Today’s ROOM contributor is Ali B., Reach Out Orphanage Ministries’ India Country Coordinator. Ali has tirelessly advocated for the programs and children served by ROOM’s partner agency Bethel Ministries in Orissa, India. In addition to her professional work with ROOM, Ali and her husband Anthony have personally opened their home to children in need of domestic foster care. This blog captures the heart of a mother trying to balance all the commitments, relationships and passions tugging at her. It is an excellent glimpse of how God uses our passions, talents and time for His glory.
About a year ago, my husband and I finished our time at New Tribes Bible Institute and discerned that instead of moving to India right away to serve as missionaries (which our hearts longed for), the Lord was asking us to trust Him and move back to our hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Upon this realization we decided that while we were in the U.S. we would devote our time to pouring into the local church and advocating for Indian children and for those orphaned around the world. Taking a big step beyond advocacy, we also decided to become professional foster parents.
I hold the primary responsibilities of advocating for, fundraising for and communicating with Bethel Ministries in Orissa, India; ROOM’s largest partner orphanage in Southeast Asia. It’s a job I’m proud of, but it’s a big job for one person to hold part-time. I often feel like there is too much work and too little time; too many needs and too few resources.
When we said ‘yes’ to fostering, my husband and I decided I would be a full-time, stay-at-home foster mom, in addition to my job with ROOM. When I made this commitment, I was wondering if I would be able to continue giving our sweet little ones in India the time and attention they deserve. I worried my commitment to serve as a foster mom would pull me away from my commitment to ROOM, and vice-versa.
As I work to balance my personal and professional commitments, I am reminded of my Father, who is the reason that we even have a desire to care for the ones in need. I am learning that my human efforts can only accomplish so much, and He is the only one who is the perfect father, the perfect provider, the perfect comforter and the perfect advocate.
Not only has God allowed the two passions of my heart (domestic foster care and international orphanage care) to fill my days, but He has allowed them to build on each other. My experiences living full-time at Bethel Children’s home in India, and my experiences caring for foster children in my home in Nebraska have both allowed God to open my eyes to the global orphan crisis in different and valuable ways. They make me a more prepared foster mom. They make me a more experienced India Country Coordinator. They make me a better-equipped member of the team Christ has called to help create a world where all His children grow up in loving homes.
Over the last few months, Anthony and I have watched our foster children discover Jesus in new ways as they develop understanding and compassion for children who are orphaned in countries across our world. I have learned that advocating for the children I love in India should start at home; it should start in my home.
At home, our picture frames, conversations and prayers are filled with children from India and other countries who, just like our foster kids, are supremely adored by God. As we seek to share about Jesus in our actions and conversations, our kids are beginning to put the dots together as they realize children all over the world, just like them, have a special purpose.
My original fears that I am inadequate were and are very real. Of course I can’t do it all myself. ROOM can’t do it all ourselves. We need help; and not just from today’s adults. We need help from the next generation. We need to build up today’s children to become tomorrow’s world-changers.
As I watch our foster children develop the desire to pray for kids in India… to meet them one day, to see all of them go to school, to be cared for by a mommy and daddy, and to know that Jesus loves them… I am in awe at the way God works; even in the hearts of hurting children. As I watch them open their hearts up to children they don’t yet know, I am confident that God will work the same way in the hearts of every believer.
I am remaining certain that, even when I feel that I am lacking, God will continue to shine brighter then my failure and that He is the one who is in control and meets every need. As children in the U.S., India, and around the world understand the love of the Father and cry out for His justice together, I believe that we will all stand amazed at the way that He provides and proves Himself as a perfect father.
To learn more about what ROOM is doing in India, and to make a donation to support our ministry, please visit http://makeroom.org/india.php
To learn more about Bethel Ministries in Orissa, India (ROOM’s partner ministry) please visit http://bethelindia.org/blog/
If you are interested in getting your children more involved in the lives of children who are orphaned and abandoned in developing countries, a great place to start is by sharing stories of individual children they can relate to. These stories can be found at: https://becomepartofthestory.wordpress.com/