Especially since the release of Orphanology, lots of the questions and comments I have fielded from people have centered on the theme of orphan hosting. Many people are really curious or even captivated by the idea. Others are wary or even skeptical. While we are in the middle of another hosting event with Promise 139, it has given me a little perspective to revisit why I think orphan hosting makes sense. Here are some thoughts:
- It personalizes the global orphan crisis. Most of the people who volunteer with our hosting program will never set foot an international orphanage. Through hosting, they have an opportunity to put real faces and real names with the huge orphan problem that exists across the globe. I have heard it said that "once you can see their faces and know their names, you are responsible for them." That's a pretty personal interpretation of the charge in James 1:27. In reality, we are responsible for all of them. When we come to know them, it is we that become aware of our responsibility.
- Hosting brings hope, and I'm not talking the hope of adoption. One of my favorite stories was the 15-year-old boy who came to us as part of a hosting group. He had been profoundly neglected. He was not sent to school by his mom, and quite frankly, going to the orphanage was a blessing for him. But, he didn't see much of a future for himself. After two weeks among believers in America being loved on unconditionally and shown Christ, he said this. "I am starting to think about the future. Before I didn't think much about it. Seeing how these people love and care for each other inspires me." He had hope. Hope that a good life was possible, and that hope was rooted in Jesus because he had been presented the Good News and it had changed him eternally! He was going home as an adopted son of the King knowing that he had brothers and sisters in America who loved and supported him.
- Hosting gives an opportunity to earn the right to be influential in the lives of kids the other 50+ weeks a year. By working well with the orphanage and other government officials, you can earn trust to begin to impact kids through transitional programs and through aid that extends throughout the year. Hosting begins the relationship, but it does not have to define it.
I could go on forever, but these are a few of my thoughts. What are yours? I would love to hear from you. You can send questions or comments at the end of this blog or fine me on twitter (@rick_morton) or facebook (www.facebook.com/dr.rick.morton)