Ideas for Teens

If you’ve never visited Beauty from the Ashes, go take a peek. Or, even better, stay a while once you’re there. I don’t remember how I found Karen’s blog, but it’s a gem. The stories in the blog archives are pure gold. I couldn’t stop reading. What an excitement to have her write a blog post for TIO!

~*~

Karen and little girFor the past 9 years I’ve made Kiev, Ukraine my home. What started out as an 8-month adventure turned into vision and a calling surrounding the orphans of Ukraine.

While in Ukraine I’ve traveled to dozens of orphanages, participated in humanitarian aid distributions, been an advocate for adoption, assisted with the adoption process and have organized summer camps and hosting trips for orphans and at risk kids. Through these experiences God has opened my eyes to deep need throughout Ukraine and burdened my heart for specific children.

Due to my location in Ukraine and my presence in the ‘blogging world’ I often get emails asking for practical ways people can get involved. Sometimes people have a heart for helping and loving orphans, but lack ideas for how to put their desires into action. This is especially true if you are young and perhaps lack the resources to travel and are not at a place in life where you can adopt.

So the question remains: what can we do from home to make a difference?

In order to make this as practical as possible I’ve generated a list of ideas for you to prayerfully consider as you ask the question, what can I do for orphans?

Educate Yourself
Sounds pretty straightforward right? There is an overwhelming amount of information on the Internet today surrounding the number of orphans, the plight of orphans, statistics on orphans, ministries that are helping, and even ministries that are hurting. Honestly, it can be overwhelming! But it is hard to speak with authority and conviction on a topic if we don’t know much about it. So spend time getting to know the reasons behind the number of orphans in various countries, and learn more about ministries that are working around the world. Talk to missionaries and those that work with orphans or who have adopted. Ask lots of questions so you can get a sense of the greatest needs.

Advocate
After you know what you are talking about (see above :)) and you have a better understanding of the needs of children around the world you will be able to share with your friends and help them develop a heart for orphans as well. Find an orphan ministry whose cause you believe in and promote what they are doing. Share their links on Facebook, re-post videos advocating for kids, sometimes it is amazing what we can do with the click of a mouse!

Give Creatively
Think of ways to raise money for a ministry you see making a difference. But don’t just ask for money, think of ways to get other people involved too. Think of giving campaigns you can do as a youth group or in your school. Make things and sell them, bake things and sell them, hold a party or a dinner as a fundraiser, put together Christmas shoeboxes for orphans overseas, adopt a local foster family that needs extra help. Really the ideas are endless! It’s time to get creative!

Pray
Such a simple word, but easier said than done! Prayer is mysterious at times, and yet we know we are instructed to come to the Lord in prayer, and he hears us! I have seen God move mountains countless times for orphans in Ukraine. The first time I went to an orphanage was in 2004, and there I met a little girl named Ira. I committed to praying for her and that she would have a family. 2 years later that prayer was answered and Ira was adopted! It is amazing to see how God hears our hearts when we intercede for his children. There are several websites that feature pictures of children living in orphanages that you can be praying for:

http://doorwaystohope.org/pray
http://reecesrainbow.org/

Remember the needs are closer than you think
You don’t have to travel across the globe to help orphans. Currently the US foster system has about 400,000 children in its registry. This number represents kids in your own community. Find out if there are ways to serve as a lunch buddy or mentor to a foster child in your community.

Do you know any foster or adoptive families in your church or neighborhood? Sometimes people forget that the hardest part of adoption is AFTER the kids come home. Think of ways you can support and serve these families. Offer to make a meal, help with house or yard work or childcare.

As you can see, there are LOTS of ways to get involved in answering the Biblical call to love and care for orphans. Some of them take creativity and others perhaps just leaving your comfort zone! Find a friend and get started!!

~Karen

Do you know any post-adoptive families? Have you educated yourself about any specific countries or orphan care topics?

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1 Comment

  1. Wonderful post, thanks so much!!

    Reply

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