A Large, Unknown Country

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I want to tell you about a country. It’s the 8th largest country in the world, measured by population. But nobody knows it exists. How can this be ? Because it’s a diaspora – it’s spread all over the earth. Population – 143,000,000.

No slogan or constitution or history to unify them. No President. No flag. No anthem. The only unifying threads are poverty, hopelessness and despair. The world’s orphans are found in every country – some in orphanages; most on the streets. Almost all in the least developed countries of the world. THEY ARE MANY, BUT THEY HAVE NO VOICE.

Where do they get a voice ? From those who have true compassion and are in positions of influence – government leaders, as well as private citizens. Who is doing more to address the orphan crisis around the world ? Let’s not mince words. It’s certainly not the governments – either the US or foreign. All too often, they create barriers to solving the orphan crisis. Poor countries don’t have the resources; rich countries don’t care - it's not a high enough priority.

What about the UN ? It exists to give voice to the voiceless; hope to the most marginalized people in the world. Is there a group with less of a voice than destitute orphaned children ? The UN’s track record is mixed. Their various arms do address some of the problems, but they create hurdles as well.

This massive worldwide problem is not given nearly the attention it deserves, precisely because orphans do not have a voice. And it is a massive problem from so many perspectives. Unaddressed, it will mushroom into a much larger problem as orphans (street children and those in institutional care) become young adults and try to integrate into society. Sadly, most will fail.

What can be done to confront the global orphan crisis ? It takes compassion. It takes resources. It takes awareness. More than anything, it takes courageous, visionary leadership. There is a stirring in the hearts of people in this country and in other developed countries – a drumbeat, a growing concern for the plight of the orphan. People motivated by their faith and those motivated by a general sense of concern for their fellow man. People ready to be led in this cause.

Gladney will be a leader. We will lead both from faith and from a general concern. As for myself, I want my heart aligned with God’s heart. His heart is for the orphan. His concern for the fatherless echoes loudly throughout Scripture. It can't be ignored. We will lead and we will pray that world leaders choose to align their hearts with the heart of the One who created us all, who calls us to “choose life”, and who is as concerned with a despairing orphan in sub-Sahara Africa as with the government official dining on fine wine and caviar. In fact, I am fairly confident that God is more concerned for the orphan.

“When you did it to the least of these, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Maybe one day this Federal Orphan Republic will be a much smaller country.


Cathy Moore said...

Thank you for posting this heartfelt, insightful and challenging article on the immensity of the plight of orphans in our world. You are so right to point out that this ever-growing crisis leads to a multiplicity of additional societal problems felt all around the globe.

I just returned from a 10-day mission trip to Haiti to visit my daughter and her husband who are full-time missionaries there. I witnessed the depth and pervasiveness of this human travesty first hand throughout the impoverished slums, streets, villages, and "homes" of the Haitian people - precious children of God.

It was a bright light shining in the darkness to see the dedicated, courageous, and compassionate mission staff and short-term mission groups at work in the orphanage, medical clinic, school, nutrition program, church, etc. They are helping people move from despair and death to hope and life!

So, lead Gladney on with faith and compassionate concern for the cause of all orphans around the world... we will join our hearts and voices with yours (as you align yours with God's)to be their voice and to bring them hope and new life.

Erin said...

Awesome post!