Recently a friend at work shared with me about her daughter’s missionary trip to Belize. She went as part of a team from Oral Roberts University. Most of their time was spent ministering to one family. They helped to work on the family’s home, do some other tasks and share the gospel in a vacation bible school format. Why spend so much time on just one family? Well, this particular family has 12 children. Yes, 12! You would think that after a while that a couple would stop having children, especially if they were a couple of modest means. But in this instance it is not an issue of ”having children” it is an issue of “receiving children.” You see, this couple is from New York, they have been living in Belize for 15 years and though they are in their 60’s they have taken in several kids from other families in the surrounding area. In that culture when a woman with a child has another child with a new father the new father often refuses to provide for any children that are not his. This has not been an uncommon practice in the Caribbean where “child-shifting” has taken place over the years as children are sent to live with relatives when parents migrate or begin a relationship with another spouse.
In the area of Belize where these students were ministering, the unwanted children are often neglected and go without. A simple google search will open your eyes and break your heart as you find that Belize is filled with children who reduced to begging on the streets just to survive. This particular family in Belize has continued to grow because as women in the area around them have a child that their new husband will not feed, they bring that child to this family. The women know the child will not be cast out from this family. They know the child will be received, welcomed, fed and loved.
As I think of the love shown by this couple to the people around them I cannot help but reflect on how they are demonstrating the love of Christ found in John 6:37 where Jesus says “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “ Christ promises that He will gladly receive those who humbly come to Him in need. No matter what the circumstance, no matter what the past history, those who come to Him will never be cast out! He will welcome them, feed them, and love them. It is a blessing to see the love of Christ working in and through this family. It is also a blessing to see the love of Christ working in and through the young people on mission. The Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” I know that the help these students provided was a blessing to this family…and I know that they were blessed in doing so. If you would like to be a blessing, pray for Belize, this family and other families in similar situations. Pray for those who go on mission trips and serve in the name of Christ. Consider going on mission yourself. You don’t have to go far; there are ministry needs in your own backyard. “Let your light so shine that others may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
If you would like to know more about or help support future ORU missions go to www.oruoutreach.com.