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Something miraculous is occurring throughout Rwanda. Orphanages once full of children are being shut down as children are being adopted into families of their own. These children who have experienced great trauma and loss require a greater level of connection and care from their parents and families. To meet this need, local churches throughout Rwanda are now sharing the life-changing tools and training of Trust-Based Relational Interventions (TBRI).

Researched and developed at Texas Christian University, the skills taught through TBRI have enabled adoptive families to connect with their children in healing ways, fostered healthy reunification of families, and encouraged families at risk of separation. Parents are being equipped and supported by their churches to build healthy connections with their children. Take a look at this video highlighting the power of transformation TBRI has had in local churches throughout Rwanda!

Are you interested in helping equip more churches in Rwanda with the life-changing tools of TBRI? You can serve on an Orphan Care PEACE trip and support the local church in emptying orphanages and adopting children. Email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555. 

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The Karongi District of Western Rwanda is where the Orphan Care Initiative began the charge with local churches to get children out of orphanages and into loving, lasting families 3 years ago. In a country that did not have a word for “adoption” when deinstitutionalization began, so many families have stepped up to open their hearts and homes to children that there was no longer any need for the orphanages in their region. All three of the region’s orphanages, which were once home to hundreds of children, are now emptied – the abandoned dormitories now testaments to God’s amazing work in Rwanda through his church and the generosity of sponsorship donors like you!

The success is so profound that the Rwandan government has now asked the Orphan Care Initiative to play a larger leading role in 3 other regions of the country. This year, PEACE teams were mobilized to vision cast God’s heart for the orphan to local churches in these new areas, providing them with the training they need to reunite families and raise up families for adoption. The churches of Karongi are now a shining example to the rest of the nation, teaching their brothers and sisters what it looks like to offer radical love through adoption.

Orphan Care PEACE Teams Deliver the Very Best in Evidence-Based Adoptive Parent Training

Life in an orphanage leaves a legacy of trauma in the life of a child – emotional pain and learned behaviors that can only be healed in the arms of a permanent family. The adoptive families in Rwandan local churches are trained in the best practices of parenting children coming out of trauma – a set of unique transformative tools called Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI®), developed and tested at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development.

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Through a train the trainer model, local churches are equipped to not only empower families, but also empower skilled lay social workers to come alongside families as they bring home a child from the orphanage. This year, 79 members on 9 PEACE trips delivered this training in Rwanda.

The Orphan Care Initiative’s work in this field was recently recognized as Initiative founder Elizabeth Styffe was awarded the TCU Green Honors Chair for 2017.

Check out this video to watch how churches are putting TBRI into practice in Rwanda:

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Thank you to those of you who gave so generously to Rwanda Sponsorship in 2016. To set up monthly giving for the new year, visit saddleback.com/sponsorship. Let’s help another region get to zero in 2017!


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At the heart of the Orphan Care Initiative at Saddleback is the belief that church and family are God’s remedy for the orphan crisis. Psalm 68:5 says, “God places the lonely in families…” When we were spiritually orphans, God adopted us into His family. In fact, Scripture teaches that the reason God made the world was so He could adopt (see Eph. 1:4-6). It gives us an inheritance and the right to call Him Abba, or “Father” (see Gal. 4, Rom. 8). As a result, as Christians, we are given the joy of reconciling people to God through adoption (spiritual adoption), and helping children stay in their families, be reunited with their families or find a new family through adoption (physical adoption). In this blog (originally posted to Daily Hope), Pastor Rick Warren shares how we are adopted into God’s family, the Church.

 

“There are only two ways to get into a family: You can either be born into it, or you can be adopted into it. God does both for you! It’s called being born again, and it’s called being adopted into the family of God. God does both.

In Roman law, which people followed in the New Testament, you could disown a child you birthed. But if you adopted a child, you were forbidden to ever disown them. God says you are not only born again into his family, but he has adopted you, and there is no way he could ever disown you. That’s good news!

You may ask, “No matter what I do? Really?” That’s right — no matter what you do!

Once you’re born, you cannot be unborn. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn again. You can grieve the Father, just like we often do to our earthly parents. The fellowship may be broken, but no matter what your parents say, everybody knows you are still their child. In the same way, once you become a child in the family of God, you’re in!

