“The spiritual service which is pure and stainless in the sight of our God and Father is to visit fatherless children and widowed women in their time of trouble, and to keep one’s own self unspotted from the world.”
~ James 1:27
What is a unique aspect of World Orphans that sets you apart from other worthy orphan care organizations?
Mike Krick: When a typical American hears the word “orphan,” most automatically assume we run “orphanages.” I personally used to combine the two words. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t run orphanages, and quite frankly we don’t think that an “orphanage” is what God intended for His children. The biblical model of orphan care, we believe, is family. God designed children to thrive in families, which we believe is the best way to holistically care for them.
World Orphans cares primarily for orphans by partnering with international churches around the globe. These churches vary in size, have national pastors and leaders who have great knowledge of their culture, know the language, and have healthy relationships established in their communities.
Everything we do is through the church. By partnering with these international churches, children are cared for, communities are positively impacted, and the church grows in making disciples of Jesus.
There are 153,000,000 orphans in the world. Why do you think the “church” is the best solution to this mega problem?
Mike Krick: The church is the ordained instrument of God within the setting of the countries in which we serve. Our church partners are in the best position to understand the needs in their culture. They know the families, the community, the difficult situations that people face, whether it be from the earthquake in Haiti, AIDS in Ethiopia, or the temptation to sell their own children in Cambodia.
The international church leaders are the contextual experts. Who are we to think we have the answers to the problems they face when our knowledge is limited and our experience is little? We need to put aside our preconceived ideas of how to help, which in turn can and often do create more problems and undermines the work that the church is already doing. Instead we need to trust the God-ordained leaders in these communities, be willing to learn from them, and serve the orphan and vulnerable children under their leadership.
Clearly, we must do our due diligence by selecting churches that already have a reputation for making a difference in their community. World Orphans selects partners by partnering with some very reputable organizations that help us in our selection process of churches. These churches are already applying the truths of Micah 6:8. They are “acting justly,” “loving mercy,” and “walking humbly with our God.”
How does the international church care for kids in partnership with World Orphans?
Mike Krick: Our partner churches are characterized by action as they care for kids in their community. One of the ways they do this work is through our Orphan and Vulnerable Child (OVC) program. The objective of this program is to provide much needed education, food, medical care and grief counseling to orphans and vulnerable children who are currently being cared for by single mothers, extended relatives, neighbors, friends or church members.
In Haiti alone we partner with 14 churches. Each of the pastors in these churches helped us establish these four major needs of children and families. They want to keep these children out of institutional orphanages and care for them holistically in a loving home. This is what we call “home based care”, and falls on our Continuum of Care model.
Continuum of Care also includes “orphan prevention and/or delay”, which helps provide the international churches with the ability to deliver medicine to families in an effort to keep the mother/father alive as long as possible to care for their own children. The model also includes “family style homes” built on the church property. These homes are for 6-12 children, with full-time, live-in house parents. The children are given care to provide for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
We also work with the churches to help provide child “self-sustainability”, so the child will not need to rely on the church long-term. Through education, trade schools, micro-finance, and more, the children are trained as business leaders in their communities, thus breaking a cycle of poverty.
Finally, because all of this is done through the local church, we see the staggering number of 153 million orphans as 153 million opportunities to build disciples for Jesus Christ.
Please allow me to share one story. Samuel is a six-year-old boy who is currently in one of our projects in Haiti. His mother has special needs and was taken advantage of by a man in the community, thus resulting in Samuel’s birth. He is a very bright boy but had a bleak future because of his home environment. The local church offered a Saturday program and Samuel was invited to attend. It was at this Saturday club that Samuel heard the gospel for the first time.
He learned to pray and he asked Jesus to come into his life. He introduced his mom to Christ and together they asked God for help with their resources. Shortly after they prayed together for the first time, Samuel’s mother was made aware of the OVC program and now Samuel is a part of the program, receiving medical care, food, and an education. Most importantly he and his mother are being provided spiritual nourishment through their local church! This is a church in action!
What do you see as the American church’s role in partnering with World Orphans?
Mike Krick: I love the passage of Jeremiah 5:26-31. Part of this passage states, “…they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor.”
When I read through this passage, I can’t help but think of the American church. We have the opportunity to serve the “least of these” as Jesus did, and instead we drop millions of dollars on new facilities and thousands of dollars on new sound systems for the “youth room”.
Many churches struggle with the temptation that many Americans face: keeping up with the Joneses. Instead of investing in the Kingdom of God, we invest in the American dream. I am guilty as well, and we all need to move past these temptations and discern what God might be calling us to do to help the widow and the orphan (James 1:27).
The American churches with whom we partner serve their indigenous church partners by providing resources, training, and prayer. They commit in a covenant agreement to pray for the partnership, the children, and the surrounding community. In addition, the American church commits to mobilizing its members through short-term mission teams, to build into the partnership, to identify self-sustainability, growth opportunities, and to help strengthen their indigenous church partner as it continues to reach out to its community.
Many people want to get involved in orphan care…as do small groups, adoption groups, businesses and churches…but they don’t know how. How can they be a part of what World Orphans is doing?
Mike Krick: We have many opportunities for people to get involved. I would encourage anyone interested in learning more to visit our website: www.worldorphans.org
There are five key ways to get involved:
1) For individuals who desire something easy to do, they can sign up to become a Rescue Partner. Rescue Partners contribute $33/month to help us partner with churches and care for more orphaned and vulnerable children. We will provide rescue stories for these individuals so they can see the impact of their gift.
2) Many people may want to do more, and we are currently working on revamping our Rescue Teams. This program consists of a group who desire to host an event to build awareness and raise funds to make an impact in the countries we serve. These events could be auctions, garage sales, walk-a-thon’s, or a more formal banquet. We will work with you to help create something that will be successful within your sphere of influence. We view these groups as “advocate” groups who will become World Orphans spokespeople in their church and community.
3) We are also looking for business owners to become Rescue Corporations and make World Orphans their ministry partner. These businesses will not only donate a portion of their revenue to World Orphans to help us reach more kids, but we will provide the necessary tools to help them invite their customers to join their generosity in support of World Orphans.
4) Participate in a Journey 117 trip and see firsthand the power of the local church caring for orphans. You are invited to experience both the depth of the need and the work being done by World Orphans to serve the fatherless around the world.
5) Finally, we are looking for churches who feel called to become either a (1) Rescue Church or (2) Church-to-Church Partner. Rescue Churches come alongside the ministry of World Orphans by helping us support unfunded projects at a minimal commitment level. Church-to-Church Partners take the commitment a step further by partnering with one church in one country. The opportunity includes a higher level of financial commitment and an expectation of an annual relationship-building visit with the church partner.