Anyone who knows me also knows that the Lord has placed a call for orphan ministry in my life. It’s just an undeniable call that I have had for years, but I have not been able to activate it due to the life stage that I was in. How could I possibly reach the fatherless and motherless children of the world when my own four cried out to me at home? So, my trip to Indonesia was the culmination of many years in waiting.
It took 22 hours in the air, 9 hours of layovers, and 2 hours on the road to arrive at Nias, an island off of the western coast of Indonesia.
The heat? Intense. The terrain? Majestic. The food? Spicy.
One of the goals of the trip was to connect with the orphanage there. The moment our cars pulled in, a swarm of young, anticipating faces greeted us. Some were in their teens and some were as young as two-years-old.
Although they inundated us with hugs and kisses, my connection to them was not immediate. This was because despite the calling and heart I had for them, I was initially held back by a fear of pain.
It was just too much.
Being a mother myself, I know what a child needs. I know that even one requires the utmost attention and provision. Yet, there, I was looking at at least 15 of them, around 15 who did not have a biological mother to tuck them into bed or a biological father to protect them. All that I was aware of in that moment was their painful lack. Did the little ones have someone to run to in the middle of the night– if they needed water or had a nightmare? Did they have someone they felt like they belonged to? Who listens to their stories from school? Who holds them when they cry?
I was afraid of looking into the eyes of a child to only feel helpless. How can you connect with someone who has needs that you cannot fulfill?
These days, if you want to flirt with discouragement and sorrow, all you have to do is take a glance at the world news. It is when you look at the world with the naked eye that you are easily consumed with the reality that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Warfare, famine, slavery, persecution — the world is no stranger to evil.
However, the Lord has not called us to look at the world with naked eyes. Rather, He called us to see through His eyes.
Every morning in the orphanage, we woke for early morning prayer. So, at 5 a.m., we joined the orphans and their pastors in the church sanctuary. On that very first morning, I heard the most powerful sound in the world, the sound of the children calling out to Father — to “Baba.”
Hand claps thundered in the sanctuary. Sounds of praise pierced through the atmosphere. In that room, Jesus wasn’t an option, He was life. He was destiny. He was the beginning and the end. The Heavenly Father was not a mere concept. He was their everything.
And He was there. Indeed, the Presence of God was thick in that place. And, it was then that I knew that I knew that I knew… that Jesus was faithful to these children. They had a faith and hunger for Christ that rivaled some of the greatest ministers in the Western world.
John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Recognizing darkness is not enough. An awareness of brokenness in itself can only lead you to despair. Instead, you must be more deeply aware of the Spirit’s loyalty. Although men and women have left these children, the Hound of Heaven pursued them. And, in the end, they lacked nothing.
Throughout the two weeks in Indonesia, I had the privilege of hearing many of the children’s stories and also witnessed their triumphs. Many who graduated from the children’s home were moving forward into college, even beginning to build their own families and careers.
These children didn’t need our pity. They deserved our celebration. Their stories were not sad. They were victorious.
It is wildly comforting to know that the depravity of humankind did not push Him away. He is not far from our pain. He does not walk away from our failures. Jesus Christ sent the Spirit of God to be near to us despite the mess we’ve made.