From May 8-11, five of us from Bethesda were able to attend this year’s Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit in Frisco, TX at the Stonebriar Community Church. Michele Geurink, Don and Fran Stoffel, and my wife, Kate, and I joined over 2,000 orphan care worker from 40+ countries, representing over 190 organizations, as well as many churches and families that are fostering or who have adopted children. We gathered to learn, grow, and share our best practices in caring for orphaned and vulnerable children.

As I stood in the fifth row during the first general session and took in the multitude of people that had gathered for this year’s Summit, I was greatly encouraged as I thought about everyone in the auditorium and the many, many more believers that daily care for children in need. Today, as you sit in your living room or wherever you read this, be reminded that you are not alone. The Father of the fatherless is with you, as are thousands upon thousands of others around the world.

As Jedd Medefind, the president of CAFO, spoke in the first general session, he reminded us that in a world with endless choices, we need to remember what matters most. (You can listen and watch the first session here.) What Matters Most was this year’s conference theme and every session, workshop, and conversation over coffee pointed us back to the Gospel.

  • It is the Gospel that compels us to be involved in orphan care; and what God did through His Son Jesus, is the primary motivation for caring for the fatherless.
  • It is the Gospel that sustains us when the work gets difficult and uncertainty abounds as it reminds us that there is meaning and purpose.
  • It is the Gospel that is put on display when the church and believers care for the fatherless, and is a pure and undefiled demonstration of the Gospel that the world needs to see (James 1:27).

I left full and refreshed by God’s Word and by the interactions I had from others who served, spoke, and shared their resources, best practices, and experiences in gospel-focused, church-driven, family-centered, excellence in orphan care.