“Now go find your people!” That was a phrase we heard often this year at the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Conference held in May, in Louisville, Kentucky. You should know that it is not easy to find “your people” in the midst of 2000 other people! Thankfully, we Bethesda people did all eventually find each other, and it was a blessing for me to spend some time with Tonya Small, Don and Fran Stoffel and Mikel and Jessica Berger at the conference. Though some of us don’t see each other often, there is a definite comradery amongst those of us who have the privilege of serving together in the ministry of Bethesda, each in our own and very different way, but united by our cause.
Once I had found my Bethesda people, and was sitting next to them hearing, “Go find your people,” the phrase took on an expanded meaning. The conference included many God-honouring general sessions where all of 2000 of us were in one sanctuary worshipping, admonishing, and encouraging each other together. There were many breakout sessions where, as smaller groups, we would quickly find ourselves with more of “our people” who wanted to learn and grow along with us in similar areas of ministry. Sometimes, we would hear encouraging stories from those who are also walking this road of orphan care. If the conference is anything, it is encouraging. The stories of struggles and successes in orphan, foster care, and adoption from around the world are so similar that we are reminded that we are not alone in this journey; and, that God is working in and through us as we serve orphans.
By the end of the conference, one did not need to “go and find our people,” as each one around us at the conference was “our people!” This greater body of Christ, these ones who take this calling to care for orphans so seriously, are willing to sacrifice their own comfort and security to meet the needs of orphaned children. They, often through deep and enduring heartache, are our people. What a privilege it was to be surrounded by so many compassionate and passionate people, reflecting in their lives the Father’s heart for orphans!