Posted 1/30/15 at 6:32 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Human trafficking of any kind is a tremendous blight on God’s world, but the existence of child slavery is particularly incomprehensible for many of us. How can anyone deliberately do such damage to a child for profit? As Christians, we must not merely ask how this can be, but we must act to prevent, protect, and restore. That is what we at Bethany believe we must do for those young lives that do—or could—fall victim to this global abomination.
Ten-year-old Nicole* and her family in Ghana believed a relative’s friend when she said she could give their daughter a better life and education in the states. Instead, she forced Nicole into years of slavery in plain sight of neighbors and customers at the salons where she worked seven days a week to make money for this woman and her husband. Eventually Nicole was rescued by police after an astute observer placed a call to the authorities. She was provided a foster care home through Bethany’s refugee program where she was given security and value as a human being—which every child deserves. Today, she is an adult, living productively on her own—no longer a victim of human trafficking—but a survivor. FULL POST
Posted 1/27/15 at 10:48 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Robyn was a single parent with a young daughter; working, going to school, and living with her best friend when she became pregnant again.
Shocked and scared, she knew she could not parent a second child.
“Abortion was out of the question,” Robyn said. Considering adoption, Robyn started praying and asked God to send her a sign on where to go.
With her mother’s help, Robyn began researching adoption options. When a friend of her mother’s mentioned Bethany Christian Services, Robyn remembered how kind the people at the Hattiesburg office were when she took parenting classes there during her first pregnancy. FULL POST
Posted 1/27/15 at 7:11 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Unprecedented numbers of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors have poured across our southern border in the last year to escape the deplorable conditions in their own poverty- and crime-stricken countries. With this new refugee crisis, many Americans have become increasingly concerned about every aspect of immigration. FULL POST
Posted 1/13/15 at 6:38 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Today’s guest post is contributed by Michelle Simpson. Michelle is a pastor's wife and mother of three beautiful children. She is passionate advocate for orphans and the unborn—holding fast to the truth that each life is indeed sacred. In February 2014, God gave her family the precious gift of their son and brother, Josiah, through Bethany's waiting child program.
When my husband, Ricky, and I began volunteering with a relief organization a few years ago, they showed a video about the world’s orphans. One statistic struck my heart the most: If all the orphans in the world held hands, they would reach around the circumference of the globe, twice. In response, Ricky and I began praying about what God would have us do. We had thought about adoption . . . for the future. As I was pregnant with our second child, it seemed God was stirring my heart consider adoption. It was about eighteen months later when we began the adoption process. FULL POST
Posted 1/9/15 at 4:44 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Today’s guest post is contributed by Anne Nelson.
As a mother, this felt like failure. And even as a trained counselor, this was hard to accept. My own teenage daughter, still in high school, was pregnant.
I felt like the world was falling apart. I could not protect her from the consequences of her actions. I needed to be calm, but of course I cried. I was hurt and disappointed. In fact, I was grieving with a sense of loss. And a history as a pregnancy counselor did not help this mother’s heart.
Still, as a former Bethany pregnancy counselor currently working with waiting families, I shifted into counselor mode. I knew from the beginning what my daughter was facing and I knew how difficult it would be. I asked her about her thoughts and plans. Yes, I knew she and the child’s father had to make the decisions for this child, but at first it was hard to accept that my role was to support them, not to counsel them. Other than her seeing another counselor, of course, it took me a while to process what that would look like. Especially when my daughter said she was considering adoption. FULL POST
Posted 1/6/15 at 6:34 PM | Bethany Christian Services
In 2011, Catholic adoption agencies in Illinois were forced to shut down rather than succumb to a new law that would require them to violate their beliefs about what constitutes marriage and family. Similar laws have been passed in Massachusetts, California, and the District of Columbia. To prevent the government from forcing their view of family on faith-based agencies like the one I lead, Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) have introduced the Child Welfare Protection Inclusion Act (CWPIA).
Critics charge that this proposed legislation discriminates against those from the LGBT community who want to adopt—but according to Congressman Kelly, nothing could be further from the truth. “This legislation does not seek to exclude anyone from adopting a child,” the congressman told me recently. “All it does is guarantee the rights of religious organizations to stay in the game and provide the services to children and families that they’ve been providing for years.” In our conversation, which you can listen to here, FULL POST
Posted 12/23/14 at 12:19 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Do you know how much time the average married couple in America spends talking to each other in a meaningful way? Not going over finances or deciding who’s driving the kids to their soccer practice, but real conversation about their hopes and dreams, how things are going in their lives, or what’s been on their minds lately?
Just 4 minutes. And that, according to Greg Smalley, Vice President of Family Ministries at Focus on the Family, is a recipe for disaster in marriage. On the plus side, if couples increase the time they spend in meaningful conversation to just 20 minutes a day, they will likely have strong, stable, long-lasting marriages. FULL POST
Posted 12/19/14 at 5:41 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Today’s guest blog is contributed by Amylynn Warners, a Bethany staff member whose own personal story of crisis has given her a passion to share Bethany with others and a new perspective on giving. To hear Amylynn’s story, shared in her own voice, listen here.
It seems like eons ago—and sometimes even like it was someone else’s experience—but it is mine and I cannot forget it. I learned so much from that time, especially about giving.
The timing for the “acts of God”—situations and circumstances I could not control—was perfectly queued. Everything seemed to happen at once. The snowball formed, and it traveled a longer path than I would know at the time. Along the way it also collected consequences from my own ignorance and immaturity. It became a seemingly unbearable burden on my sagging shoulders. FULL POST
Posted 12/18/14 at 9:00 PM | Bethany Christian Services
Last month I traveled once again to Africa, where I was privileged to not only see encouraging progress but also gain a fresh perspective.
When I visited South Africa last year, an official from the government accompanied me as we toured a neighborhood in one of the poorest townships there. The organization I lead, Bethany Christian Services, had begun efforts to rescue orphans and other children who were in abusive homes. Tears streamed down the official’s face as she listened to residents share horror stories of sexual and physical abuse of the children in their neighborhoods, begging us to do something about it.
On this trip I met with the same government official, and her tears turned to smiles. In fact, she was beaming. “When you were here last year, I didn’t know what could be done, but now I have hope.” FULL POST
Posted 12/16/14 at 7:18 PM | Bethany Christian Services
For the last dozen years as a Christian, I’ve tried to live by the 10-Second Rule. Here it is: “Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do.” (And do it quickly before you change your mind!)
“If you love me, you will obey me.” Jesus says this in John 14:15.
But here’s what often happens: We’re watching TV or a YouTube video, see a story about children in poverty, and are instantly moved to respond. However, as soon as that impression comes, right behind it we sense this other “voice”—the “voice of reason” telling us why we don’t really need to do anything but pray. Why does the other voice win so often?
It’s because we know that almost every obedient act is going to cost us something— time, money, inconvenience, embarrassment—something! On the other hand, by saying no to God, we can save ourselves all of that. And it’s human nature to choose the easiest way. FULL POST