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Everyone should have a friend like Neil. I first met Neil almost three years ago when Hope Unlimited received a significant unsolicited gift with a note that he and his wife Kay would be visiting Orlando (they’re from the UK). The note was nice, but, honestly, the check had gotten my attention, so we made plans to meet for lunch that August.

Over lunch, Neil and Kay began to tell me their story—especially their journey to Hope. During a time of prayer at their church, Neil and Kay (with encouragement from some of the church’s elders) felt a call to minister to orphans in South America. A web search led them to Hope Unlimited for Children, and a check and lunch in Orlando was followed just a month later with a visit to our campuses in Brazil.

Through the years, Neil has become not only a Hope supporter but also a trusted friend. Not raised in my Southern Evangelical tradition, he doesn’t use the same “God-words” that punctuate my church talk. (A great line from Neil last week, “God is always in a good mood for us.”) Neil admonishes as he encourages, and his theme is consistent. He constantly and consistently reminds me why we do this orphan work: because it is of God. He knows me well; my answer to spiritual battles is usually to work harder, but Neil understands that God cares less about our efforts than He does about intimacy and relationship. Hear the words of an email I received from Neil a few months ago:

If you all want to be the Big Boss – you get to pay all the bills! Either, Hope Unlimited is God led – or man. We consult our Lord in prayer, in fasting (at times) and by seeking His Council: for He is the only “true and wise King.” What God orders He pays for! That’s not to say He won’t test and stretch our faith in the process – but that it will ultimately prosper. If we cut Him out: how can He bless, protect, and direct if we are always at the helm?

The point is this: Taking care of orphans is not our task; it’s God’s. We are called to be His faithful servants as, together, we care for the least of these.

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