Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Lord placed a need for a church orphan ministry on our hearts (Andy and Tanya Birchfield) after we brought Cristina Hope into our family from Moldova. It became very clear to us that the needs of orphans and vulnerable children were great and Scripture mandates Christians to reach out and care for these children. We formed a prayer group from members of First Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL to seek God's plan for our church. After a few months, a plan began to formulate, and Children's Hope was launched at First Baptist on September 26, 2010.
Our orphan ministry includes three components which are adoption, foster care, and orphan support. In regards to adoption, we plan to have regular support/educational meetings for
those interested in adopting or learning more about the process. As families adopt, we want to have a support group in place that will come alongside them and assist in practical ways such as preparing meals, tutoring, transportation, etc. We will partner with Lifesong for Orphans in order to assist families with the financial cost of adoption.
Secondly, we plan to inform FBC of the needs of foster care children in our area and provide
training for those members who are interested in fostering. These families will also benefit greatly from a support group of church members who can assist with what is often a difficult job. We hope to come alongside our local Dept. of Human Resources office and lend a hand by holding a luggage drive for foster care children.
Finally, the last component is direct orphan support. The Lord has opened up a possibility of working along side 16 orphans in Jacmel, Haiti through the Alabama State Board of Mission.
These 16 children were left homeless after the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.
Andy and I visited these children in August and along with some assistance, I am happy to say that they are now out of a tent and in a rental home. They now have beds to sleep on and other household furnishings such as a table and chairs and even a refrigerator! (See pics below).
We are very excited about how the Lord is going to use this ministry. We are very grateful to our pastor and other church staff members who have been instrumental in the launching of Children's Hope. We look forward to how the Lord will use our church to bless needy children throughout the world. However, I think our church members can look forward to some blessings as well!