orphan care

Day 3: Memorial

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

Yesterday I wrote about learning to water ski, as a kid, to impress my dad.  That memory popped into my head recently at the strangest moment.  I was in Washington DC for an overnight stop before flying to Ethiopia with a mission group.  We had 26 suitcases, each 50 pounds, full of supplies and donations.  We had checked them in Dallas, and we had to claim them all and take them to our hotel for the night before checking them again in the morning.  This meant we had to drag all 26 suitcases through the airport, out to the sidewalk, across traffic, and down to where the hotel shuttle would pick us up.

(Photo by Traci Judd)

(Photo by Traci Judd)

As I was dragging 100 pounds and my carry-on through the airport, out the door, and across the street, the aching in my arms jogged the memory of aching arms from water skiing.

I also had a Bible story pop into my head as we crossed the street in front of the airport.  I immediately thought of the Israelites passing over the Jordan River on their way to the promise land.  God had them carry stones, one for each of the twelve tribes, and place them in pile as a memorial.

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.‘ When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’  then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
— Joshua 4: 1-3, 6b-7 ESV

God wanted the Israelites to remember what God had done for them; He had brought them out of Egypt and into the promise land.

The best way to remember something is having a physical reminder and a muscle memory for that event.

Think of the way Daniel son was trained by Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, not that this is equivalent to the example out of scripture, but it is a good illustration.


Wax on, wax off.

Paint the fence.

Sand the floor.


God told them to pick up some rocks, knowing how the guys I know operate, they probably scoured the river bed and bragged who had the biggest rock to contribute to the memorial.

As they carried these big, heavy rocks, they were creating a memory.  And what they were to remember wasn’t what they had done, but what God had done.

After arriving in Ethiopia with all 26 of our heavy suitcases, I sat on my bed and thought all of this through.

I wanted to not remember that I had carried supplies for orphan care to Africa.  I wanted that muscle memory of dragging those bags halfway across the world to remind me of what God had done.

God had not only worked all of the circumstances out for good so that our orphan care trip was possible, but he was bringing my heart into a better place, a place filled with grace and freedom.  He was using my serving Him to teach me that what I could do for Him wasn’t where my security should come from.  What I could do for God shouldn’t be where my value comes from, and it was never going to make me holy in the sight of God.  I could never impress God with my proper behavior or good works.  My worth, value, and righteousness comes only from Him.

That is what He has done.

That is what we must remember.


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I like to include a song with each blog post.  Why not?  Music is the best.

A plea for you to join orphan care ministry

In this world you are an orphan —-
eagerly anticipating your adoption as God’s child.
In this world you are a widow —-
longing for reunion with your Bridegroom.
In this world you are a stranger —-
a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven.

And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the stranger, and the widow.
— Tom Davis, Fields of the Fatherless

For over a year now I've been involved with a group called In His Hands Orphans Outreach.  We meet once a month for an hour, the second Monday of the month.  Here is my plea to convince you that you can and should give an hour a month to orphan care.

If you are a Christian, you are called to care for the orphan.  If you are not convinced of that fact, please email me, and I will send you a list of scriptures to read.  I'm willing to bet that most of you know that it is true.

So what does it mean to care for the orphan?

It can mean lots of different things to different people.  One thing it doesn't necessarily mean is adoption.

Adoption is not for everyone. Nor is it the answer to the world’s orphan crisis. In the best of circumstances, adoption creates a loving family for a child who has been orphaned. But it does not address the root causes of why a child has been abandoned or orphaned to begin with. It is a band-aid on a much larger problem. It is estimated that 99% of the world’s orphans will not be adopted. Adoption is an answer for some orphaned children . . . but not for most of them.
— Kristen Howerton, Rage Against the Minivan

Since adoption will only solve 1% of the orphan crisis, my hope is that we can get more people involved in In His Hands Orphans Outreach that are not involved in adoption, just ordinary Christians wanting to obey God's call to care for the orphan.

So if you are not adopting, and you have no plans to adopt, we need you.  Come.  Participate.

What do we need from you?

Your ears.

We need our city of Amarillo to have a better understanding of local orphan care, international orphan care, the difficulties faced in adoption, and the difficulties faced in foster care.  We need you to listen to stories and listen to facts.

How will we know how to act if we don't know what the problems are?

We need your ideas.

God gave us all unique brains, diverse backgrounds, and different gifts.  Last night I read a blog post from a missionary in Ethiopia who is using his abilities in the business world to create jobs and prevent broken families.  He had this to say.

I believe that every one of us has a skill set that can be applied in one way or another to change the world. We live in a time on this earth that is still full of suffering, but we also live in a time where the world is full of people who are ready to move forward and really make some progress on eliminating poverty in our lifetime. You might be an awesome diaper changer, or an incredible secretary, you might have a bunch of resources that you want to invest, or only your bare hands, you may be an incredible story teller who can share the gospel of Jesus one by one with everyone that you meet, but regardless of your skill all of us are called to do something, and I want to challenge us all to make sure we don’t leave this earth before we figure out our little piece of changing the world.
— Levi Benkert, Bring Love In

The thing I love about In His Hands is that it is a city-wide Christian effort.  There are only a few churches in town that are big enough to support even a small orphan ministry.  We all come from different local churches, but we are all part of His church, and we are working together to do something bigger than we could do on our own.

So have I convinced you?  

Do you have ears?  Do you live in the panhandle?  Do you have a brain?  Are you willing to obey the command of Christ to care for the orphan?  Can you spare 1 hour of your 730 hours a month to dedicate to orphan care?

Then come!

We are meeting this month at my house.  Here's the details:

Monday, March 9th


The Lane Home, 1817 S. Virginia St.

"Forever I will move like the world that turns beneath me
And when I lose my direction I'll look up to the sky
And when the black cloak drags upon the ground
I'll be ready to surrender, and remember
Well we're all in this together
If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die"