Category Archives: Orphan Care

He Knows My Name

Some years ago, worship leader, Tommy Walker, wrote a wonderful song called, “He Knows My Name.” Below is the story of what inspired the lyrics.

The story behind the writing of “He Knows My Name” is one example of what God can do if we will follow through in obedience to Him. My pastor, Mark Pickerill, wrote a sermon of the same name and asked me to write a song to go with it. In the process, I thought it was turning out to be one of the worst songs I had ever written, but I just went ahead and finished it, knowing the greatest enemy of songwriters is unfinished songs. I also kept going because I had the sense in that moment that this would be a simple act of obedience to God. The inspiring part of the story is the testimonies of people all over the world that have been touched by my feeble little act of finishing what I started.

In 1997, I met a 7 year old orphan in the Philippines named Jerry. Everyday he would ask me, “Tommy, what’s my name?” I have to say, not many people on this earth knew this abandoned, extremely poor boy’s name — but I got to tell him that someone much greater then me did and I got to sing to him and many of his orphan friends this song. In the end I turned the song into a prayer saying let the abandoned, nameless, friendless and forgotten say… “He knows my name!” There is nothing more powerful then to know and declare that the God of heaven knows us and loves us…

Below are two videos of the song performed. The first one is of Tommy Walker singing it and the second one is of orphans with special needs singing it in China. Frankly, I prefer the second one. Sounds much sweeter.

Be sure to watch until the 26-second mark when their voices join in unison. By the way, the cute little one in the front row, sporting the yellow pants is my daughter Eden six years before she became to be a part of our family. Proud Daddy moment. Humor me…

One Surprising Fact About Adoption

The following video is produced by The Adoption Journey Project, a venture in partnership with Bethany Christian Services, Lifesong for Orphans, and Lifeline Children’s Services. As one of their “partnering bloggers” occasionally I post information from them.

I have a few passing comments about one of the eight facts. The first six facts present the staggering statistics about the number of orphans throughout the world. These numbers are overwhelming but not unusually surprising to me. What I did find surprising was the second to the last fact.

Fact #7: There are more than 1/3 of Americans have considered adopting, but no more than 2% have actually adopted.

I had no idea that 33% of Americans have considered adopting. This number seemed unusually high to me but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this is probably true. In my own experience, I would say that roughly 1/3 of the people I talked to about my adoption have admitted that they had considered adopting in the past as well. “Considered” can probably mean a variety of things from: explored options and prayed about to thought about and forgot about. So maybe 33% isn’t such a shocking figure.

But what still surprises me is that no more than 2% of those people actually adopt. How can that many people consider adoption but not follow through? There are countless reasons but I venture to say the primary one is fear. Adoption sounds like a great idea. A loving one and a biblical one. But, when that great idea is weighed in light of the costs, then fear usually wins the day.

Many people I know say the financial costs deter them but I think it is more than that. I think the fear of the unknown is much stronger. Adoption is a journey that leads toward a definite yet unknown future. Even if couples are convinced of “why” they should adopt, they are paralyzed by the unknown answers to the questions “what?” “when?” and “how?” Most of those questions are eventually answered but not necessarily the way you expect and definitely not until you step forward in faith.

Most couples never make it past “considered” because they simply cannot answer all the questions running through their minds and that frightens them to the point of inaction and apathy. Adoption, like all journeys of faith and obedience, calls us to surrender. Surrender our security. Surrender our control. Ultimately, surrender to the Father. This shouldn’t be frightening because the Father is good and trustworthy. His plans always lead to His glory and, in that, even our blessing. Is fear more powerful than the Father? Of course not but unfortunately, we often let it be.

By doing so, we miss out. Yes, we avoid times of uncertainty and sacrifice but we also miss out on seeing the Father answer those unknown questions in marvelous ways. Surrendering to the Father and then watching him respond in the most unexpected ways has always left me awe-struck of His goodness and His greatness. I would not trade this worship for anything this world has to offer.

If you are part of the 1/3 of the population who are “considering” adoption, let me encourage you to become the 2% who follow through rather than the 98% who don’t. Don’t let fear claim victory in your hearts and minds. Seek first the Kingdom of God and then let all these things will be added unto you.

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2012 Lifesong Haiti Team

The 2013 Lifesong Haiti team arrived on Hispaniola island today. More specifically they settled in the city of Jeremie. The team will have a two-pronged ministry: medical care and equipping of the house moms who care for orphans. We are especially excited about the house mom training since it’s the first time it’s being done, drawing head caregivers from all over the country. If you want to improve orphan care then what better way than to equip and encourage those who care for them?

Our church’s first trip to Haiti was just last year but since then our partnership with locally-based El Shaddai Ministries has grown quickly in love and vision. It’s been thrilling to see the Father raise up a new team of twelve to break new ground for the Kingdom this year!

Please pray for Dana, Elaine, Cindy, Linda, Christy, Julie, Brad, Martin, Brian, Sean, Craig and Gregg. Pray for their safety as there is a storm and some flooding there. Pray for the power of the gospel to be evident through their words and deeds.

To follow the team’s progress check out their blog here. To see a video of last year’s trip click here.

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Orphan Sunday 2012

Today is officially Orphan Sunday. While our church will recognize it next week, I wanted to make note of it today, by providing some history for the genesis of the idea. The following information is from the Orphan Sunday website

ORPHAN SUNDAY
On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress.

