November 21 is Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s Sabbath

November 21 is Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s Sabbath

Answering God’s Call to Care for Orphans & Vulnerable Children

November 12, 2020 | Bern, Switzerland. | EUDnews.

Tragically, millions of children all over the globe have become orphaned for many reasons: war, famine, displacement, disease, or poverty. Of the more than 155 million children classified as orphans, 15.1 million have lost both parents.

Throughout Scripture, God has expressed His concern by asking that His people show concern and care for orphans. He pictures Himself as “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation” (Psalms 68:5).  Adoption is one of the metaphors used in the Bible to explain how Christians are brought into the family of God. Jesus came “that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:5), and He was successful: “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children” (Romans 8:15, NLT).

Outside of Scripture, the first people to officially care for orphaned children were the Romans, who opened the first orphanage in history, around 400 AD. Long before then, however, both Jewish and Athenian law required that orphans be supported until age 18. The philosopher Plato once said, of adopted orphans, “A man should love the unfortunate orphan of whom he is guardian as if he were his own child. He should be as careful and as diligent in the management of the orphan’s property as of his own or even more careful still.”

Generations later, Seventh-day Adventists were reminded of their responsibility to care for orphaned children. The way they cared for these children along with others who have “special needs” was presented as a test of their character.  Note what Ellen G. White – American writer and co-founder of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church - said: “I saw that it is in the providence of God that widows and orphans, the blind, the deaf, the lame, and persons afflicted in a variety of ways, have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character. Angels of God are watching to see how we treat these persons who need our sympathy, love, and disinterested benevolence. This is God’s test of our character. It is strange that professed Christian men should disregard the plain, positive teachings of the word of God and feel no compunctions of conscience. God places upon them the responsibility of caring for the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the widow, and the fatherless; but many make no effort to regard it.” —Ellen White in Testimonies for the Church 3:511,.517

Adventist Possibility Ministries supports the many approaches of care provided for orphans, but all need to show concern and care.  The ultimate goal is to provide for a loving, caring home in which these children will grow up to love and serve Christ as their Friend.  The following counsel given by Ellen White is indeed noteworthy: “Let those who have the love of God open their hearts and homes to take in these children. It is not the best plan to care for the orphans in large institutions. If they have no relatives able to provide for them, the members of our churches should either adopt these little ones into their families or find suitable homes for them in other households”. – Ellen White in Counsels for the Church, p. 286.

Elsa Cozzi, Inter-European Region (EUD) Children’s Ministries Director, said, “When we think of children, we think of their friendliness, naivety, carefreeness, and fragility. God created us this way: our life begins with these very feelings, and that is why, alongside each child, there are two parents who accompany him along his evolutionary path. But when these parents are missing, the child takes on an extra feeling, that of sadness with all its meanings. When he realizes that there is only him in his life, and that he has no affectionate support, he either locks himself up in his world or reacts by breaking the chains of loneliness. In all cases, his existence is different.  If he encounters adequate adult support on his way, his existence will have fewer obstacles, otherwise we can imagine the burden of his suffering. I welcome the initiative of the Adventist Church to create a ministry in favor of orphans, and I also appreciate having established a special day in their favor. However, I would like us not to stop there, but to [also] open ourselves to any initiative that could alleviate the suffering of these little unfortunates and find in us, who feel challenged, a valid support.”

Corrado Cozzi, EUD Possibility Ministries Director, affirmed that: “To dedicate a day to orphans is an act of civilization and social awareness of great value, but this does not mean thinking about orphans for just one day. However, talking about them even for just one day in our institutions could generate a special attention that goes beyond a celebration. Projects and suggestions could arise and perhaps encourage some program in their favor. This was the intention of Jesus when he focused on the need to care for orphans. When was the last time you spoke about orphans in your institution? “

Ten Actions You Can Take Now to Help Orphans (by Cintia Austin)

Adventist Possibility Ministries is appreciative of the several Adventist organizations working for orphans and vulnerable children. This Sabbath has been set aside to especially remind us of orphans who live in the shadows and to remind us that we have the possibility to alleviate the suffering.  Will you heed the call? 

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