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Andy and Jill Lehman family

Entries in advocacy (10)


This I believe: Blessed to Bless

Jessica Metcalfe, a high school student in Illinois was instructed to write a paper for her English class entitled, "This I Believe".  We were so impressed at the truth that she spoke on why many of us have been blessed by our Father God, that we HAD to share it. Please read and enjoy, praying that this truth would sink into each of our hearts stirring us into action...

Blessed to Bless: This I Believe

This morning, I woke up in a comfy bed, took a hot shower, ate a good breakfast, chose what to wear from a closet full of clothes, said hi to my family, walked to school, and talked to my friends.  In Russia another teenage girl woke up this morning, but she has nothing… only herself and the rags on her back. Prostitution is her only option.  In Kenya, there is a beautiful baby boy lying abandoned on the side of a dirt road.  In Guatemala, a four year-old’s parents died today.  In India, a girl was abducted and nobody noticed.  Why?  Why was I born to parents who care for me?  Why do I have clothes to wear and food to eat?  Why do I have opportunities and freedoms to learn and speak and think?

In the world today, there are over 143 million orphans.  Slavery and trafficking exist in almost every country.  There are people who feel hunger, poverty, pain, isolation and rejection every single day.  So many people have absolutely nothing.  From Germany to Jamaica, China to Brazil, South Africa to Eureka, Illinois, people suffer.  It is there, and it is real.

My brother’s birth parents died when he was five years old.  His uncle dropped him off in an orphanage at the age of seven, where he lived for two years.  He was separated from his siblings, and even the clothes he wore were not his own.  As our family went through the adoption process, my eyes were opened to the things happening around me.  It turned out that the happy little world I lived in was the exception, not the rule.  The hugeness and desperation of the things in the world astounded me.  Why did I have so much, when others had so little? 

This is what I have come to realize.  I have not been blessed because of me… I do not deserve all that I have, and it is not based on anything I have done.  I have also not been blessed for just myself.  I have been blessed so that I can go and be a blessing to others.  Whether that comes in the form of making advent calendars to raise money for orphans, helping someone whenever I have the power to do so, praying, or just smiling at someone to brighten their day, I can be a blessing to those around me.  God has given me much, and I can and should give to others because of what I have been given.  I have been blessed to bless.  This I believe. 

written by Jessica Metcalfe


Orphan Sunday Inspiration!

Orphan Sunday is just around the corner and it's never too early to start planning. November 4th will be a day celebrated nationwide in honor of adoption, orphan care and foster care.

But like all events there is a lot of planning, research, time & energy involved. Wouldn't it be great to have all the information you needed to host an Orphan Sunday event all in one place? 

We would like to introduce to you  This website is packed with resources from some incredible orphan/adoption/foster care organizations so you can pull off an event that will engage your church community.

We will be highlighting resources such as Partnership Packages, The Orphan's Table and many more! Stay tuned!


Conferences you don't want to miss!

Calling all church pastors, adoption & orphan advocates and adoptive (or considering adoption) families!! We're excited to highlight some incredible upcoming conferences with a focus on the fatherless...

July 26, 2012

Afflicted Conference (Eureka, IL)

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute." Psalm 82:3

Afflicted Conference will share the needs of not only the fatherless, but also reflect on the human slavery that is tragically increasing in our world and what WE, as the body of Christ, can do to help make a difference! Visit the Afflicted Conference Facebook page for more details!


September 14-15, 2012

Empowered to Connect (Nashville, TN)

Empowered To Connect, together with Show Hope, hosts the Empowered To Connect Conference — a two-day conference designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with “children from hard places” in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be. Click here to register.

September 14-15, 2012

Together for Adoption Conferce (Atlanta, GA)

Romanticizing orphan care and adoption is so very easy and tempting to do. But there is no such thing as orphan care and adoption without suffering. The primary objective of this conference is to take Christians deeper into God’s story of adoption to give hope and practical tools to walk with deep joy through “the sufferings of this present time” (Romans 8:18-23) for God’s glory and the good of orphans around the world.  To register or learn more, visit their website.


The Forgotten Initiative: Advocate Highlight


My journey to becoming a Forgotten Initiative Advocate has been full of uncertainty, setbacks, and answered prayers.  Every time I look back on the events of my life, I feel as if God has been leading me here all along. 

He opened my eyes to the orphan crisis while I was still in High School.  I knew very early in my Christian life that He was calling me to care for these forgotten children.  Originally, I was bound and determined to move to Africa and work in one of the orphanages there.  After meeting my husband, Ryan, we both felt that God was telling us that Africa was not His plan for our lives.  He had something for us here, in our own backyard, but we had no idea what it was.

We knew that adoption was in our future, but had decided that we would have biological children before adopting any others.  God had other plans.  Shortly after we were married in 2009, we suffered two grueling miscarriages.  In our despair, He gave us a verse that will forever shape our lives, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but one day you will understand.” John 13.7.  After months of prayer, God spoke loud and clear that His plan was for us to adopt and not wait.  He changed our hearts and showed us that adoption is not a plan B, but that our adopted child will be exactly the child that He designed for our family.  Nine months later, we brought home a beautiful baby girl through adoption. 

Since then, God has continued to open my eyes and show me the immense need for foster and adoptive parents in our community.  As my heart grew for these children, I found myself wanting to do something more.  We felt the pull of our hearts towards foster care.  The more I learned about the foster care community and its brokenness, the less I was able to sit still and do nothing.  I wanted desperately to help, but had no idea how just one person could tackle the huge needs of the foster care community. I stumbled across The Forgotten Initiative on a friend’s blog post one day and realized that this was exactly what God had been preparing my heart for all of these years.

Anna Shumpert:  Forgotten Advocate – Columbia, South Carolina

To get involved in Columbia, SC, email Anna at and “Like” Anna’s Facebook Page at to stay up to date on local needs!

Interested in starting The Forgotten Initiative in your area?  To learn more about becoming a Forgotten Advocate, please email


Far from Completion - Lifesong Ukraine

Listen in as Denis Poshelok shares an update from from Lifesong Ukraine,

"We always enjoy sharing updates on great achievements of our team and nice projects we have done together.  But with updates like that, the picture of Ukraine orphan care will not be would look like we have achieved all we wanted and ready to retire! Well, a lot of work is still ahead of us.
Even though we have done a lot, it seems that the work is still far far away from completion. One kid at the time, each who is priceless and very special to his Father.
We would like to share with you photos of the living conditions at the orphanages we work with...they surely tell a story. May these pictures encourage you to do even more for His glory through this ministry.  Try to imagine yourself or your kids being in such living conditions without hope and look in the eyes of those kids. Kids that are trapped and it's not their fault.  We need to help them out...
Thank you for all you do in support of our work. Glad to be in one team with all of you!"