Monday, July 21, 2008

When An Orphan Discovers Family

As I write this, we are wrapping up five weeks of unending camps and mission outreaches which stretched from an orphanage in Miskolc, Hungary up to a baseball camp in Bojnice, Slovakia then into the simplicity of Hungarian village life and finally into a youth English camp before wrapping up back in the orphanage at Miskolc.

Over the course of these weeks we've struggled to break through the thick walls erected by wounded souls, we've fought stereotypes and an outbreak of scabies along with a threat of lyme's disease, we've learned more about our brothers and sisters in Christ who come from different denominational backgrounds, and we have seen some precious kids come to Christ in very genuine ways.

I used to think that was what it was all about, but now I understand that this is just the beginning. Becoming a part of a family can happen in just a moment, but that moment is but the cusp of relationships that develop and deepen over the course of a lifetime -- or perhaps eternity.

On last Friday, a baptism occured on the final day of English Camp. When Evi, one girl from the Miskolc orphanage learned of it, she ran to her best friend asked her if she wanted to be baptized. Evi had been baptized the year before.

"I do not even know what it is about," Anita explained.

Evi shared with her friend how it was the outward expression of what Christ has done in one's heart.

Anita's eyes lit up as she asked excitedly, "Can I do it in jeans?"

Anita could not be held back that day and as she stood before the crowd of campers and counselors, she told her story:

"My name is Anita. Two years ago both my parents died, one six months after the other. I lived with various relatives after that, but as soon as I got settled in one place, I was sent somewhere else. I had no home. Eventually I was sent to the orphanage in Miskolc. And when I started going to the Wednesday bible study and the different conferences and programs that you made for us, I suddenly felt like I had a family again. God has given me a family in you."

That day Anita proclaimed Christ and was born into a new family -- the family of God. It is a new beginning for her, but just the first day among many where she will grow and change succeed and sometimes fail.

May we always be faithful to love her and those like her through it all. This is our call -- to love and guide them in love through their good and bad days. For not only do we share the gospel of Jesus Christ, we share our very lives as well, because they have become so dear to us. 1Thess2:8.

Please pray for Anita and Evi and all the kids of the Lakasotthon orphanage. God is doing a work among them even now.

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