– How’s Your Investment Portfolio Doing?

The concept of having resources set aside for future use is common. Friends discuss investment tips at parties. Some people form clubs where they pool their money together. Getting the best return on your investment is an acceptable topic of conversation, even among strangers.

But what if wise management and good stewardship of resources didn’t end up just with the instruments of commerce, like money and stocks and certificates of deposit? Bruce Wilkinson, in his best-selling book “A Life God Rewards” offers a perspective of investing for the future that also includes spending our energies and efforts in endeavors that have eternal value based on God’s standards.

Groups of passionate volunteers and team members have made just that kind of eternal investment in the lives of Russian and Ukrainian orphans that have visited the U.S. through Advocate for Orphans Internation (formerly known as Adoption Adventure). The return on their investment won’t be measured in dollars, but will be in the eternal effects on the lives of children and the families who adopt them.

If you were to visit on a typical day our day camps where the children meet each weekday for two weeks, you would see the same kinds of activities going on as in most Sunday school classes or summer YMCA programs – crafts, music, games, free play and field trips. But the difference is this – the objective of the entire Advocate for Orphans team of leaders and volunteer staff is to extend God’s care toward these children by creating an opportunity for each one to meet their forever family.

The stakes in this game are incredibly high. Every year thousands of Russian and Ukrainian orphans reach the age of 16, aging out of the orphanage system, and are released into the streets. The statistics show a staggering saga of misery for these kids – at the end of the first year, half of them are either incarcerated, in prostitution, or deceased. The effort to create an alternative opportunity for these orphans by matching them with families impacts their entire reality by changing their living environment, improving their health and vitality, and receiving the love and guidance from parents that will affect the course of their entire lives! Truly there are eternal matters at stake here! There is a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and beauty to be rescued!

The battle to fight is against the ravages of being unloved and lonely in this world. The Bible says that “God sets the lonely in families” and that “God is a father to the fatherless.” There is a battle going on in the cosmic level to disconnect children from the love and nurture of a family and sever them from the blessings God wants for them. The adventure to live comes from our volunteering to join the battle and then observing with our own eyes how God overcomes circumstances and hurdles to accomplish His objective to reach these children with His effective care through us! And the beauty to rescue is the innocence of childhood that rests in each of the children who participates in one of our programs.

When people volunteer freely to participate in this cosmic battle the forms take on unassuming and small proportions. At our day camps you will witness mothers bringing snacks, high-schoolers guiding the play times, and helpers cleaning up the crumbs on the tables and floor at the end of each day. There will be a photographer giving his or her time to provide flattering photos of the children. There will be families driving the children to and from the day camp and providing meals and clothing for them. There will be translators who will form a vital communication link between the families and the children who are being considered for adoption. All of these people will be contributing in simple ways, but they will have a profound effect when combined together with the other members of the Advocate for Orphans team.

The effect of our programs is that on average well over 80% of our visiting children have families step forward to begin the process of adopting them. Since 2002 we have participated in matching 184 children with families. And, of those 184 children… well, 151 are already home!

So, how’s your investment portfolio doing?

David Avilla – May 25, 2008

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