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Bringing Hope and Love to the Children We Serve
by Mike Douris
Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2019
I was recently discussing Christmas with my grandson Asher and could see the excitement of him thinking through what he would like under his tree this year.  Of course, it is complicated for grandparents wanting to give a great gift but not upstaging the parents, not wanting to buy a gift that will nauseate the household with loud light saber noises, and not choosing something that will take up too much storage space—decisions, decisions.

In the end it is about family, love and giving joy while celebrating the birthday of our Savior who gives all blessings.

While contemplating this most important gift decision I began to reflect on all the children we serve around the world who don’t have a family, or who live in extreme poverty and hope to have a simple meal on Christmas Day, much less a gift. I think about the children in our programs who would love to have parents and grandparents who fret about what gift to give them.

This is our mission and calling—to bring hope and love to the children we serve, so that they will know they are valuable in God’s eyes and worthy of love.

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We have seen this year so many blessings in the lives of the children we have the privilege to serve.  One such blessing is of Vanya who not only graduated from University this year but got his first professional job.  I met Vanya when he was only a toddler at a baby home in St. Petersburg, Russia.  He was hydrocephalic and lying in a crib in a room designated for children with little hope of survival.  I asked permission to pick him up.  The thing I remember most distinctly was the alertness and the intelligence in his eyes.  I expected significant intellectual challenges because of his diagnosis but it was clear in how he was interacting with me that was not the case.  Our over two decade journey with Vanya is captured in a wonderful video:  https://vimeo.com/161056640.

To think Vanya is now in our Aging Out Program in Russia, has finished his university degree and now has a great job is testimony of God’s provision for the orphan.  It was not an accident we went to that particular baby home, or that I asked to pick up this child among all the children in the room, or that, every time we thought we had lost him in the system, he reappeared.  It was not by mere chance that Amy Norton, our VP of Strategic Partnerships, left a photo with Vanya when he was a little boy that motivated him to search for her as a teen.

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It says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  In other words it is all about God from beginning to end. We get the immense blessing to be a part of His amazing work.

I could go on and on about all the miracles we see day after day of children who come to Christ, grow in Christ, receive education, healing in their families and their bodies through quality medical care and social work intervention, eat every day and have clean water to drink, receive healing from trauma and for the first time find hope and the security that someone cares, someone has their back.

We have the gift of being able to provide to children around the world what my grandchild Asher has without question - the gift of knowing he is loved and is worthy of love.  This Christmas season, as we have celebrated the birth of Christ who makes all of this possible, we now marvel in His joy that we get the blessing of being part of His love for the orphaned and vulnerable.

There's still time for you to make a difference in a child's life by donating to Orphan Outreach. Your gift provides the essentials of care a child needs to thrive. And if you give before December 31st, your donation is doubled. That's twice the impact. Together, we can restore hope. Give now. 


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