Friday, April 24, 2009

Being a Faithful Servant

Sunday night we had the opportunity to speak on orphan ministry at another church. We shared our video "Orphans of Ukraine" (first video in the sidebar) and again saw God move on the hearts of His people. While I'm not an eloquent speaker, I am becoming more and more comfortable with the role. Our goal in doing these presentations is two fold: to raise orphan awareness and to provoke local churches to begin their own orphan ministry. Inevitably people heart brokenly respond: I didn't know! That's the first part of the equation - awareness. But it is not enough. All it takes is one person in the congregation (hopefully more) to take the next step.

Our desire isn't that we would merely show up and gather money for orphan ministry. We want to give Christians avenues for which THEY in turn can minister. That might mean creating an adoption fund in their own church to help families shoulder the burden of the financial demands of adoption. It may mean connecting them with a missionary who works with orphans or adopting an orphanage to support. It may mean encouraging them to rally around a family spiritually and financially who is pursing adoption. Perhaps several families in the church would consider hosting orphans or even adopting themselves. The beautiful thing about these speaking opportunities is that orphan ministry looks different in each church! God isn't necessarily calling each congregation to the same action. There are so many possibilities and so many ways to practically live out orphan ministry!

Many people feel that because they can't make a trip to an orphanage overseas or because they're currently unable to adopt they're disqualified from participating in this mercy ministry. But nothing could be further from the truth!!! God has placed us in the position we are currently in and equipped us in a unique way to reach out according to our gifts and talents. Consider Jesus' Parable of the Talents:

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.

Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.

In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.

But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.

The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.'

His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'

Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.'

His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'

And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.

'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'

But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.

'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.

'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'

For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Did you notice that the last servant blamed his master for why he didn't use his talent??? I have heard some say, "We just don't have the money to contribute to (our own or another) adoption." "We can't travel to Eastern Europe for a mission trip. I have work, family, etc." Instead of looking at what we CAN'T do, why don't we focus on what we CAN do. God has given us exactly what we need to minister to those in need. It is He who provides our income and manages our time. Do we use what He has given us or grumble because we don't feel it's enough??? Can we commit to praying for an adopting family? Fervently praying? Would you consider fasting for a day and pleading with God to work on their behalf? What would that cost us? There is so much that can be done.

If you are here reading this post, it isn't by chance. Many of you are here because you helped bring Kristina here or because you yourself have adopted or are in the process. Some of you may have stumbled upon us because of a Google search or through another blog, but it is no accident that you're here. God is calling all of His people to orphan ministry. I want to encourage those of you reading this to seek God in how you can be involved. Speak to the leadership in your church about beginning an orphan ministry. Not sure what to say? We'd be happy to come and stand beside you to share the needs of children around the world. Looking for a missionary to support? We can point you in the right direction! Feel led to come along side a family and pray for/support them through an adoption? May I point you to the Reeds, the Fumias, the Hoffmans, and others?

We have had two other requests to speak at chuches this week alone. And while my nerves always get the best of me, I know that I must come forward and speak. I'd ask you to consider the words of Theodore Roosevelt:

In any moment of decision,

the best thing you can do is the right thing,

the next best thing is the wrong thing,

and the worst thing you can do is nothing.


Debbie said...

Thank you for this reminder, Leslie. We can all do something with the talents God gives us. I appreciate the point that we can be quick to say we don't have the money or the time or something else--yet it all comes from the Lord. How humbling...and inspiring!

Thank you for mentioning us along with the Fumias and Reeds. May I mention you and your family, as well? God used you and your journey to point us to Elaine and subsequently Lisa; I pray He'll make it abundantly clear to whom He's pointing YOU next. And I'm thrilled with how He's using you!

Matthew Nasekos said...

Great post. We look forward to seeing your family again soon and letting Karina spend more time with Kristina.
We need to talk about all this orphan ministry - we are about to launch a website with CMS where the goal is to give Christians practical ways to minister to orphans - would love to hear more of your ideas.

Leslie G said...

great post, Leslie!
I'm changing my name :-)
You can be the original Leslie, and I am going to be Leslie G.

The Kaysers said...

Awesome! I am proud of you both and so heart warmed to see you advocating for other orphans and other families. We are starting an adoption ministry in our area to do what you are doing: advocating for adoption, helping families fund their adoptions, and finding families to sponsor orphans through hosting programs. God bless you both! I pray He uses all of us who are spread out over the US to make an impact in our communities!

Anonymous said...

I love that you are doing this. About a week ago, our church had a little blip in their newsletter about going to the Ukraine on a 2 week mission trip. The cost was $1900. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it. I still am thinking about it. I felt like this was such a great opportunity because they were helping orphans (which is where my heart is currently leaning) and it was in the Ukraine (a place we longed to adopt from, but now God is calling us elsewhere). I am sad we aren't adopting from the Ukraine now, but this would be a way for me to still minister to them in some way. I'm praying as we are trying to raise support for our adoption, so not sure if this would be the right time to do a missions trip, but even so...I'm excited that in the future I may have the opportunity to go and be apart of something bigger than myself. I think its great. We all can help in so many ways. We need to be open to hearing God and what he wants of us.

Ashley said...

I love this post!! That was so kind of you to mention us, The Reeds, and the Hoffmann's. You are such an encouragement to us and I am grateful for the ministry you have started. I also want to start an adoption ministry at church. Maybe it starts with a support group for families adopting or wanting to until it can get bigger. Who knows? But, I hope we can start one somehow. Would you still like for me to ask if you can speak in our SS class? I haven't asked yet and didn't know your schedule? Please let me know and I will find out. I would love for ya'll to come. It sounds like you are really busy now, but that's great!!! Thanks again for everything and I hope to hear from you soon. :)