Friday, January 22, 2010

WEEK 1 - Getting God's Heart for Children

The Week's Teachings

It was a pleasure to meet and be taught this week by Janna Moats, a California native who is currently the head of YWAM's Children At Risk department. She lives and serves on the YWAM base in Burtigny, Switzerland and made it all the way to San Jose, Costa Rica to share her wisdom and passion with our class. The teachings this week were mostly an introduction to working with children at risk, interpreting and understanding the biblical framework for children, and trying to grasp and share God's heart for children around the world. The week was overwhelming - how does one wrap their head around the immense suffering, seemingly hopeless situations and variety of issues that children are battling daily? How do we ask God to break our heart for what breaks His, but still endure every day? I know that God's heart breaks daily for the children of the world - the abused, the exploited, the ignored, the starving, the diseased... and asking to share that burden with Him is exhausting and daunting. But God calls us to care for the widow and the orphan- and not just give handouts or a portion of our time, but to genuinely care in our hearts about the fate of the abandoned.
This week was significant because it marked the beginning of my genuine search for God's heart for children. I have looked at children in need from a variety of perspectives before - compassion, pity, an opportunity to serve God, and many more. However, I realized that until I see these kids the way God does, that I will not be able to fully love and help them. Beyond that revelation, I was able to focus in on my specific vision and calling for children. I was able to identify which areas of a community I feel called to work in, how I want to interact with children, and practical methods of doing so.
As much learning as I did, I finished the week with plenty of questions in my heart. Is my desire to serve one of pride? Am I completely submitted to God's will when I envision serving Him long-term? And how in the world will I ever be able to bring healing to such wounded situations? Through prayer and scripture, I am beginning to explore these topics with God and others.
Janna's teaching, including videos, real-life stories, information about organizations, as well as biblical truths, opened my eyes to the tremendous suffering present in the world, and how much God is wanting us to do something about it. Her vivid examples left me aching inside, both for the children I saw but also to do something. The lasting implications of this week are burdens that will not be lifted without action. I saw a global scale of suffering. The numbers and statistics are staggering, but not overwhelming. God is in control and has promised to do His part. We just need to do ours.

Local Outreach

Local outreach consisted of a meeting with Casa Viva (, an organization in San Jose working to place orphans with lasting, loving foster families. They serve children from 0-14 years, and we will be partnering with them to spend some time with the children who have been separated from each other. Learning and becoming familiar with the organization was a good orientation to their ministry. Knowing about the children's histories and needs was also good preparation for when we actually do meet and interact with the kids. The seed of excitement was definitely planted this week as we learned about the children we'll be meeting shortly.
Just during this short orientation, it became very evident to me that our world has turned its back on the kids who need it most. Unfortunately, most families or couples are looking to adopt babies or very young children. I am afraid that this trend reflects a selfish agenda, and not one concerned with the well-being of the child. It may be easier on the family, but the reality is that that mindset has left a large percentage of older children abandoned and unwanted. We need to change our way of thinking and realize that children of any and every age need to be loved, cared for, adopted and cherished. It is not just impressionable babies that are precious and valuable. My heart really began to ache for the older children who cannot find homes, while babies and young kids do get placed in homes.
This week, though short, was an incredible time of transformation, change in my heart and a new vision and perspective of children of the world - through God's eyes. I cannot wait to see what next week holds!


Haiti Earthquake Update & Relief Actions

Over a thousand workers and dozens of nations are coming together to bring relief to survivors of Haiti's most recent and devastating earthquake. With three million people, nearly half being children, in desperate need of food, water, medicine, and shelter, the task is nearly impossible. UNICEF is working diligently do efficiently deliver supplies to people in need, and bring aid to Haiti before they can begin to rebuild the country.

-Please be praying that:
-UNICEF and other organizations are able to efficiently and methodically deliver food and water to all of those in need.
-The people of Haiti would find hope in God and in community, instead of turning to violence or hopelessness.
-The workers and missionaries being sent to Haiti get their strength from the Lord, and don't give up amidst such a difficult situation.
-Children are cared for, noticed, respected and reunited with their families, or placed in loving situations while they begin to heal from this disaster.

Human Trafficking Information & Articles

Learn more about the rising criminal industry of human trafficking, which is the forced trade, exploitation and labour of people around the globe.

Please be praying:
-For restoration and healing within the girls' and children's lives.
-For God's divine intervention and justice to be apparent - freeing and rescuing people who are victims of trafficking.
-For the traffickers and exploiters themselves, that they would see the error of their ways, repent and find God.
-For awareness - that organizations, ministries and individuals can make people aware of what a dangerous, growing evil trafficking is.