Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
These verses in the Bible are often referred to as the Great Commission. After Jesus was crucified and rose again, he appeared to his disciples before ascending to heaven. He left them with these words, “…go and make disciples of all nations…,” a charge to continue the work that they had been doing on earth even though he was now gone.
Over the last two thousand years, these simple words have been the fuel for countless organizations and missions programs, whether they’ve been sharing the gospel with someone in another country or someone who lives next door. The Great Commission calls us to share Jesus with anyone and everyone, near and far.
It doesn’t stop there, though. After someone hears the gospel and accepts Jesus, we don’t just walk away because our work is done. Just the opposite actually. This person who just accepted Christ is like a new little baby in their faith, so just as we do for a child, we must guide them on this adventure of becoming like Christ, “baptizing them…and teaching them…”
As we are loving and discipling these people, we will inevitably encounter more than just spiritual needs. Because Jesus showed here on earth that he cared about physical needs (feeding people, healing sickness, etc.) as well as spiritual ones, we want to make sure that we, too, are meeting people’s basic needs as best as we can.
One specific way to do this is through orphan care. This past Sunday, our church hosted an event at which we explained that orphan care encompasses more than just adoption and foster care for children without parents. According to the Bible, we are called to take care of not only the orphans, but “the fatherless” as well. This means we must also take care of the child who has one parent who has passed away, is incarcerated, or is not apart of their lives at this point in time for whatever reason. This opens up even more opportunities for us to help.
For some of us, adoption or foster care isn’t currently a viable option (but that doesn’t mean it can never be… keep praying!), but that can’t be our excuse to not get involved at all. We have so many other options. We can actively be a part of preventing orphan situations by partnering with an organization like Compassion International and sponsoring a child, or we can get involved with our local “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program to mentor a child. We can donate time, money, or resources to the different programs that our church is involved with in La Libertad, El Salvador, such as Esperanza, a program that teaches students basic trades like sewing and wood working, or the nutrition center that makes sure over 80 children receive meals each day.
Orphan care is so much more than just adoption and foster care. There is a place for each of us to get involved, and it’s time that we as a church jump in and do just that. Don’t make these little ones wait any longer to have their basic physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met. Be a part of the change we all want so badly to see.
For more information or specifics on how you can get involved, contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.