You may recall in last month’s newsletter, I introduced Orphan Care Alliance (OCA) with an overview of the ministry and referencing our Vision and Mission statements.
This month, I would like to take a deeper look into where OCA places its focus. I hope this overview helps to clarify your understanding of how God is leading OCA and the opportunities we have to serve fatherless children.
Orphan Care Alliance operates under God’s mandate to His people in James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Through prayer and God’s guidance, OCA has been led into 3 areas of serving the Fatherless. We identify the areas as Advocacy, Family Support, and Mentoring.
The Advocacy Ministry was where OCA got its start. A group of families wanted to raise awareness and encourage other Christian families to consider adoption and open the empty bedrooms of their homes to fatherless children. What was once an opportunity to serve at a seminar a few times each year, has grown into a year-long ministry of advocating through seminars in our community, presentations at church’s advocating programs that serve the fatherless, and coordination of national events in our local community.
The Family Support Ministry has been a growing part of OCA’s focus. The growth of the work in this area has been to a focus on domestic needs that started in 2008. A local need? Really? That would have been my first response if I were you. Well, yes, there is a need and the good news is that the Body of Christ could make quite an impact to meet the need here in our community. There are 800 – 1,000 children in our state’s care at any given time, but only a little over 300 families to care for them. In addition, the families that do care for these children often need support, especially in the early transition of children into their home. And while we support Christian families in the financial aspects of adoption, we also provide a support group to them when the adoption process is complete. Finally, we also believe that if possible, biological families should remain a family unit. So, OCA is now initiating the Safe Families program where Christian families can help biological families stay in tact.
Our Mentoring Ministry was started because of a plea from the states of Kentucky and Indiana. Do you ever wonder what happens to children who aren’t adopted? Statistically, it isn’t a pretty picture: 75 – 80% end up homeless or in prison. These young men and women are the product of a tough childhood. We can make a difference in the lives of these young people showing them Christ’s love, coming alongside them where they are, and letting them know they are loved. About 300 children age out of care in Jefferson County each year. We can make a difference for these children and our community.
I will close by reminding you that God has blessed everyone with spiritual gifts and talents. While you may not be on the front lines, I can assure you there is a meaningful opportunity for you to Serve the Fatherless!
Orphan Care Alliance