Defending the Fatherless

What do Eleanor Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ella Fitzgerald, J.S. Bach and John Keats have in common? They were all orphaned as children.

UNICEF estimates that there are more than 18 million orphaned children in the world today. Some of these end up living on the streets, being exploited for labour, becoming victims of trafficking, or participating in armed groups. Even those who manage to avoid such exploitation are still at increased risk of HIV, teenage pregnancy, depression, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse.

Scripture reveals that the cause of the orphan is close to God’s heart. He ‘sets the lonely in families’ and God’s people are called upon to reflect His character - to ‘defend the cause of the fatherless’ and ‘visit the orphan and widow in their distress

SGA’s partners are involved:

Viktor Shushkevichi lives in Riscani, north Moldova. He serves as a deacon in Gethsemane church. He and his wife became aware of the desperate need of some parentless children and began to foster them. They have now set up a ‘Family Shelter Centre’ to provide a permanent home and family for them. It was difficult to negotiate the burdensome bureaucracy but they now look after 9 children; 4 sets of siblings ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old.

Viktor says, “We are very encouraged that God is working in the hearts of our children. Not having spent a year in our family, yet three of the children have already repented and two of the girls want to be baptized. Praise God, all our children come to the church and joyfully participate in the service praising God through singing and reading of poetry.”

SGA has a long association with Grace Shelter - a home run by Grace Church in Odessa, Ukraine. SGA has provided funds for the running of the shelter. There are three sets of foster parents: Andrey and Inna Dovbnya, Ludmila and Vitaliy Sukhotskiye, and Maria and Sergey Shikin. Between them they look after forty children ranging from 1 to 17 years old.

A recent blessing has been the re-uniting of three young siblings, previously separated in a regional orphanage and hospital. These children, from a wealthy family, lost their father suddenly and their mother turned to alcohol to deal with her grief. She eventually stopped caring for the children, leaving them alone for three days, before they were discovered and taken to the orphanage and hospital. The ordeal left the 20-month-old little girl unable to smile. Now, after just a few months at the Shelter, little Irochka is smiling again and giving hugs to everyone she meets!

Irochka’s joy at having a new caring family should be understood by each believer. “We were helpless and lost, living without hope as orphans. Yet God reached out to us in our desperate situation, and through the death of his son Jesus, adopted us into His family. We give thanks to the Lord for his great love for us, and for those partners of SGA who are showing that love to needy orphans.”