I want them to see...
— Mary Kathryn Tiller · Tuesday, November 12, 2019 —
Rugged individualism is deeply prized in western culture, but for Ronne Rock, there is more value in community, in family. In fact, should you spend much time at all with Ronne, you will surely hear her reminder that, “We’re all in this together.” It is this reminder, this commitment to care for the forgotten, that led Ronne to Orphan Outreach nearly ten years ago.
“Before coming to Orphan Outreach, I worked for another nonprofit focused on orphan care. Through them, I led a mission trip to a new location. When we arrived, it was clear we were not equipped to care for the significant needs of that particular children’s home.” Ronne said.
When Ronne returned home, she brought those needs to her employer. Unfortunately, the nonprofit was changing directions and she was told it was unlikely they would be returning to that facility. Unwilling to see those needs go unmet, Ronne reached out to Orphan Outreach.
“I had come to know Orphan Outreach through the Christian Alliance for Orphans (or CAFO), so I called Tiffany Wines,” Ronne remembered. “I asked if anybody happened to be going to Guatemala, specifically Xela, and if so, could they stop by and see the facility. Tiffany asked me to hang on a minute and when she returned, she put Mike Douris on the line. Mike asked me a few questions then said, “It just so happens I’m going to be in Guatemala in two weeks... and I’ll be in Xela!’”
Mike was able to visit the facility and, two months later, Orphan Outreach established a partnership with Little House of Refuge. As soon as the partnership was established, Ronne began leading mission trips through Orphan Outreach, which she continues to do to this day. Over the course of the next few years, Ronne was invited to join Orphan Outreach as a freelance writer, and a year after that was offered a permanent position on their marketing team. She now serves as the Engagement Manager. To Ronne, her work with Orphan Outreach is much more than a job.
“There is not a person on the Orphan Outreach staff that views this as an eight-to-five job.” she said. “We are all in. It is our life. It is in our blood. It is in our DNA. If you could see our group text, you'd see stories and prayer requests every day. We cry together and we celebrate together. There’s nothing more beautiful than when we all get together and share what’s going on in the lives of kids that we serve. If I could let anybody peek behind the curtain at Orphan Outreach, that is what I would show them first.”
Over the last six years, Ronne has visited every partnership site except Nepal, the most recent addition to the Orphan Outreach family.
“Guatemala will always feel like a second home because of the amount of time I have spent there over the past decade. I have developed deep and abiding friendships there. Russia will always have a special place in my heart because it is the very first place I ever served in an orphan care ministry. But the place I feel the most vulnerable, the place that feels the most unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, has to be India. There is something mysterious and beautiful about the country and its people. You just feel your faith be set ablaze,” shared Ronne.
Ronne considers each individual involved in Orphan Outreach to be family, and that is no mere nicety. It is a deeply held conviction that guides her approach to orphan care.
“Serving orphans well, to me, means wrapping your arms around them as family. That means providing relevant, sustainable care for them wherever they are. If that child has an opportunity to be with family it is doing what you can to protect them through that process. If that child has been rescued from harm and is in a place of sanctuary, it is doing what you can to come alongside them in their journey of restoration. It is taking the mandate seriously that says we are supposed to serve widows and orphans in their need. We become their family in whatever way is relevant and in whatever way is healing and nurturing. We provide that care and support for as long as it’s needed.”
To provide care on that level takes time and attention to detail. Never in a rush, Orphan Outreach takes it’s time to find the right ministry partner, and once they commit, they continue to listen first and act second.
“The last thing we want to do is to cause harm, so normally what we’ll do first with a new partnership is establish resources to support them. Once we are sure we have wrapped our arms around that ministry in a healthy way, then we’ll begin taking folks in to visit. That’s one of the things I love about Orphan Outreach. We take our time. We ask a lot of questions. We build in measures of accountability both for ourselves and for those ministry partners so we’re doing the right thing for them and for those kids. We do everything we can to treat those kids as if they were our own flesh and blood.”
Every day, Ronne does her best to share the stories of life change and restoration within the Orphan Outreach family, in the hopes of encouraging individuals on the sidelines of orphan care to get involved.
“I want whoever comes alongside us to do so because they see the responsibility we have to do what is in the best interest of the child. I want them to see the child who is living in destitute poverty receiving nutritious meals and an education, to see a young mama who is being offered restorative support, to see our special needs kids who are being provided wraparound care. I want them to see what is it that really drives our hearts and to be moved to do their part.”
You can be a part of the ongoing work of orphan care by becoming a James 127 Advocate. You tell the world you are part of a movement dedicated to doing what’s in the best interest of a child. Your gift of just $10.58 a month or $127 a year allows Orphan Outreach to serve orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide, focusing on areas of greatest need throughout the year. You tell the world, “I stand for orphans.” And you tell a child, “I stand for YOU.”