Awaking a Sleeping Giant
The American church is a sleeping giant.
So many in America claim to be Christians. Relative to so many countries, we have so much wealth. We have the opportunity and ability to make a gigantic impact.
We do nothing.
We have allowed atrocities to take place around the world, and neglect to go on under our nose. What can rouse this giant?
Yesterday, I observed the giant stir.
At 8pm Tuesday night, a local foster-care ministry got a call saying in the next day or two, a plane with 300 Haitian orphans would be headed to Indianapolis. Could they quickly find foster families?
Around 11:30pm, an email went out to my church of more than 6,000 people. "Could any families take in two or more non-English-speaking kids for a month or more, potentially to adopt?"
Half an hour later, they had found homes for 92 children. I sent off a tweet to a blogging friend who I knew was an adoption advocate, and she knew the right people to contact. Twitter lit up. By 10am Wednesday, Safe Families was receiving eight emails a minute about wanting to host children or help in some way. Throughout the day, because of the overwhelming response, they required that applicants have a current background check and home study and agree to take in two children and be a potentially-adoptive home- and even with that requirement, at 1pm they cut off applications, saying they had plenty.
God's people stepped up. Hundreds of families in less than 24 hours were willing to radically alter and rearrange their lives in a permanent way to make space for "the least of these". Wow.
Reports are that the airplane headed to Indianapolis isn't as looming as was reported, and fewer children may eventually be on it, when and if it is put together. That fact is disappointing for many families, but misses the larger picture: Thousands of people in our little area were ready to deploy for the Kingdom. The church stirred, and was ready to make a difference in a big way.
Where to go from here? The hundreds of emails demonstrated to me that there are hundreds or thousands of empty beds and bedrooms in Hamilton County and the Indianapolis area, and thousands of families who love children. As a local adoption agency tweeted in the midst of the day yesterday, the orphan crisis isn't just today, it's every day. There are parentless children that could fill all those beds and hearts, not just from Haiti, but from China, Ethopia, Ukraine, and our own neighborhoods.
Hopefully, this event sparked some good conversations in families in the area, and fostering and adoption will become priorities. Or the plight of Haiti won't be forgotten, because yesterday it became personal and, very literally, close to home. Or the "least of these" living next door or a few miles away will be served with the same life-altering willingness.
Let's hope the giant doesn't drift off again.