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:15, “I want you to know how people who are members of God’s family must live. God’s family is the church” (GW). We are the family of God. Church is not something you go to. Church is something you belong to. You’re welded into the building of the temple of God. You’re grafted into the vine and the tree of life. You’re born again and adopted into the family of God. You’re joined into the body of Christ. These are all connection models.

Most people think that Christianity is a belief system. There are beliefs that are involved, but it’s more than that. It’s a belong system. It means you belong to the family of God. It means you are a part of the body of Christ. The Bible says it’s like being born into a family.

Romans 15:6-7 says, “You will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God” (NCV).

To learn more on God’s heart for the orphan, check out this video of Rick and Kay Warren. For more information on how you can be involved in helping children remain, regain, or reunite with family, email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555.

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If you’ve ever thought about adopting or fostering, you are not alone. Did you know that one out of four couples have considered adoption or foster care. No matter why you have considered it, there is a place where you can get accurate information, simple overviews, and your questions answered. During the month of November, Saddleback Church will be hosting an informational seminar called, Exploring Adoption and Foster Care for My Family, at six locations in Southern California....
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Let's do for the orphan physically what God has done for us spiritually. Originally posted to pastors.comPastor Rick Warren outlines the Biblical perspective on why and how we are to define our faith by our care for the orphan.

You were an orphan once. You may have grown up with a father and a mother. Physically, you may not be an orphan.

But you were a spiritual orphan. You were a spiritual orphan until you were adopted by God. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:5, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (NLT)

God loves you so much that He adopted you into His family. And He doesn’t do so begrudgingly. He takes great pleasure in doing it.

The Bible also says, “To show that you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, Father, my Father. So then, you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children.” (Galatians 4:6-7. GNT)

God gives you all He has because you are now His child. We should show the same generosity toward physical orphans – those without parents – on our planet.

All throughout Scripture, God tells us that He’ll be a father to the fatherless. In the book of Proverbs, God tells us that we’re to speak up for those who have no voice.

God cares about orphans in a very special way. And so should we.

Many people in your community wonder what true religion really is. The Bible leaves no doubt. James 1:27 says, “Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.” (GWT)

Once we become believers in Jesus, we walk in our faith by caring for widows and orphans and keeping ourselves unstained by the world around us. James summarizes the Christian life as being about private purity and public charity. Jesus gives basically the same summary in the Great Commandment, Matthew 22:37-40.

Once we realize how much God loves us and what He went through to adopt us into His family, we really have only two responses.

·       First, it’ll clarify with you how much your life matters.

·       Second, it should make us sensitive to the plight of orphans around the world.


How does the Bible say we should take care of orphans?

1.     We are to defend their rights. (Psalm 82:3)

2.     We are to speak up for them as advocates. (Proverbs 31:8)

3.     We’re to feed them. (Matthew 25)

4.     We’re to clothe them. (Matthew 25)

5.     We’re to protect them from those who mistreat them. (Isaiah 1:17)

6.     We’re to ensure justice for them. (Deuteronomy 24:17)

7.     We’re to share our resources with them. (Luke 3:11, Romans 12:13)

8.     We’re to find families for them. (Psalm 68:5-6)


You and I have preached many sermons on the private purity spoken of in James 1:27. How many sermons have we preached on the public charity of caring for widows and orphans?

At Saddleback orphan care is one of our signature issues. We have a goal of 1,000 families from our church adopting orphans – 500 from overseas and 500 from the United States. We’re already halfway to this goal! Some of those Saddleback families have even adopted two or three kids.

We have more than 163 million orphans in the world. We have 113,000 orphans in America. If just one family from every four churches in America adopted a child, we’d have no more orphans in United States.

You don’t have to be a big church to make a big difference with orphans. Your church can do something for orphans and widows right now.

What will it be? How will you help?

If your church will make a commitment to help orphans, let us know about it. E-mail us at orphans@saddleback.com


If you are interested in becoming the family an orphan needs, we hope you will join us this Wednesday, October 5 at 6:30pm in Ministry Office 2 for our informational seminar, Exploring Adoption or Foster Care for my Family. Register here or email orphans@saddleback.com to receive more information. 

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