It is such a privilege and an honor for us here at Orphan’s Lifeline to be among a collection of people who see the world through the eyes of a servant. 2016 has ended and has become the 17th year in which we have all worked together to make a difference in the lives of innocent orphan children around the world.

So, what is it that we have accomplished together, not just this past year, but throughout the years?

Let’s try to answer that by taking a journey together.

Imagine that you take a walk around the world in your mind’s eye. With each great stride, you cross oceans and continents and step back in time. 

You come to a place where you can see many places all at the same time. To your right, you see Russia, seventeen years ago. It is winter; snow is piled high throughout the Far East and a bitter wind blows. You see an old woman begging in the streets. You see children who have run away from orphanages seeking shelter in the sewers. One child uses his hands to drag frozen legs behind him. You see the orphanages and the children’s hospitals. They are broken down and dark. They have little food and no medicine to treat children suffering from hunger and disease. You see those in charge, sitting at dark desks, head in hands, feeling hopeless and helpless; unable to provide for many thousands of orphan children in their charge.

Then time moves forward. As you watch you see orphanages become homes. You see them transformed before your very eyes as the old becomes new. Barns and greenhouses appear out of nowhere. Brown fields turn green with crops and animals grow in size and number. The pale faces of sick children become flushed with health as their bodies receive good nutrition. Their lifeless eyes grow bright with knowledge, sparkling with hope and confidence, reflecting the love they have been shown and the love they feel inside. As you watch, more than 10,000 of them receive Bibles and you hear them thanking God for all they have and for the kind hearts thousands of miles away. You watch as they pay it forward, feeding the poor in their communities from their abundance. The lowest of the low, rising far above the dismal expectations the world had for them.

To your left, you see India. Now it is 2004 and you watch a Tsunami strike and leave behind massive destruction and the loss of thousands of lives. You see a country already filled with millions of orphans living in unthinkable conditions, suddenly gain many more as mothers and fathers are swept out to sea. As you watch, you see Orphan’s Lifeline’s children’s homes spring up in South India. You take in a sharp breath as you watch them fill up with sad and ragged little children. You see them come in from the streets, hungry and alone; from abusive homes and the brutal fields of labor. Their minds are dull because they cannot go to school. Their eyes reflect the hopelessness and desperation their sad little lives have left them with.

But, as you watch, they transform before your very eyes. Sunken and hollow cheeks fill out. Skinny, little bodies become plump and healthy. Eyes shine with knowledge, intelligence and the promise of heaven. 

You turn your eyes to The Philippines and watch the same things happening as time moves forward. The faces are different. The stories are different, but once again the transformation you see before your eyes in the lives of the orphan children warms your heart.

Your eyes move on to Africa. As you watch, many years go by. You see all of the children’s homes as they are established, as they grow. You see Nancy from the Home of Champions, a star at the track meets. You see girls from Nantale’s Home grow into young women and become nurses. You watch as Brian goes to school and becomes a professional driver. You see Benjamin there, lying on a dirt floor, broken and without hope. Then as you watch his leg becomes straight, his limp is gone and he is running with the wind in his hair and a smile on his face.

You see the children in Sudan sleeping warm beneath the blankets you gave them, safe from Malaria behind the mosquito nets you also provided…and as time moves forward you see many of them as young adults, living in the U.S. and attending school and college, safe from the harsh and war-torn country.

You hear screams behind you and turn to see Haiti. The country is being shaken apart by a devastating earthquake. Thousands lie buried and dead in the rubble and children are wandering the street alone; suddenly orphans. You watch as Orphan’s Lifeline responds. You see Tabitha’s Home taking in children who lost more than their parents. They even lost their names; children too young to say who they were or where they came from. You watch them grow and flourish as the years go by. Then comes Hope Home and you are once again reminded of the children who first entered the home. Your eyes sting with tears at the sight of them…just a few more days on their own and most of them would have perished. But the tears of sadness turn to tears of joy as you watch them recover; watch as they thrive in their new home, their young lives filled with love and hope.

You turn once again and see the children’s homes in Mexico. A chill runs down your spine as you see the young girl, forced to sleep with the pigs being rescued and taken into one of our children’s homes. You are stunned with the depravity of humanity as you watch Angel, a crippled and mentally disabled boy, being rescued from the middle of a street where he was abandoned and left to die. But, once again your heart is warmed as you watch them both, along with all of the other children in the homes in Mexico, grow and flourish in the loving and healthy environment they were provided.

Now, all around you the images are coming faster and faster. The faces of thousands of children surround you. You can hear their words of gratitude, not just to you, but to God; thanking Him for you, thanking Him for Jesus.

Suddenly you are in the present, and can even see into the near future. The months of 2017 begin to move by in front of your eyes. You watch as the new home for the children at CCIM is built, not just saving the children from once again becoming homeless, but providing both them and future children with the security of a building owned by CCIM. A home that cannot be taken away. The months go by and you watch as Gladys, our Child Care Coordinator in Africa, takes the beginning steps to start a new children’s home in Kenya. Your eyes grow wide as it becomes a home for Benjamin and more than 20 other orphan children from the slums outside of Nairobi. 

You also see a new children’s home in Liberia that you have never seen before. It is home to more than 60 orphan children. You can see the more than 40 acres it sits on, near to a village in one of the poorest areas of a country where most live in abject poverty. 

Now the visions fade and the voices of the children fade as well. You are back where you began; in your own home, thankful for the blessings God has given you and thankful that you have been blessed with the opportunity and privilege to be a part of forever changing the lives of thousands of innocent orphan children around the world.

Meanwhile, here at Orphan’s Lifeline, we too are thankful, beyond words or measure. We are thankful to you for your caring hearts, for your compassion in action. We are thankful to God for giving you that heart and giving us the opportunity to serve Him and his precious children around the world.

Looking back on the past 17 years and what has been accomplished, just imagine what we can do in the next 17 years. How many lives will be saved and forever changed? How many heart-warming stories will be told? How many children will hear the story of Jesus? Just imagine the potential impact on future generations and even the world…just imagine.