NEW ORLEANS – During its Wednesday morning, June 14, breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Send Relief—the collaborative compassion arm of the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board—welcomed an audience interested in stepping up for children and families in need.
“As churches are carrying out Christ’s mission, we want to help them through ministries of compassion,” said Bryant Wright, president of Send Relief, at the opening of the breakfast. “We are not a relief organization; we are a gospel ministry.”
The breakfast centered around Send Relief’s ministry focused on protecting children and families. An assembled panel of experts to discussed caring for vulnerable children both here at home and around the world.
Attendees heard moving testimonies from Adopting and Fostering Home podcast host and adoptive mother Lynette Ezell and adoptive mother Michelle Chitwood.
Chitwood shared about her experience serving in a group home saying, “We saw a broken system with broken people trying to take care of broken children. Can you imagine being 14 years old and the only people in your life are people who are paid to take care of you?”
“Many of you may not realize, but there are group homes near your house,” she added.
“God said, ‘Lynette, will you work through hard things with me?’” shared Ezell. “Has God asked your family to see and engage in hard things?”
President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services Herbie Newell then moderated an expert panel discussing the urgent need for churches to step up for vulnerable families in their communities, pursue foster care and adoption efforts and invest in international orphan care.
“There are 150 million kids living on the streets around the world,” shared international Send Relief missionary Kristen Lowry. Lowrey and her husband care for hundreds of children who have lived or are living on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya.
“I heard if one family out of every four churches would foster, there would be no other foster kids in the state of Illinois,” said pastor Corey Johnston of his family’s decision to foster. “It wasn’t so much a calling as a command from God and an expectation.”
With 1,200 children entering the foster care system in the United States every day and 35 million children around the globe forcibly displaced from their homes, it is more important now than ever before to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. James 1:27 tells us that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction.”
“We can’t all say yes to fostering, but we can all say yes to something,” Whitten encouraged the crowd. Whitten works for Promise 686, a Send Relief Partner, and helps churches develop a strategic plan to support and care for families who are fostering and adopting.
Caring for these families is something that every single church can do. Any individual or church interested in protecting children and families alongside Send Relief can click here for more information or to get started today.
Published June 15, 2023