I had the wonderful privilege of attending CAFO2014 Thursday and Friday last week. (That is the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit) It was a very enriching and informative couple of days. (Also full of fun and laughter with two of my greatest friends!) Let's just say...God moved in me.
If you are involved at all in orphan/vulnerable children care you have heard one (if not all of these phrases):
Be the difference for one.
Make a difference for one.
Do for one what you wish you could do for them all.
If you can't feed 100 just feed one.
I don't know about you, but I read these and think, okay...I can help one, but really what is that going to do? Anything?
Yes! I heard multiple stories over 2 days of one life being changed which in turn changed many lives. Let me share just a few of them with you...
Tyrone Flowers was born to teenaged parents who could not raise him. He spent his childhood being shuffled between foster homes, detention centers, reform schools, and state youth facilities. Labeled "beyond parental control" at age seven, he was also diagnosed with behavior problems and learning disorders. Service providers saw no hope for his future. He spent time in and out of Juvenile Detention all through his adolescents. While there ONE woman, a cafeteria worker, took an interest in ONE boy, Tyrone. She became more of a parent to him than anything he had known. He ended up going back to school and getting very involved in basketball and even got offered a scholarship to play in college. But before he got to college he was shot three times by a friend that paralyzed him. He now has an organization called Higher M-Pact that offers intense, long-term mentoring for a select group of high-risk urban adolescents. (Tyrone called them Urban Orphans) Higher M-Pact also provides life and social skills training, spiritual development, education, job training, guidance counseling and recreational services. Project Restoring Hope (part of Higher M-pact) features after-school programs that promote structure and provide positive activities for our youth. Higher M-Pact also educates communities about the serious issues facing our high-risk urban youth and the effect they have on the community. This ONE man is now making a difference in the life of many.
Daniel is a pastor in Kampala, Uganda (yes I about died as soon as he started speaking!) He was a street orphan at a very young age. One day he decided he was going to take his own life by hanging himself in a tree at his school. He waited until very late in the day when everyone had gone home and went over to the tree. When he got there, someone was waiting. A friend. The friend talked to him about Jesus and invited him to stay at his home. ONE family took this boy in. Now Daniel is a pastor in Kampala, sharing the gospel with many people. And he has 8+ children. This one man is now making a difference in the life of many.
Friends, this is just two short stories of thousands of lives changed. I know, for me, that I really can make a difference for ONE!