“LOOK AFTER WIDOWS AND ORPHANS”: One more excellent ministry to consider supporting…

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on June 25, 2008

As anyone seriously investigating my blog will quickly find out, I’m very much into things such as SOCIAL ACTION and recognizing the CALL THAT GOD HAS PLACED UPON THOSE CLAIMING THE NAME OF CHRIST TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE IN DOING IT—-and there are many other ministries that feel the same. One of them is entitled http://www.heavensfamily.org/  , which is very balanced, seeing that they’re not only for PREACHING/TEACHING the GOSPEL but the PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF LOVE/LIVING IT OUT AS LIVES TRANSFORMED BY THE GOSPEL AS WELL. 

  However, in researching all over the web, one of the main websites I love to visit brought up  another ministry that struck me to the core. The name of the ministry is called Covenant Mercies (and their blog, http://newattitude.org/articles/mercy_to_the_orphan)— in connection with NEW ATTITUDE (with Joshua Harris and C.J Mahanney) and other ministries of that kind. 

And this ministry was set up under the basis of seeking to be in line with the commands throughout the Bible to help the poor, the widows and the orphans.

For a basic description of the ministry from the website:

Covenant Mercies is a gospel-centered nonprofit organization established for the purpose of serving the poor, the orphan, the widow, and others facing severe adversity in its own Pennsylvania community and beyond. Please click the links to the left to learn more about the initiatives being undertaken through Covenant Mercies.

In His grace, God has been exceedingly merciful to us. Our Savior did not sit idly by while the world agonized in the ravages of sin, but in compassion He came and suffered with us. As His visible expression in the earth today, it is our joy to minister the compassion of our Lord Jesus to those around us who are in need. We invite your prayers for Covenant Mercies as we seek to walk in the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10), to the praise of His glorious grace.



For a video of their ministry firsthand (


– Sponsorship Program Video

). As if this wasn’t enough to be dumbfounded by, I was so taken aback by a branch of their ministry entitled Orphans Initiatives. What this basically is is an Orphan Sponsorship Program that works hand in hand with local churches in Uganda and Zambia to help the many orphans there. For a basic description



James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…” Covenant Mercies is committed to seeing this biblical mandate lived out practically in the context of the local church. Through our Orphan Sponsorship Program, we work with local churches in Uganda and Zambia to facilitate care for hundreds of children by means of their extended families. Where no extended family is available, we construct orphans’ homes where the children can be raised in a normal family environment, integrated into the life of the local church and endowed not only with daily sustenance, but also with biblical instruction and a Christian upbringing.

It is our conviction that in certain cases, the best and most complete way to care for an orphaned child is to make him an orphan no longer through adoption. Covenant Mercies has worked with branches of the Mexican government to assist in matching orphaned children with loving adoptive families, and we hope to expand our adoption program to serve children in other nations as well, as doors are opened. Covenant Mercies’ vision for ministry to orphans includes:

* Enabling extended families of orphans to provide effective care through our Orphan Sponsorship Program
* Building orphans’ homes in cooperation with local churches in other nations
* Providing adoptive homes for orphaned children
* Providing Adoption Assistance grants for qualified families through our Orphans Fund





 Also, for anyone interested, here’s an interview from the director of the ministry on the importance of the issue:

Today we’re introducing you to Covenant Mercies, a gospel-centered nonprofit organization serving the poor, the orphan, the widow, and others facing severe adversity. Doug Hayes blogs regularly for Na and is the executive director of Covenant Mercies. We love Doug’s understanding of how the gospel informs social action.

Here, Doug Hayes shares a simple story of how Covenant Mercies cared for a boy named Onyango…

One of the things I love most about my role as director of Covenant Mercies is the unique vantage point I enjoy, from which I can clearly see the connection between our donors’ generosity and the profound impact it is having on the ground where we’re working I love to point out what I see from this bird’s eye view, because I realize that few people have the opportunity to observe the impact of their giving as clearly as I’m able to see it.

Here’s an example of what I’m referring to… As a regular visitor to Uganda over the past five years, I have been stunned to learn just how many of my Ugandan friends have lost children due to disease and other causes. There are many things that separate my typical Western experience from their typical “developing world” experience, but none has been more personally jarring to me than this one. When I hear of a child dying, it is a shock to my system; a rare and unimaginable grief that I pray I’ll never know firsthand. For our Ugandan friends, on the other hand, this indescribable sadness is a common reality of life.

A few years ago, as this disparity of experience was becoming clear to me, I asked one of our Ugandan leaders to estimate the percentage of families living in that region who would have experienced the death of a child after childbirth. I was not prepared for his answer: “Over 80%,” he said. Thinking this could not possibly be accurate, I continued my inquiry, asking the same question to another of our leaders without informing him of the data I had already collected. “More than 90%,” he said. Could this really be true? Sadly, though my ensuing survey was admittedly unscientific, it seems that the death of a child is indeed a trauma experienced by the great majority of families in this region of Uganda.

