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Aug 11, 2015

“If one family out of every four churches in the U.S. would adopt a child, there would be no more orphans in the United States.”

Elizabeth Styffe is confident in making this bold statement because this goal is her life’s work. She is the Director of Orphan Care Initiative, a global ministry of Saddleback Church in California. She is working to mobilize ordinary believers to hear that adoption is God’s idea, orphans and vulnerable children matter to God, and there’s something every believer can do.

The most significant challenge to the orphan care movement in America, she says, is our cultural attachment to personal peace and affluence. “I have been in churches [in Rwanda] where the average person makes $.68 a day. The pastor will get up at the beginning of the service and say, ‘Sister so-and-so passed away this week. Who will take care of her children?’ And there’s a rumbling in the church where they sit on these little wooden benches on a dirt floor. Husbands and wives look at each other, and they raise their hands and say, ‘We will.’"

Styffe’s desire is that the Church would learn to see that sister as our sister and her children as our own. She spoke with Ruth Bell Olsson, Strategic Partnership Consultant at Bethany, about equipping the global Church to not simply manage but end the global orphan crisis.

Bethany's Every Child audio podcast engages leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the arts to discuss issues relevant to children and families. Topics often include child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.