As we head into Orphan Sunday weekend, I’d like to reflect on a moment when God opened my eyes to His heart for the fatherless.
A few years ago, I visited Canaan Orphanage, a Cross International ministry partner in Haiti. As I walked through the doors, a healthy, smiling, 4-year-old bundle of fun ran in my direction and wrapped her little arms around my legs.
“Is this Bevjelly?” I asked, not believing this could possibly be the same child I met on my trip to Canaan the year before. That little girl was absolutely beautiful — but she never smiled. She had just arrived at Canaan by way of Haitian social services, and she showed obvious signs of malnourishment. By contrast, the child greeting me now was beaming from ear-to-ear, and I could see that she was clearly well-fed and completely healthy.
A preschool teacher nearby assured me that, yes, this was the same Bevjelly! I couldn’t get over the difference in her appearance, demeanor and health. What a proof of the grace of God! In less than a year, a stoic and sullen little girl had been transformed into a smiling, active and friendly child.
That’s the difference that love makes, I realized. That’s the difference that Jesus makes.
Since that day over four years ago, I’ve realized little Bevjelly’s transformation is not unique. God loves orphans, and He wants to redeem their stories and replace pain with hope. Jesus mends their hearts, restores their hope, and gives them a reason to smile and experience joy. Children with no family suddenly become part of the ultimate family — the family of God. And it is our privilege, as His people, to be part of their redemption story.
For followers of Jesus, orphan care isn’t optional—it’s an essential part of our walk with Christ. James 1:27 famously said, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
On Orphan Sunday, I encourage you to take an active step to care for the world’s orphans. That can mean committing to praying and interceding for the orphans in the world, considering adopting a child into your own family, or financially supporting orphanages like Canaan in Haiti or Casa Bernabe in Guatemala — places that make transformation stories like Bevjelly’s possible.
Will you join us in loving these children who are so dear to our Heavenly Father’s heart?