Understanding this background provides a greater degree of appreciation for the story of a young boy named Onyango. In October 2003, I happened to be in Uganda when our indigenous director learned of this little boy and his plight. Both of Onyango’s parents had died the year before, leaving him in the care of his uncle who was alleged to be an alcoholic. When we went to see Onyango, the lack of adequate care was apparent from his severely malnourished condition. At that time, he could do no more than sit on a mat with a glazed look in his eyes. I will never forget the way he gobbled up some biscuits we had hurriedly purchased on our way, snatching them with his left hand as if he had not eaten in weeks. He used his left hand because the entire right side of his body was paralyzed, a disability that may have resulted from lack of proper nutrition combined with chronic, untreated malaria.

Upon ascertaining Onyango’s need, our staff began to search immediately for another extended family member who could take him in. After learning of an aunt who lived nearby, they quickly convinced her to begin looking after her nephew. We took Onyango to the medical clinic that day for emergency treatment, and thereafter he steadily recovered. Improved nutrition provided through the generosity of his sponsor, combined with the love and care he now receives as a member of one of our children’s home families (Onyango was not able to remain permanently with his aunt), have resulted in dramatic changes in this little boy’s life.

When I went to visit Onyango the following year, it was difficult to believe I was looking at the same little boy. Though full strength and mobility had not yet returned to the right side of his body (and still haven’t to this day), he was able to walk and he had regained some movement in his right arm. But that’s not what affected me most when I saw him; it was his eyes that told the greatest story. As the photo above attests, this is a little boy who now has hope and a reason to smile! Today, Onyango is known for his love of singing, and he’s typically the first one dancing – gimpy leg and all – on Sunday morning at church (see Onyango dancing here).

Each time I see Onyango today – especially when he’s dancing – I’m reminded in so many ways of the grace of God. If not for the eagerness of God’s people on one side of the world to excel in the grace of giving, combined with the eagerness of His people on the other side of the world to look after orphans and widows in their own community, Onyango would almost certainly have become another nameless piece of a tragic child mortality statistic. But because of the operation of God’s grace in the hearts of Christians both there and here, today we have a little boy whose mourning has been turned into dancing.

To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! (Psalm 30:8-12)

Dance on, Onyango, and tell of His faithfulness!



And to all that, I say “Amen…and AMEN….”. I SERIOUSLY encourage EVERYONE TO PLEASE GET INVOLVED WITH THIS MINISTRY. For truly, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve heard of to date…..and an answer to prayer. So often it seems that much of the church, in an effort to combat things such as false teachings/immoralities of many kinds, have forgotten about the issues of PRACTICAL holiness and living for the Lord.  And on the aformentioned things, you could do all of that and still be LOST if love was not involved in it.

If anyone else is wanting to have more info on the issue regarding ministries like those dealing with compassion/mercy issues, this other thread was great place to start that dealt with it greatly ( #113


LOCK-UP: How does one do Missional Ministry Among Kats doing 25yrs to LIFE?

(#100 , #101 ). On the issue of abortion, it’s amazing seeing how many churhes will rightfully preach against it…and yet they’ll end there. ANd they seem to forget that it was often due to feeling as if they couldn’t take care of the child ALONE or that any other options were available that they decided to abort anyhow. The church needs to rise up again and remember that this is what we were called to do, as I truly believe that ADOPTION is the KEY TO ENDING ABORTION (or at least, curttailing it SIGNIFICANTLY). America

        This reminds me of some of the ministries I ran into during my time earlier this year at an event entitled the CALL (www.thecall.com, THE CALL: Should Others Call to it or should it be Called Off?–the latter one being from CARM and where you’ll have to register, for free, in order to view completely  ), where there was a heavy focus on things such as this and the same kind of sentiments were repeated. And it was really cool to see that, for it seemed that the concept of adoption was the missing factor in what it means to take care of widows and orphans. And regarding the conference, Personally, I thought it was very powerful as people were praying (and hearing the testimonies of people on the issue—one being how some were praying outside of an Abortion Clinic with “tape over their mouths” and asking the Lord to shut it down/bring JUSTICE and eventually it did through their efforts….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAKU9smGC_U…and many other interesting things besides that).  Their website can be found here, 

  • BOUND 4 LIFE: FIGHTING against the Wrongs of Abortion
  • these people had the zeal for God to take a public stand and cried out to God to change the place. I guess like Paul being in Athens and noting the horrendous idolatory everywhere, and being grieved in his spirit. However, to be clear, Paul did not stand outside the temples and pray for God to shut them down. And there was gross immorality going on in them. But he reasoned with men and preached the gospel to them. When he speaks to the Corinthians, one of the loveliest things he says after listing various kinds of immoralities is “and such were some of you”, which is a great encouragement that people can and do change by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the gospel. Paul’s preaching at one point upset the silversmiths (the idol makers) of the city, because many were turning away from idols. There is no mention that he took a group of people to pray outside the idol makers convention, and pray against it, but it was through the preaching of the gospel, that people were turning away from idols. All that to say, doesn’t mean that the people standing outside the Abortion Clinic didn’t preach the Gospel nor does it mean that what they did was insignificant either—–especially seeing that one of their greatest passions is ADOPTION being the key to dealing with abortion.

