We’ve all been there.

You come home from a stressful day at work, grab your favorite snack and plop down on the coach.  You turn on the TV hoping to catch the last few minutes of your favorite show when it happens.

Those dreaded humanitarian commercials.

Whether it’s UNICEF, Children’s International, or that ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan holding a sad dog while “Angel” plays on loop in the background, you always find your hand reaching for the remote.

Why?  Maybe you don’t like light, 90’s pop. Or maybe it’s because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

TV is a use of entertainment in western culture and when it interrupts our escape with news of poverty, abuse or neglect, it leaves a sense of discomfort.

But the truth is, we should be uncomfortable.  There are over 400,00 children in the foster care system in the United States.

Almost 3,000 children entered the foster care system in South Carolina in 2013.  29% of these children already had out-of-home placements before.

There is an estimated 143 million to 210 million orphans worldwide. Around 38,000 of these orphans age out of the system daily, with usually only 20 dollars to their name.

These numbers are staggering and overwhelming. And the truth is, we can’t do it all.

But the good news is, our church has not only been dreaming, but actively pursuing what it looks like to serve the least of these.

I had the immense blessing of attending the Know More Orphans conference in Birmingham this past weekend with CE’s very own, Taylor Beard.  We came in knowing the great need for foster care, adoption, and orphan care and left not only inspired, but also with resources on how to better equip our church. Every message, break out, and conversation offered something resourceful for our OVC ministry and children’s ministry at Grace.

One idea that stuck with me from the conference was how our life can turn into a castle mentality.

Everything that is given to us turns into ‘ours’. Whether it’s ‘our’ family, ‘our’ home, ‘our’ possessions, we as humans fight to claim what belongs to us. The problem with viewing our home as a sanctuary though, is that we are often scared to bring people in for fear that they will mess it up.

When I ask people if they have ever considered foster care, the usual response is, “Yeah, I would love to foster, but I get attached easily. I don’t want to get hurt.”

Here’s the honest truth – every human relationship brings risk.

This includes marriage, friendship, work, EVERYTHING.

While the thought of investing in someone the world deems unlovable seems scary, God grants us the great privilege in playing a small part in His story.

In Psalms 146:9 it says,  “The Lord watches over the sojourners; He holds up the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.”

God values those that the world sees as invaluable. He is the one who upholds them; He is the one who seeks them and redeems them.

Before the conference ended, David Platt called us to action by teaching from the book of Ruth.  The message painted a beautiful picture of Christ’s redeeming mercy and how He seeks us out to be a part of His own family.

Christ sees and seeks out the orphan, just like He did with Ruth, and just like He did with us.

Platt said, “Because we have been redeemed, we have been captivated by the mystery of mercy, but we are also compelled to the ministry of mercy.”

The foundation of the Gospel is based on the generosity of Jesus Christ, and as followers, we have the great opportunity to extend a hand of mercy to those around us.

If you’re not already involved with Grace’s OVC ministry, there are various ways to serve. This could be by helping at the adoption/foster care closet, adopting a foster family, becoming a foster family, or sponsoring a child through our OVC Kenya project. Visit the CE website for more details.

-Jessica Day, Pelham Campus Saturday Night Coordinator