Orphans

Santa: From dirty streets to a clean sleigh

Share This:

Stories. The best ones catch us by surprise, bring a smile, and perhaps refocus our priorities. This one—this week—from (missionary/Hope Unlimited for Children CEO) Philip Smith in Brazil: Christmas 2014 in Brazil. Think hot. Sometimes Santa is not who we expect him to be. Sweltering in the Hope Santa suit this year was a former street kid. Luciano graduated from Hope in 1996, got a good job, married, and became a worship leader at his church. A few months ago, he reached out to me saying he felt called to return to Hope as a houseparent. Then in July, he …

Read Post

Life Lesson from Orphans #4: Bless as you have been blessed

Share This:

It’s a really wonderful part of the worship tradition at the City of Youth. At some point in each chapel service, our kids have the chance to give back.  Not financially, of course, but of what they have. They do this through their prayer requests. During what we might call an offertory, the kids walk forward and place written prayers and prayer requests in a large bowl at the front of the auditorium. Many of the prayers are simple, a line or two composed at the last minute, but nonetheless heartfelt. Lord, thank you for giving me this place to live. …

Read Post

Life Lesson from Orphans #3: Dependence gives birth to faith

Share This:

Easy lesson here, but it is one we tend to forget. God can handle this, whatever “this” is. Every time I travel to Brazil, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the experiential faith of our kids and graduates. Experiential because it is faith based on a reality that has already been made manifest. They get this faith thing because they have seen the hand of God in their own lives. I have told you before about the impact our graduate church is having on the neighboring community. Our graduates see the drug addict sleeping in the weeds who believes he has …

Read Post

Life Lesson from Orphans #2: Gratitude, Entitlement—and Joy

Share This:

Thanksliving I have to confess to never having heard the word before yesterday’s children’s sermon. And that first hearing was accompanied by a brief but vigorously engaged dispute between two six-year-olds about whether the holiday actually was Thanksgiving or thanksliving. Plenty of laughs in church yesterday. Thanksliving.  I kind of like that. It is a lifestyle I have seen over and over again with our kids in Brazil. They get it. Theirs is a deep, profound gratitude. A gratitude that humbles and graces when encountered. A gratitude that absolutely bankrupts any attitude of entitlement. A thankfulness for life itself. Those …

Read Post

Life Lesson from Orphans #1: Expectations and Outcomes

Share This:

It was an extraordinary conversation. The local Children’s Council was visiting our Hope Mountain campus. The problem, it seemed, was that we are creating “unrealistic expectations” in the lives of former street kids. They are well-clothed attend private schools have high-level vocational training programs live as families They come to expect that their lives will be different than those of their parents and the kids who ran the streets with them. They somehow believe that their education, the social skills they learn, their vocational skills—and their dreams—will lead to better lives. But, according to the Children’s Council, hoping for a …

Read Post

Privilege, Peripheral People, and Rising Lights

Share This:

As I write this, I am sitting in my comfortable East Tennessee home. My reality is safe, secure, well-fed. But when I travel to Brazil, I encounter a far different kind of reality. Poverty beyond my comprehension. Kids who know a life I can never understand. Twelve-year-old boys with death warrants against them from drug lords. Girls taught since early, early childhood that their only value in life is in the depraved pleasure they can bring others. A very different reality… Yet somehow I am supposed to believe that God loves them as much as he loves me. Rich and …

Read Post

Orphan Sunday 2014

Share This:

Thank you for praying for the children at Hope Unlimited! Today, on Orphan Sunday, we celebrate orphan care that reveals God’s heart. We remember how God first loved us, and so we seek to mirror His love in tangible ways. Defend the cause of the fatherless. (Isaiah 1:17) You, and thousands of others around the world, have raised your voices to speak for one common purpose—to see children’s lives transformed by the Living God. You have made a lasting difference in their lives. And it doesn’t have to end today! Stay connected with monthly email newsletters. Join the Thrive Team …

Read Post

Beyond Our Jerusalem

Share This:

Day 30:  30 Days of Prayer for Hope But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8-9) Our goal is not to “plant the Hope flag” around the world—but it is to see change in the lives of mortal-risk children everywhere. We have discovered that we can impact thousands and thousands of lives by helping other organizations doing similar work understand how we do what we do. We call it Hope Institute; our CEO, …

Read Post

Transforming Future Generations

Share This:

Day 27:  30 Days of Prayer for Hope But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15) Our mission: Transforming the lives of children at mortal risk, providing them and their future generations with a productive future and eternal hope. It’s thrilling to sit in our graduate church and look around the room at generations …

Read Post

A Father’s Love

Share This:

Day 26:  30 Days of Prayer for Hope Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. (Job 29:11-13) Is “father” really a dangerous word? Unfortunately, for many children who come to Hope Unlimited—especially our girls—danger is exactly what the word connotes. Their fathers (or often stepfathers) are the ones who beat, sexually abused, or abandoned the child he should have been protecting. The experienced evil instead of a father’s love. Only when they encounter the Father …

Read Post