Tonight I spent a couple of hours at Taylor Playground, a neighborhood park in Central City. For those of you familiar with New Orleans you know Central City is a neighborhood that is plagued with poverty and violence.
Each Wednesday a group from our church goes to the playground to serve food alongside a pastor who is planting a church in the neighborhood. The playground is usually teeming with people.
There are guys playing soccer and basketball...and there are kids EVERYWHERE! Tonight I struck up a conversation with Mia. She's three years old and cute as a button.
Before inviting Mia to trek across the park with me to get a plate of food I told her we needed to tell her mom where she was going. I was taken back by her response.
"I brought my own self over here."
"Ummm...You came to the park by yourself?"
"Yeah. I brought my own self over here."
This precious little girl might have a living parent or parents, but she is functioning in this world as an orphan. She is on her own. Three years old, in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city and she "brought her own self" to the park tonight.
Although I don't know Mia's background, if she is like many in her neighborhood, her father is not involved in her life and she is being raised by her mother or her grandmother. They are likely functioning as widows with no one to help provide for their children.
America may not have 4.5 million orphans like Ethiopia, but women and children all over our nation are functional widows and orphans.
Maybe God has not spoken to your heart about adding to your family through adoption. But He calls us all to care for widows and orphans in distress. I submit to you that becoming involved in the life of Mia would be living out James 1:27.
(Another cutie pie in Central City...didn't get a pic of Mia....this photo was taken by Joe Fontenot - ahhhitsmyblog.com)
If you don't know a functional widow or orphan, I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone a little more - volunteer at an elementary school, a women's shelter, or another outreach ministry. Of course, if you live in New Orleans, The Care Effect has many opportunities that will put functional widows and orphans in your path.
But it will be up to you to take the next step....because Mia shouldn't have to look out for "her own self."