Transplanting the Father's LoveRich Stigall
God is moving individuals and congregations to care for children and youth in the US foster care system. It’s as if He is transplanting His own heart for the fatherless into His people as they seek His face. At GO Project we have the privilege of witnessing this movement up close and personal in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, and reporting back to you about what we see Him doing.
Below is the story of how one church was moved to become family for the vulnerable in their community. Chuck Farina is the pastor of New Hope Church in Abilene, TX. Here is their story:
My story with Orphan ministry started while attending a Church Life Cohort. During our prayer time that day we had been asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the strongholds of our region and seeking direction as to how to overcome those strongholds. As I was praying that morning, I felt very strongly that the Holy Spirit was saying the stronghold that needed to be broken in Abilene was a spirit of religion. Doc Lee had been teaching that often the way to break a stronghold over an area was to move out in ministries of the opposite spirit. Immediately the Lord dropped James 1:27 into my heart. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” I began to ponder what that might look like.
As we reached a break, Rick Dubose, our district superintendent was in the hallway. He pulled me aside and began to share his vision for a district Orphan Care ministry and asked if I would consider being a hub church in our region.I knew God was confirming what He had already spoken. I had been tagged.
Shortly after that, some of our men attended the District Men’s Retreat where they heard the vision. Upon returning, one of them came to me and told me that he would like to be involved in starting a Foster/Adopt ministry in our church. He and his wife became the directors of Pure Hope Family Ministries here at New Hope Church. We started about a year ago, invited Bishop Blake and Eric Porter to come out and speak to our congregation and began to build a leadership team. From there we hosted an official launch last November on Orphan Sunday.
God has granted us great favor here in Abilene with CPS, New Horizons, and other churches and organizations already involved in Foster/Adopt ministries. We have been busy recruiting, training, and launching foster families, wrap-around care, and future adoptive families. We currently have three foster placements with some others about to be ready. It has taken some time to build a strong foundation, but we see God’s hand and timing all along the way.
I believe it is time for the church to get outside the four walls of our buildings and begin to minister to our communities. I can clearly see that God is using Orphan Care to teach us how to love like He loves. I believe the next big move of God will come as a baptism of love. I can’t think of a better way to learn to love than to care for the orphans and the widows. Is it easy, you ask? I would say a resounding NO! Is it right? Absolutely.
As we have turned our attention to what is important to Father God, He has blessed us with amazing harvest so many ways. If we will love the ones no one seems to want, He will send the ones every one is clambering after.
God is using the most vulnerable children in the world to teach His people about His love. As Pastor Farina said: “… we see God’s hand and timing all along the way.” At GO Project we say, “Amen!”