Here's a short history of how we got started.
When my husband and I adopted our two children from China, we had the opportunity to see first hand the plight and vulnerability of the orphan. I felt an ache in my heart and a desire to help the orphans left behind. Simply put, God has given me a burden for children who don't have families to call their own. I also discovered in God's word that "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans & widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) There are many other verses that mandate that the Church be the ones to care for these children who have no voice. In August of 2008, with the help of my Area Pastor, an invitation was sent out to see if there were others who had the same passion for orphans. Little did I know, but God had been preparing several hearts to receive this invitation, and we have been meeting and planning ever since.
One of the first initiatives God has led us to start, is the Safe Families (SF) program. The SF program is through Lydia Home of Chicago, a Willow Creek partner. This program works with churches to provide emergency/short-term foster care. You can learn more about it at http://www.lydiahome.org/. We are in the process of forming support groups for Willow families that already are involved with SF, and encourage you to learn more by attending monthly meetings that are now being planned.
The next initiative God is leading us to pursue is support for adoption. We will be piloting a small group study for prospective adoptive parents, and also forming support groups & gatherings for adoptive families.
God has also presented us the opportunity to work with a ministry called OrphaNetwork (http://www.orphanetwork.org/). Last Christmas over 300 personalized Christmas cards were hand-made by volunteers and sent to orphans living in Nicaragua.
In the coming weeks and months you will be introduced to the rest of the team, and we'll keep you posted about ways you can get involved. We would like to use this blog as a forum for discussion and a tool to keep us connected and informed. Please check back often as we plan to update several time per week.
God is on the move. I believe His heart breaks for orphans around the world. He is calling us, His Church, to be His hands and feet - to be a father to the fatherless. I invite you to join us on this journey.
The Ackermann's: Christmas 2008