Christian Artists Band Together for 'Cry of the Orphan'

Christian Artists Band Together for 'Cry of the Orphan'


November 11, 2009

He was under strict orders from his wife "not to fall in love with any more orphan girls in China" but it was too late. Steven Curtis Chapman had already met little Maria, and his heart immediately was taken.  

As he explained from the stage of Christ Community Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday evening, God had a purpose for bringing Maria into the lives of the Chapmans, and also for taking her from them on May 21, 2008. 

"God had a plan for this little girl," said Chapman. "His plans included us getting this incredible gift and also being entrusted with an incredible grief and sadness that would, in many ways, redefine who we are.

"God's purposes and plans for our lives are good," he continued. "If it's not true, I better stop singing right now and shut down and never sing or say another word. That's what God's Word says. We don't get to pick and chose the parts we like. It's either all true or it's all bogus. I believe it's true."

As an adoptive father of three orphans, including Maria, Chapman's voice was one of many heard around the world this Orphan Sunday, trying to draw attention to more than 140 million orphans crying out for love and a family of their own. 

There were voices like Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, who knows the loneliness orphans go through. After being abandoned by his alcoholic father at age 5 and losing his mother to cancer four years later, Daly endured several tough years as a foster child. His story represents the more than 500,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system. 

There were other voices, too, like musician Geoff Moore, FamilyLife President Dennis Rainey, and Christian Alliance for Orphans President Jedd Medefind - each an adoptive father. Along with Chapman's Show Hope ministry, their organizations joined forces for the fourth year to sponsor the Cry of the Orphan campaign, as well as this first live event.

In addition to roughly 1,000 who attended the Nashville concert, people around world heard the messages and songs via a satellite simulcast on the Moody Radio Network. Close to 500 churches in the United States and in nations such as Guatemala, Uganda and the Philippines held local events ranging from sermons, Sunday School classes and prayer gatherings, to concerts and service projects.  

"Each local Orphan Sunday event is a candle, lit to cast light on the needs of orphans and God's invitation to take up their cause," said Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. "Taken together, they add up to a nationwide blaze." 

The Alliance is comprised of more than 50 Christian organizations such as Show Hope, Focus on the Family and Bethany Christian Services, along with small nonprofits, adoption agencies, and global orphan care advocacy groups.

"The idea is that they are doing great things on their own," said Medefind, "but there are certain things we can do better together, like Orphan Sunday. When it becomes a movement, people being to rally around it."

Medefind was personally impacted after spending time overseas and meeting orphans in Russia, India and Africa.

"Once you've looked into their eyes," he explained, "you know that Christ is present there. If we draw near to the orphan, we are drawing near to Christ. When you see that and you feel that, it's hard to do anything else."

Musician Geoff Moore shared that his heart also was changed after looking into eyes of a child - in his case, two little girls from China. He described his transformation from someone who reluctantly prayed about the process to becoming an adoptive father and now advocate with Show Hope. 

"The call to care for orphans is for everybody," Moore said. "I think because adoption has become so affiliated with orphans around the world, a lot of us who are not planning to adopt feel we are off the hook. James 1:27 might as well say, ‘Care for widows and those who adopt orphans.'"

Moore explained that the Show Hope sponsorship is one thing anyone can do, along with mission trips. "My hope is that when you as an individual say, ‘God has called me to care for an orphan,' whatever station in life you are in, whatever financial strata, whatever your time, there is an outlet for you. So, go do it, then watch how generous God is to love you back. "

In setting up Show Hope, Steven and Mary Beth Chapman wanted to provide opportunities for children in conditions and situations where adoption is not even an option. "We support programs and organizations that care for those orphans. It is important to care for them in the name of the one who came to give them hope as He has given it to us, in the name of Jesus. "

Chapman believes that "God invites us 140 million times around the world and says, ‘Here's a way that I want to bless your life. I want to show you what you were put here on this earth for. Get involved in caring for these children and you will come to a deeper understanding of why you draw breath and why you are here.'

"There are so many other opportunities," Chapman added.  "There are so many wonderful organizations doing great things, and that's part of what Cry of the Orphan is about - to bring all of them together and let people pick from any number of ways to show hope and be involved in God's heart for orphans."

Before launching into song, Chapman told the audience how he and his wife were sitting with Dennis and Barbara Rainey, "talking about coming together as a coalition, and joining forces because this is on the heart of God. We prayed about it together, and dreamed together. 

"Show Hope has exploded and now we get to partner with these guys to do something like tonight. We are just buzzing from all the reminders of how much God loves orphans, and what an invitation, what a privilege we've been invited into," Chapman said. 

At the conclusion of the event, Rainey talked about the night in volleyball terms. "I think what this does is to set up a spike. The ball is right above the net, and now it's up people whether they are going to spike it or not." 

The issue, according to Rainey, is not for paid professionals. "This is not for the pastor. This is a ministry for laymen, people who care, people who are passionate about orphans, people who believe something has to be done. The hope for the orphan really is in individual churches, led by individual lay men and women who care enough to do something."

Go to http://www.hopefororphans.org/ and get information about how you can start an orphan care ministry in your church. Also visit http://www.showhope.org/ and http://www.cryoftheorpan.org/ to discover ways you can learn more about this issue and take just one step today.


Janet Chismar, a former Crosswalk.com editor, now works as the Senior Writer/Editor for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association websites. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about important social issues such as adoption and orphan care, among others.