    , what is it that the Church has been called to do? Is it not to be involved in the issues of our world as “SALT AND LIGHT“, to the point where our good deeds will cause others to glorify our father in HEAVEN?

    Matthew 5:13-16

    Salt and Light

    13″You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

    14″You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

    Mark 9:50

    Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

    1 Peter 2:12

    11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.


    Was generosity/compassion encouraged in the church? Of course, but when I read, it seems primarily an issue of taking care of one another that’s of focus in the church:

    Acts 2
    The Fellowship of the Believers 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    Acts 6 is another example that I think would be good to examine

    Titus 3
    Doing What is Good1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. .
    Galatians 6:6-10]Doing Good to All
    6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
    7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


    I Peter 3
    8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.I Peter 4:7-8
    [QUOTE7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling,…



    Again, God’s Word does make clear that as Believers we’re not to hid our lights by being quiet when we should speak, going along with the Crowd, denying the Light, letting our light dim, and ignoring the needs of others. We should make a difference in the “flavor” of the world we live in, just as Salt change’s meats flavor…….and we should be the ones who COUNTER-ACT the moral decay in society, just as salt preserves food from decay…..for when we lose this desire to “Salt” the earth with the love and message of God, we become useless to Him

          In the event that anyone says “Well, that’s all good……but those things like compassion/gifts of mercy are not as important as teaching or preaching or prophets…..”, we need to stop and take some serious investment of things. For often it seems things like this get passed over due to how in some people’s eyes it’s not as “exciting”(and in reality, for many “boring”) to them to see it. Some even say that these kinds of things pale in comparision to many “revivals” taking place where miracles/wonders are happening. Prayerfully, many will again show just as much excitment/SUPPORT for the non-spectacular gifts (which,if interested, one can go here to investigate more: The Non-Spectacular Gifts & Many Gifts, One Spirit – Josh Harris ) and those movements where God is utlizing them to the max, whether in the U.S or in the entire WORLD….

    I Corinthians 16
    14Do everything in love.
    15You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, 16to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. 17I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

    Personally, I wonder how often we do the comparision thing even with people not with gifts of working wonders/gifts of healings and prophetic and teaching and underappreciate the efforts of those who may never step foot in the pulpit but who aided in the ministry nonetheless through gifts of MERCY/BENEVOLENCE, ENCOURAGEMENT and GENEROUS GIVING. Lydia came to Christ early but did much for the Gospel simply by sharing her home, but by todays standards many wouldn’t even give her a shout-out…..and would probably think that what made a difference was the PREACHING OF THE TEACHERS who’re seen primarily in public.(Acts 16:40, Acts 16:13-15 , Acts 16 ). Her hospitality, alongside those who do things such as this 24/7 is something to take note of regarding God’s Working. Same with those women who’re following Titus 2:3-5 (in Context) Titus 2 & seeking to instructing women/children in the Lord, whether through childcare or teaching in ways that the children can miraculously get it/walk with it (and for those feeling called to be MOTHERS IN THE HOME, be encouraged that it’s NOT A FORGOTTEN OR UNECESSARY CALLING!!!!)—-or the men who’re keepn’n it real for the sake of the Gospel ( 1 Timothy 3)

    The same thing goes for Priscilla and Aquilla, who simply opened their home and made a difference (even though for them, that basic undestanding of the WORD helped another—Apollos– whose full calling was expressed in Apolegetics (Acts 18:1-3, Acts 18, Acts 18:1-8, Acts 18:17-19 , Acts 18:25-27 , Romans 16:3, Romans 16:2-4, Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 1 Corinthians 16:18-20 (in Context) 1 Corinthians 16 ). Ministry & Revival/God moving with them was a household issue where they could make a difference…but would they be recognized?

    Same thing with one sista named Tabitha, whose ministry was INVAULABLE because of her work in benevolence/aiding the POOR—SOMETHING WHICH IS A SIGN OF GOD’S WORKING TOO!:

    Acts 9:39-41, Acts 9.Aeneas and Dorcas 32As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34″Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas[), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
    39Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

    40Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

    Here, nothing more than a ministry of benevolence/knitting clothes…..and yet this was a symbol of God’s Revival on the LAND/WORKING THROUGH FOLKS powerfully….and the same with Cornelius (Acts 10:3-5, Acts 10): ” 1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

    Paul, gifted in working wonders, had an amazing list of folks included as his close friends who did things which we consider of no consequence but yet they were of utmost value to Him

    Romans 16Personal Greetings 1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant[a] of the church in Cenchrea. 2I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. 3Greet Priscilla[b] and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 6Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord. 9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 11Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. 13Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them. 15Greet
    1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 (in Context) 1 Thessalonians 5
    11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.12Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

    There’re numerous other passages, but prayerfully it gets across to people. You can make a difference…..and your one act of kindness/compassion somewhere, if done for the Kingdom of God, is not something that is EVER in vain……as Jesus said, NO ONE GIVING A CUP OF COLD WATER IN THE NAME OF THE LORD will EVER FAIL TO RECIEVE His Reward……


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