When Orphans are Born

Recently I was traveling back to Kara from a village where I was visiting. I received a call from my wife Nicole saying that someone from a nearby village had died and that I was needed at the hospital. When I arrived, my friend and leader of the church in Lassa Tchou, Jean-Marie, was there waiting. He explained that he had been called to Kara to help with a woman who had died and they needed us to transport the corpse to the village so they could bury the deceased woman immediately (which is completely normal in Africa).

As we loaded the corpse into the truck, the friends of the family rode in the back while Jean-Marie rode up front with me. On our way to the village, he explained the situation. The woman had been coming to the church in Lassa Tchou off and on for some time, mostly whenever she needed help. The church was always willing to help her since she was caring for 8 children. Her husband had left her and went to “do business” in another village for the past few years and never helped out with the children, neither physically nor financially. Just before she died, the husband returned, unwilling to explain what he had been doing and again unwilling to help with the children.

Even though the 8 remaining children still have a father, in more ways than one, the village considers them orphaned. The eldest son is not much older than 20 while the youngest (two of them are twins) are still in elementary school. Though they have a father, he may or may not be around, so from this moment on, in all likelihood, the family will have to fend for themselves. It is in this situation that I think about some of Jesus’ strongest words from Matthew 18:5-6 (NLT),

“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Having seen these children at the time they were told their mother had died and to see the father sitting around unwilling to comfort them helps me to understand the words that Jesus speaks to us today. When we see people whose lives have completely fallen apart, we have a responsibility to help them. When those people are children, our responsibility greatly increases due to the fact that the children are at their most vulnerable. When life falls apart and all that these orphans have is their trust in Jesus, we must stand up, take responsibility and protect them at all costs.

Who are the orphans and other vulnerable children that need our involvement and protection?

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Why I Worship - Nic Dunbar

A Modern Day Persistent Widow - Mark Kennell



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