A History and a Future of Orphan Care in Greater Lafayette

by Mikel Berger

I’ve been doing some research and connecting with different folks around Lafayette regarding orphan care for the upcoming workshop during the Connection Hour. Searching online, I stumbled upon this picture.

According to the archives, this is a home for orphaned children around 1908. I couldn’t find out much more, but I take it as proof of a long history of caring for children who didn’t have someone to love and care for them. The Orphans Asylum might not exist any longer, but children like them and the need to care for them still does. The effort to care for children should exist as long as there are followers of Christ in this community seeking to be part of the works of God for His glory. Psalm 68 reminds us of God’s role:

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
     is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
          Psalm 68:5-6a (ESV)

God’s role hasn’t changed. Ours has. In the early 1900s, orphan care looked a lot more institutional than it does today. If you think orphan care still looks like this, I encourage you to join us on November 25. If you’re involved deeply in orphan care but feeling a bit isolated in your efforts, I encourage you to join us. If you’re somewhere in between, I encourage you to join us. Our goals in the class are:

  • Deepen our understanding of God’s priority of caring for the most vulnerable
  • Assess what God is already doing through our group of believers
  • Grow in knowledge of the local and global orphan situation
  • Learn about local orphan care organizations and their needs
  • Prayerfully consider what our responses should be individually and as a church 

You make no commitments to future efforts just by showing up to class. However, we are already praying for those in the class to be used by God to have a significant impact in orphan care in a variety of ways. You have been warned.

Lord willing, the class will unfold like this:

  • November 25: Theology of orphan care and assessment of current orphan care efforts at Kossuth.
  • December 2: Don Whipple, Executive Director of Bethesda Outreach Ministries, will lead a discussion of the global orphan care situation. We’ll break down the many types of care that are needed to address the variety of needs.
  • December 9: We’ll hear from local organizations and their roles and needs in orphan care. We’ll have representatives from the Department of Child Services and Gifts of Grace Adoption agency.
  • December 12: Don Whipple returns to helps us work through the start of individual and corporate going forward plans. After the worship service, we’ll gather for lunch to continue the work and to allow those that haven’t been able to be part of the class to sync up with us.

Please join us in Room 201 at 9:15 am each Sunday. Until then, start praying and check out the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Last Sunday, November 11, was Orphan Care Sunday. Their site has a lot of great resources for learning more about God’s heart for the fatherless.

I’ve already heard from many of you that you’re looking forward to this class. I’m so thankful to be part of a church family that cares. Invite a friend, and if they have any questions about the class, they can find me at church or email me at mberger@ksbc.net