Each event is locally-led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings, shared meals and youth activities—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan, and what we can do in response.

From many sources, one voice. On November 4th, 2012, thousands of events echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well.

Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.

HISTORY
Many churches and organizations have hosted “Orphan Sundays” over the years. With a nationwide Orphan Sunday, the Christian Alliance for Orphans seek to add a unified voice and coordinated effort to the many worthy efforts that preceded this year.

The seeds of this united Orphan Sunday come especially as a gift from the Church in Africa. While attending a church service in Zambia, an American visitor was struck by the pastor’s passionate call to care for orphans in the local community, which had been ravaged by AIDS and poverty. Members of the church faced deep need themselves. But as the service ended, one after another stepped forward with money, food and other goods-some even taking off their own shoes and placing them in the offering for orphans.

The visitor, Gary Schneider, was so impacted that he began to help Zambian leaders coordinate Orphan Sunday efforts across Zambia. These efforts spread to the U.S. in 2003 with help from Every Orphan’s Hope and other organizations. (Orphan Sunday is licensed to the Christian Alliance for Orphans as a registered trademark of Every Orphan’s Hope).

The Christian Alliance for Orphans honors the church in Zambia for the gift of Orphan Sunday. We pray the church all over the world may be as faithful as our Zambian bothers and sisters to reflect God’s heart for the orphan, both near and far.

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Both Hands

This is a touching video that explains the genesis of the Both Hands Foundation. Every time I watch it, I cry because it reminds me that I grew up in the household of a widow who received help from others and now I have the privilege of adopting an orphan into my own family. As we partner with Both Hands further, we are grateful for the life and call of its founder, JT Olson and his entire staff. The Father is truly working in and through them.

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Gifts of Purpose

Here’s the latest news from Lifesong for Orphans!

Make a Difference in ONE Life!

What is your holy discontent? What is your God-given passion on this earth? You know, that one thing that MOVES you to action, that brings you to tears, and causes you to lose sleep? We have a passion, a yearning to see justice for the fatherless!

“Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17


2011 Gifts of Purpose from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

It’s that time of year again. Holiday music rings through your speaker systems. Decorations light up your street corners. Families gather together. It’s the season of love, joy and family As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ during this season of giving, we often forget to give to those who NEED it most! This year give different. Give to the 147 million orphans worldwide who dream of belonging. Give HOPE to children living on the streets whose only Christmas wish is survival.

What if, this year, your family gave a gift to those who need it most? A gift that won’t fit under the tree?

Would you consider making a difference in ONE LIFE

  •  Help a child break free from gripping poverty.
  •  Give the love of Jesus through Christian mentors.
  •  Give a future to an orphan’s caregiver.

This year join Lifesong for Orphans in giving a gift with purpose. A gift that will speak Jesus to a child. Introducing Lifesong’s 2011 Gifts of Purpose Catalog.

**Just a reminder that I do not personally benefit if you choose to participate in these opportunities. I just pass them along to you as another way to care for orphans.
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Orphan Sunday

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Across the country, November is officially designated as “National Adoption month” and this past Sunday, November 6, was recognized as “Orphan Sunday” by over a thousand churches across the nation.

At our church, God’s heart for the orphan was emphasized throughout our worship service in a variety of different ways by a variety of different people. Daryl selected theme-related praise songs to sing (He has Show TheeThe Father’s Love, etc). Cindy shared a children’s message using a storybook called, “Latitha’s Story” (produced by an orphan ministry called Watoto). A short but touching video produced by Allan Rosenow was shown. I preached a sermon about our call to imitate our Father who has a heart for orphans (Eph. 5:1). Also, during the sermon, Kelly shared a testimony about how being adopted has changed her life. Toward the end of the service, a group of children in our church presented an informational skit explaining how our church could get involved in orphan care through opportunities with Chicks4Orphans and Watoto.

Then, if that wasn’t enough already, for lunch, everyone was served what the majority of orphans eat every day: a small bowl of beans and rice. No one could escape from our church without knowing what was being emphasized that day. God’s heart for orphans was present in what we sang, in what we were taught, in what we saw, in what we heard and even in what we ate. In our church’s short history, it was one of the more memorable worship services that we ever had. I pray that it will not be the last as the Father grows our hearts to be more like his.

For a more detailed recap and some suggestions for recognizing Orphan Sunday, see my post at the Dads for Orphans blog.

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One Week Away

Orphan Sunday is coming in 7 days! This is the video that we showed at our church today in anticipation of what is to come next week.

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The True Seven Dwarfs

This video moved and inspired my heart. Maybe it’s because of their disabilities. Maybe it’s because of their adoptions. Or maybe it’s just because they are followers of Jesus who are living out their faith for all the world to see. You can read more about their story here.

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T4A Day 1

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Oh, what a day! 12 hours at Redemption Church. So much to take in. So much to process. So much to pray through. My head and my heart overfloweth. Here’s a quick summary: Spirit-filled worship, Darrin Patrick preaching on the importance of proclamation and demonstration of the gospel, seminar on how to start an orphan ministry in the church, Chik-Fil-A lunch!, seminar on leading the family through adoption, Tullian Tchividjian preaching on the law and grace, networking/making new friends, Dan Cruver preaching on the bountiful fountain of our giving God and a delicious BBQ dinner. It was a good day. I am tired. Good night.

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