Orphan Sunday 2012

Yesterday at Newsong for the third year, we celebrated God's heart for the orphan. I was honored to host our services and was basically a blubbering mess all day (I held it together on stage except for one moment when I shared the pictures below). I shared with our community how we take caring for orphans very seriously at Newsong because we see God's calling all over the pages of Scripture and because it's become so personal for us.
150+ million orphans in the world is an overwhelming - and sobering - statistic, but it became personal when I saw these two faces.

When we first laid eyes on our son, he was no longer a statistic. He had flesh and a name.
And he needed a family.
And then this beauty took our breath away.

They were both so young. And beautiful. And perfect. And ours! August 16, 2010 is the day when these orphans became our son and daughter in our heart. They were no longer a statistic to us. Orphan care became incredibly personal.                        

The first Orphan Sunday that Newsong participated in (2010), we were in Ethiopia meeting our children for the first time. The ability to be IN Ethiopia ON Orphan Sunday was a miracle only God could do.

This picture was taken in Ethiopia right after going to court to legally become their parents.

Last year on Orphan Sunday (2011) we were blessed to dedicate Judah and Addise to the Lord along with three other adoptive families and before our church family. Judah and Addise were proudly dressed in traditional Ethiopian clothing. And I was secretly 8 weeks pregnant with Asher. Our family of 5 was exploding in gratitude.

Our children's pastor and another pastor dedicating Judah and Addise.

This year I learned the origin of Orphan Sunday: Orphan Sunday started in Zambia, Africa 10 years ago. Pastor Billy Chondwe’s church had only 70 members, many of them facing deep poverty themselves. Yet their sacrificial actions for orphans and widows set in motion a vision that has spread worldwide.

Pastor Chondwe explains, “I had no clue that by now it would go across the globe. I was just looking at it as a local thing. But when I see and hear what God is doing through Orphan Sunday in other nations, I just think, “It is a miracle. This is the doing of God.”

This year Orphan Sunday was celebrated in 22 counties in thousands of churches by hundreds of thousands of people across denominational lines. A unity focused on children so close to God's heart. He must be so pleased. Check out this video for more of the story. It will capture your heart. (Because it's long, if you want, just watch the first 7 minutes and then minutes 31:00-32:30. You will be so glad you did!)

Zambia's Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

My African brothers and sisters continue to teach me - and compel me! - to live out the Gospel even more. In a country where they are "lacking" so much, they are also giving so much more than we often dare. This passage read at the beginning of the video says it all...

Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us[c]I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

May it be more true of us.


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.