Pure and undefiled religion is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
Bridges of Grace has used the command in James 1:27 as a foundation for their ministry. There are orphans ministries and non-profits all over the country that have sprung up in the past 5 years toting 1:27 on their banners.
And yet, there is a piece of it that seems like we've missed. We are to visit and care for orphans AND widows. We've moved forward to care for the orphan, but what about the widow? How can we use James 1:27 so diligently as the backbone of our ministry when we have chosen one vulnerable people group, but not the other?
Now we have justified this because the needs are so great, how can one ministry tackle the global orphan crisis AND widows in their distress? It is overwhelming enough to take in the numbers of one group of "the least of these" let alone to add widows as well. We do believe, however, that focusing on this one group, orphans, is not just justified, but right thinking. We all have God-given passions and talents, and we are finite beings in our time and ability to care, so singling out one group of people to care for is how we manage in this flesh.
But God is not going to allow our inability to care for both widows and orphans to limit His work. He is not allowing our susceptibleness to be overwhelmed by the suffering to single out just orphans in the Zeway Partnership.
We are rejoicing that God is allowing us to expand our care circle to include widows. Single parents who are dying of HIV/AIDS and who will not be there to parent their children within the year will now be a part of the Partnership outreach. God is allowing us to support the social workers and the Zeway Church body so that they can care for these dying mothers and fathers.
Here are some of the reasons why this is a desirable opportunity:
- These dying men and women need care and love. They need to hear about the peace and comfort of our Savior through the social workers and Zeway church members.
- In an environment where children of parents with HIV/AIDS are outcasts, these widows desire to know that someone will watch over their children.
- The orphaned children will not go one day without knowing there is an adult who cares for them and is advocating for them after their parent dies.
- There will be a transfer of trust as the child watches the social worker and parent forming a relationship.
- The orphaned children will be admitted into the Food for the Hungry programs with little to no gap between losing their parent. They will not spend months or even years fending for themselves.
We are rejoicing that we will be able to care for orphans and widows as well. It makes sense that these two groups of people would go together in a circle of care, and we are blessed that God showed us His ways again through this Partnership!