Buckled in, once again, this time to Ethiopia. I just enjoyed the longest stretch of time that I’ve been the USA in several months — an incredible 25 days. In those 25 days, my children went back to school, we said goodbye to one family member and welcomed the newest family member to the world. It’s been a very full 25 days.
I will admit that getting back on a plane, the first of four flights it will take to get me there, has been pretty hard this time. So why do I keep doing it? The answer is pretty simple even though my actions are hard.
So He said to them…
“I assure you: There is no one who has left a house, wife or brothers, parents or children because of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more at this time, and eternal life in the age to come.”Luke 18:29, 30
Many years ago, I became absolutely impassioned by the understanding that in so much of the world, the reason we have an orphan crisis is because of poverty. In fact, I’ve come to hate the word “orphan” because these kids aren’t orphans in the way we all think. They are children who have been abandoned or they are children who have been taken into a village widow’s home, even though she has not a scrap of food to offer. The crisis as I see it is in the cycle of poverty, a cycle that destroys families and orphans children, and I believe it is entirely within our ability to break that cycle.
The reason I am able to serve the people around the world whom I love so dearly is because of the foundation of my own family.
Bryan and I are inseparably united in our understanding of what God has called us to do, both for our children and for the Kingdom. In fact, though I am the face of our advocacy, it is often he who holds me accountable to what we both know I’ve been called to do when I doubt myself. And together, we are seamlessly raising children who have come to live such beautifully missional lives. They pray for the sick and orphaned daily and they understand that when they’re brave because mom is traveling, they are being obedient to God’s calling as well.
My belief in that foundation of a family is the reason I’m buckled in this time. We are initiating the most aggressive project we’ve ever done. I’m both terrified and enthralled and we absolutely need your prayers and support on this one. We’ve linked arms with our ministry partner and we’re helping 1,000 families complete our family preservation program that will equip mothers, grandmothers, and young adults to start businesses that will provide for their families. We are giving these families complete self-sustainability. Children will be cared for by families; families that have been made whole and have been given a strong foundation through empowerment, vocational training, start up capital, and counseling.
I’m so prayerful for these families. I can’t wait to meet them and to hear their stories. All week, I will do my best to share their stories here. Their stories are less about the orphan crisis and more about ending the cycle of poverty. The legacies of their 6,000 family members who will be supported by these businesses will no longer be legacies of poverty, hunger, desperation, and abandonment. They will be stories of restoration and dignity. They will be stories of family preservation and the rebirth of entire communities. They will be stories where children are no longer forced to beg for food on the streets; and when children aren’t on the streets begging, they can be found in schools. And they will be stories of children being raised with the example of loving parents, changing the stories of orphans creating orphans. Their stories are being rewritten. And it all starts this week!