, Ashley Gosnell, One Orphan team member shares about advocacy
and her first-hand experiences in China.
Being broken for the cause of the orphan is not new to me. My journey began many years ago with a child named named Anne. Since then, I have adopted. I have served in orphanages. I have looked into the faces of children in desperate need and have suffered the crushing loss of precious ones gone too soon.
But my trip last October was different. Hope Journey was different.
It was a completely new level of hard.
We had 33 beautiful children in our Hope Journey Camp. Our sole purpose in being there was to advocate for these children and find families for them. Most of them had been waiting their whole lives to be chosen. Because they are older, because their needs are perceived as greater, because they had fallen through the cracks, they had been passed over, forgotten, time and time again.
And these children knew why we had come.
To them, we represented hope of what they so desperately wanted.
My heart was not prepared...
To have children stand before me and plead with me,
"Please find me a family..."
For children to feel like they had to smile and string beads
and do the song and dance to be worthy...
To have a child with CP get up out of his wheelchair and run
to show that he was capable...
To have a precious boy give me his name tag, look into my eyes,
A family. A mom and dad. A place to belong.
and plead with me not to forget him...
To have a beautiful baby boy sit on my lap, to wipe away his tears,
and feed him my cake because I was desperate to do something...
It was heartbreaking.
It was absolutely gut-wrenching.
It was one of the most emotionally painful experiences I have ever had.
I have cried a million tears for these children. My heart is literally crushed for them. I cannot think about them or talk about them without weeping. My heart cries out, "Where is the church? Where are God's people? Is there no one, NO ONE, to say 'yes' to these precious babies??"
Some days, I just want to be numb. To forget their pleas. To escape this heavy place of brokenness.
But I cannot. I will not.
I know it is my brokenness that fuels my fight.
And fighting for this holy cause is one of the greatest privileges of my life.
So, I will continue. I will keep posting their pictures and telling their stories. I will keep praying and crying out for them, asking God to wake up His people to the needs of orphans like Peter and Laurel,
Flint and Benz, Wesson and Scottie.
Because they matter. Because they are valuable and precious.
Because they deserve a family. Because Christ laid down
His life for me, and He has called me to do the same for others.
1 John 3:16-18 says this:
By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Church, we have the world's goods. There are so many precious ones in need. Will we close our eyes? Will we close our hearts?
Will we love with reckless abandonment? Will we hear their desperate cry and say "yes" to these treasures, knowing that when we say "yes" to them, we say "yes" to Him. When we get them, we get Him.
The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of
these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.
A final thought...
Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, says this: Many who are evidently genuine Christians do not demonstrate much concern for the poor. How do we account for that? I would like to believe that a heart for the poor 'sleeps' down in the Christian's soul until it is awakened.
Oh, friends, may these precious faces awaken our souls, break our hearts, compel us to step out of our comfort zone and send us running to the least of these...
We are rejoicing that nine of our Hope Journey children have been chosen!! And, we continue praying hard for families for the rest of our precious ones.
Please click here to view the stories of children who are still waiting.