We thought it would be good to create a review of the impact God has had through the Just ONE Ministry at LaGrange Baptist in its first 9 months of existence. The primary purpose of this ministry, as is posted on the Just ONE blog, is to assist our church in responding to the command to visit orphans in their affliction (James 1:27) and to otherwise reflect God’s heart for the fatherless. Our initial focus this year was to create a number of education “moments” through video, bulletin, lobby-booth and lunch-and-learns. These are summarized below, along with other events and encouraging news.

Our hope in 2010 is to broaden our efforts to include even more opportunities for LBC members 1) to serve the fatherless, whether physically, spiritually, or financially, as well as 2) to become more familiar with what God’s word says on the matter.

We believe that this ministry can be a vital aspect of the Church’s overall mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. As our Church becomes obedient to God’s commands concerning the fatherless, the community will see Jesus Christ is alive and working in the lives of His people to care for those children who can’t care for themselves.

We look forward to the Work and Leading of the LORD, who Fathers the fatherless and cares and advocates for the orphans and the voiceless in millions of ways every day, everywhere. We hope He will continue to use the Just ONE ministry to be a part of the process. In the words of Dennis Rainey at the SUMMIT V: “The orphan crisis is God’s crisis; orphan ministries are God’s ministries.”

YEAR 2009 IN REVIEW:

MARCH 1, 2009 – Official launch of the Just ONE Ministry with guest speaker, Dr. Russell Moore, SBTS. To educate the congregation regarding the orphan crisis and the need, videos were shown and information was put in the bulletins in the weeks leading up to the launch. The Just ONE booth was established in the lobby with the Just ONE banner and logo. Just ONE bulletin inserts were created to help people identify how they as “just one” could make a difference for “just one” child. Three families identified themselves as being interested in adopting children. Praise God! The Just ONE blog (justonechild.wordpress.com) was started as well.

APRIL: We attended The Summit V, Dallas, Texas, an annual meeting of orphan care advocates and teachers from around the country and across denominational lines. The sponsors of the forum were Focus on the Family (who made a generous donation of adoption books to LBC), Family Life, and The Christian Alliance for Orphans. A number of folks from other churches in the Kentuckiana area were also present. We would later find out that God would bring us all together as the Louisville Orphan Care Initiative.

JUNE: LBC held Vacation Bible School and the needs of orphans from literally around the world were highlighted.

– Lightning Ahlers and his siblings presented music and their testimonies to the children at VBS. Lightning and his siblings were adopted from Liberia as teenagers by a Christian family from Pendleton, Kentucky.

– Madeline Davis from New Beginnings Family Services in Kentucky presented the foster care situation to the children at VBS and explained the need for suitcases for children who generally carry their lives from foster home to foster home in garbage bags.

– VBS collected 29 suitcases, 21 duffels, 17 backpacks, and four big boxes of toiletries for kids in foster care. Over $2000 was collected for foreign missions; this was later sent to support water and health solutions for a school in Cambodia. A team from LBC visited RDI Cambodia from July 16-27 and was personally involved in construction of a water collection system connected with the school. “Children helping children” — the results of this year’s VBS indicates a future generation of Christians with the Just ONE mentality.

We were invited to meet with other LOCI (Louisville Orphan Care Initiative) members to discuss the state of Christian response to the orphan crisis in Kentuckiana. This inaugurated an involvement that has proved to be fruitful and encouraging to the Just ONE ministry.

JULY: We visited a Christian school for the poorest children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia while in country with a LBC/Springdale Mission team. It is hoped that this school or others like it will serve as ministry partners for future mission trips from LBC.

OCTOBER: We attended the Together for Adoption Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The teaching, networking, and encouragement are gifts from God.

NOVEMBER: Orphan Sunday – November 8: A short video prepared by The Christian Alliance for Orphans was presented to the congregation during service. Announcements were sent to the local papers. The Shining Star Gallery photos of foster kids who are eligible for adoption was in the lobby as everyone entered service. The sermon was based on our adoption by God as sons. Over 50 packages of diapers were donated by LBC members and were delivered to Necole’s Place / A Woman’s Choice Resource Center, Home of the Innocents, and Louisville Orphan Care Initiative. At the luncheon afterwards, a panel of adoption advocates discussed their involvement in and encouragement by adoption. They spoke about being adopted, fostering to adopt, foster siblings, infant adoption for infertile couples, the process of adoption, and adopted siblings. There were 8 new couples who expressed an interest in adoption. The Just ONE ministry gave each of these couples a bag of books to aid them in the adoption process and preparation.

DECEMBER: Twelve different LIFE classes or families sponsored 12 foster kids involved in the New Beginnings Family Services foster care program with a gift card each that was used to purchase them gifts for Christmas. We attended the annual foster care Christmas party hosted by New Beginnings, where the gifts were distributed.

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