If there is to be any subtracting from the orphan population, I believe it should happen through adoption… however I got some devastating news that there’s one less orphan in the world now through much more traumatic ways.

I have not mentioned it very much on this blog, probably only this once, but I went on a missions trip last summer to the small former Soviet state of Estonia.  I went with a small team of Americans to serve an orphanage of about 30 school-age/teenage kids.  We met some awesome people there, the caretakers really care for the kids.  I really felt accepted into their home, it was like I had found a new family.  

The organization I went with made a great relationship with the orphanage director.  On that August trip, they planned to continue their partnership by bringing missions teams to them for Spring Break and summer 2011.  I was very excited by this great bridge God had built, and definitely plan on staying in contact with the kids and returning someday. 

The Spring Break trip just ended and I was excited to hear a report of how the kids and orphanage family are doing.  I heard back from the American ministry director who went on the trip this week, with some very good and very bad news. One of the teen students – ‘A’ – passed away less than a week after the team left.  It’s been devastating for the other kids in orphanage and put an incredible strain on the orphanage director.

As the news continues to set in, my heartache for this extended family of mine grows.  I remember ‘A’ so well… and can’t imagine how his ‘brothers & sisters’ in the orphanage are feeling.  The hurt and the questions… One less orphan should not happen this way.  This traumatic loss confirms in my heart the need to reach these children.

‘A’ may have been alone in this world, living without a biological family.  But he is deeply missed by his orphanage family and many Americans and Russian who met him this summer.    He will be remembered.

Though his passing has caused great strife among the community, it has also brought the opportunity for new beginnings.  Just 2 days after his death, one of the caretakers gave her life to Christ – making her the first one there to join the family of God.  It’s an incredible miracle that we have been praying for since before last summer’s trip.  We are praying this brings great hope in the hopelessness of their despair.  God is drawing people near to him.

Please join me in praying for everyone touched by this loss.  May ‘A’s’ death be the agent to bring about new life for many in the orphanage.

To all who mourn in Israel,
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair.
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)