Better late than never... In May, I was able to attend the Christian Alliance for the Oprhan's Summit of the Orphan in Nashville, TN. This year was my 6th year in a row attending this conference. I've learned more from attending this conference each year than I did in my entire college career. It was at this conference that I first heard about:
* what Casa Viva was doing to establish foster care as an alternative to institutionalized care for kids in Costa Rica
* how sometimes American's efforts to help in 3rd world countries can be harmful
* Karyn Purvis, TCU's Institute of Child Development, TBRI
* the spectrum of orphan care options for vulnerable kids
* Jayne Schooler's trainings in Eastern European orphanages
* wisdom guided love
* The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis was available in spanish
* The Connection Where Hearts Meet study
* Kid Calm the best liquid Omega 3 supplement ever
I could go on and on because the truth is, I've learned SO MUCH at this conference! I've been so encouraged by the speakers who have shared about their experiences in foster care, adoption and global orphan care efforts. I've been so encouraged to hear leaders in the field of orphan care share the sometimes hard honest truth regarding not only their successes but their most defeating moments.
I've learned something in my own 7 years of serving orphans in Monterrey, Mexico... orphan care is a very opposed work. Satan loves to prey on vulnerable, defenseless, voiceless, helpless orphans. Generational sin and it's effects are real. This is a very difficult and often defeating line of work.
But here is something else I've learned in these past 7 years - one day Jesus will come back and there will be no more pain, no more crying, no more suffering, no more sin, no more abuse, no more neglect, no more rape cases, no more orphans. Jesus will come back and He will right every wrong because he is the Lord of Justice and truth. He will right every wrong and dry every tear from every eye. He will place every child in a family. Families won't fall apart. Husbands will stay with their wives and will love their children. There won't be anymore orphanages in heaven. We'll be out of work in this orphan care world that God has placed me in.
And here is something else I've learned over the years here - God has provided the resources that these precious children need. God has given to us everything that we need to love and serve the orphans overseas and in our own backyard. We just have to listen to his voice, say YES when he asks us to welcome someone into our home or family. God will fill us with everything we need to be the difference in the life of maybe just one child. But for that one child, for that one beautiful face, for those 10 fingers, for that image bearer of our God - it matters. It makes all the difference. It changes their lives. What a beautiful, undeserved honor, what a holy calling to have one of these beautiful children to trust you, accept your healing hugs and to love you back.
I'm so grateful to be able to live and serve here. God is so good. He is so faithful. He loves these kids so much. How do I know? Because my love for each of their brown little faces grows with each passing day.
In other news... because I digressed a bit in this post... this year, I was invited to help present a breakout session with Jayne Schooler at the Summit this year in Nashville. It was an honor.