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Bringing Orphan Sunday to Life
by Rey Diaz
Posted on Tuesday, November 03, 2015
I had the amazing privilege of visiting the Hermitage while in St. Petersburg, after 16 years of reading Henri Nouwen’s “The Return of the Prodigal”, and beholding Rembrandt’s famous painting.  It was breathtaking in every sense of the word.  Like Nouwen, said “it’s beautiful, more beautiful… it makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time… I can’t tell you what I feel as I look at it, but it touches me deeply."

Return of the Prodigal

As many have said before, the title “prodigal son” isn’t entirely accurate.  Prodigal means “gracious, generous, and wastefully extravagant.”  So a more accurate title is “prodigal God” or “The compassionate Father.”  The parable of the prodigal son gives us a window through which we see who God really is.  First and foremost He is the compassionate Father who runs to both his sons.  He sacrifices everything including his wealth and reputation for his children.  And He lavishes them both with undeserving grace and love.  This story tells us what really matters to God - His children.

Rembrandt paints the moment of the embrace.  Like the painting, If we would kneel before our God, and lean our head against his chest, we would also hear his heartbeat.  We would hear what matters to God.  What breaks his heart.  And Orphan Sunday gives the church a chance to do just that.

Orphan Sunday is a movement of churches that started in Zambia re-engaging the church in orphan care.  Its a reminder that our Heavenly Father is the father to the fatherless.  And our Father calls us to embrace, serve, and love orphans.

Orphan Outreach is supporting the efforts of Orphan Sunday in several countries.  In Latvia, Dace Rence, our in-country Director of Programs, serves on the team that is mobilizing the church of Latvia for Orphan Sunday.  It was so beautiful to see the mosaic of churches coming together to form this year's Orphan Sunday.  We met with Baptists and Lutherans and Orthodoxes and Pentecostals, all coming together to hear the father’s heart.

Last year was the first Orphan Sunday celebration across the country. And it’s making a difference.  Something amazing is happening in Latvia. Whereas adoption in general has been decreasing in most places around the world, in Latvia “the overall tendency is to increase, especially that has been the case this year in comparison with same time last year,” according to Dace. She adds, “The number of children adopted locally in 2015 from Jan to July was 76, which is 17 kids more than the same time last year.”  Additionally, many churches are re-engaged with orphan care as well.  Several churches have started ministries in orphanages, crises centers, and among street kids.  Of course Orphan Sunday isn’t taking all the credit.  This is a movement led by the Holy Spirit, awakening the church to orphan care.

Churches around the world are celebrating the Father's heart for orphans on Orphan Sunday this weekend - and you can celebrate too! Use the images below to tell friends and family how they can make a difference in the life of an orphan or vulnerable child!


Orphan Sunday Missions



Orphan Sunday Education



Orphan Sunday Grads



Orphan Sunday Mission Backpack





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