Col 2:7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. On one of my first trips to Honduras, I was given a tour of an area of town near the city garbage dump with extreme poverty and a high population of orphans and vulnerable children. The vast number of street kids overwhelmed my senses in a way many of us experience when we first see the global orphan crises. There were toddlers covered in dirt and soot, barefoot, being used by gangs as runners. There was a baby in a cardboard box, motionless, and not crying as flies covered the wound on her arm. It shocked me. My senses were overloaded. I didn’t have words to process what my eyes were seeing.Immediately I knew this was my calling. - to share the transformative nature of the gospel with this community in a very real way.Based on my community development education, I also began inquiring on the assets already available in this community.“What is that building?” I asked.“It’s a clinic that was built to serve the community, but its abandoned now.” they responded.“What about this other building?” I continued.“That is a ministry that was serving the kids, but they left a few years ago.” they responded.And on and on it went. This community was littered with empty buildings where previous ministries had served for a while, but eventually walked away.It wasn’t that God had not sent people and churches earlier, but these ministries had burned out and thrown in the towel. They had quit for one reason or another. In fact, but for a few exceptions, the vast majority of ministries were young or new.Serving orphans and vulnerable is not for the faint of heart. It’s complex, challenging, and hard work. The burnout rate is high. Jedd Medefind of the Christian Alliance for Orphans identified four stages people go through as they engage the broken world:1 - Awakening - We are exposed to the brokenness in the world and feel called to serve.2 - Cheerleading - We become enthusiastic advocates of the needs, yet our solutions are simple.3 - Disillusionment - We face reality as the solutions we offer are mixed or negative. We realize the problem is much more complex than we ever realized.And this is the stage most people decide “No Mas.” Bitterness, resentment, frustration, anger invade and eventually conquer our hearts. Maybe this is what Solomon meant when he said “Above all else, guard your heart because from it everything flows." (Proverbs 4:23)4 - Commitment amidst complexity - Very few people and ministries get to this stage of deep commitment, come what may come. And those that do all have something in common: they are deeply rooted in God and the gospel. They embody the tree planted by streams of water that bear fruit in season and whatever they do prospers (Psalms 1). They exemplify the branch that remains in connection with the vine, gaining nourishment and life. (John 15.)This is where and what Orphan Outreach longs to intentionally focus our efforts. How can we be a part of long- term sustained ministry? How can we impact not just the orphans and vulnerable children we are serving today, but their children’s children. How can we ensure that the seeds we plant today will grow into sequoias that declare the glory of God for future generations. How can we be a part of ministries whose impacts will be felt many generations from now, long past when we are here on earth?Dr Robert Clinton studied the lives of thousands of Christian leaders in the bible, in history, and in today’s world. Here were his observations:Observation 1. Few leaders finish well.Observation 2. Leadership is difficult.Observation 3. God's enabling presence is the essential ingredient of successful leadership.After studying the lives of countless leaders, the only ones who made to the end, who finished well, were those deeply rooted in God. Those who depended on Him. Those who sought nourishment from Him. I saw this leadership principal first hand in Northern India, in a home called “House of Grace.” For over thirty years, a diminutive spiritual giant named Aunty, has shown exception determination and resilience in serving orphans and vulnerable children in one of the spiritually darkest places on earth. Despite persecutions including beating her, burning down her home, kidnapping her kids, and running her over with a car, Aunty has continued being rooted in God. She told me her testimony, and I was lost in a maze of details as she faced challenge after challenge, with only her steadfast trust in God to carry her. Aunty is the poster child for grit. And the grit is now bearing fruit as three generation of children are worshipping God all throughout northern India. The seed she planted 30 years ago in a young orphan named Joy is developing into this mighty sequoia right before our eyes. Joy was one of the girls who was taken by Buddhist Monks, against her will. Joy escaped their compound two years later, traveling for weeks to make her way back to Aunty. Joy found Aunty and through Aunty, found Christ. She flourished at the home, eventually departing to the university studying for a Master’s degree - only to return as the director of the home today.House of Grace is the type of ministry we want to partner with. It’s the type of ministry Orphan Outreach wants to be. Deeply rooted. Psalms 1:3They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Watch this video to get a better picture of what it means to be deeply rooted. And then join us in making a real difference in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children through ministry partners like House of Grace.
Firmly rooted. Growing deeper. Making a real difference.