Since 2000, the CoMission for Children has been playing a part in networking and equipping hundreds of organizations, churches and believers in Russia and Ukraine to care for orphans. Over the years we have done conferences and created an online Russian orphan care resource website to help Christian leaders connect with each other and with the best resources to help them improve ministry to needy children.
Then God began doing something in Ukraine and Russia that was far beyond what any of us imagined. In 2009, about 10 of our Ukrainian partner ministries got together and began praying that they would see a "Ukraine Without Orphans." The vision God gave them was that with 30,000 churches in Ukraine, there was no reason for there to be 30,000 children living in orphanages without families. In 2011, we helped introduce the Ukraine Without Orphans team to the concept of Orphan Sunday – a Sunday designated specifically to raise awareness of the needs of orphans. Now, each year, more than 10,000 churches in Ukraine are engaging in Orphan Sunday (known there as the Day of Prayer For Orphans) on the second Sunday of November.
As awareness grows in the Church in Ukraine, adoption and foster care are rapidly growing there too. In 2005, when the country first started placing some orphans in families rather than in orphanages, they only had 1,000 children in foster care. Now, 12,000 kids are living in families rather than in institutions.
And what is obviously something only God could do, the vision for a Nation Without Orphans has spread to other countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Along with organizations and key leaders from around the world the World Without Orphans team is working to be a catalyst helping national leaders in other countries engage the Church in their country to care for orphans.
As our team helps to cast the World Without Orphans vision and mobilize and equip the global Church for orphan care, we are seeing God do unprecedented things. In country after country, the Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of believers to see kids in healthy families rather than in institutions or on the street. Just this past year, our World Without Orphans team has engaged in helping national leaders in more than 26 countries.
Psalm 68:5&6 says that God is "A father to the fatherless" and that "He sets the lonely in families." And God wants to do that through us. While God doesn't call all of us to adopt or foster children, He desires that we would each be caring for vulnerable children in some way, whether through prayer, mentoring, child sponsorship, supporting at-risk families so that children don't become orphans, or supporting adoptive and foster families. There are many different ways God can use us to care for children that are lonely, and that is what the Church in Ukraine and around the world is discovering.