What does this picture say? Not about the man in it -- that's me, in case you don't recognize me in sleep pants and in sleep -- but about the boy?
The child is Bogdan, 12, from Ukraine. When Judy snapped the photo, he had arrived at our home an hour earlier for his third visit in a cultural exchange. We hope to adopt him in May or June. (Please pray, as nothing is settled until it is settled, so to speak). He came home, showered and changed into the Kobe Bryant jersey he had to have when Judy took him shopping hours earlier, before they even got to the house. (She had to right away; he arrived with the clothes on his back, and had been wearing them for three days.)
He wandered downstairs to find me resting on the sofa-recliner, sat down next to me (I woke briefly as he did) and slipped over onto my shoulder. Curtis-the-poodle couldn't resist making it a group snuggle and crawled over Bogdan.
This is a very personal picture, to me, and I run the risk of appearing self-promoting in this blog, but I judge both worth it to communicate again a vital truth that many of you can embrace in a constructive way: There are 163 million homeless children in the world. YOU may be who they need.
Like Bogdan, most of them are a sponge for nurture, love, appropriate affection, coaching, leadership, a Mom and Dad. Or even a Mom or Dad. (Single adults, one good parent is much better than no parent). Like Bogdan, who lives in an orphanage, most have never had someone to hug them, much less care for them the way a loving parent does.
This is not intended as a guilt trip, though it could be a conviction trip, if the Holy Spirit does takes you on it (but I don't think I'm Him!) I'm just a man -- an impatient one who is amazed God ever asked us to take homeless children -- stating these truths and hoping more people respond:
- The Word of God says, in many places, to care for the orphan and the 'solitary.'
- American, middle-class-and-higher Christians have vast, wasted resources (big houses, money, time). The use of those resources should be reconsidered to be purposeful rather than just pleasurable.
- We are called to live on mission.
- The need is great and obvious.
- Two plus two frequently equals four.
And does He have to 'call' you in some special way? Isaiah said, 'Here am I, send me,' apart from a personal call and prior to specific instruction, in simple observance of the need and willingness to meet it.
The picture tells the story. They need love. They'll embrace it. They need Christ. They'll receive Him (Bogdan did a year ago, on his first visit. He gladly reads the Word and related books now, and will pray aloud in Russian when we pray).
Will your family make a difference in 2011? There are many, many ways. This is just one. Let me know how I can help you to help them.