7 years ago today, I, Jesse Rivers, sat on the playground of a children’s home in Mexico, and spent time loving on precious little Angela. As you can see in the picture above, we laughed and played together. Many children and volunteers were all around, but I wanted to be sure to give each individual child some special time of love and laughter. I had, less than two weeks earlier, just officially started Abogar International Ministries, and God had placed on my life a great calling to fight for, and to love on, the precious children of His heart. It was such a sweet experience to be loving on, laughing with, and blessing the children of that specific children’s home in Mexico. However, it occurred to me, while I was there, that these children were getting temporal care, while being in need of forever homes and forever families.
2 years ago today, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I carried the casket of precious Luisa (16 years old), who had been killed in an avoidable, unnecessary, and neglectful fire in a huge, government-run, children’s home here in Guatemala. I bought Luisa the tomb cover for her casket, so that she’d not to be forgotten, and found myself again convicted by the short-comings of a centuries-long system of working with vulnerable children. This system was and is still failing to genuinely offer and provide forever homes and forever families.
Today, as I am less than a week away from having lived here in Guatemala for four years now, and have just completed the first seven years of ministry with Abogar International Ministries, I think back over the last two years, the last seven years, the last 40 years of my life, and I am still greatly convicted that we live with a centuries-long system of working with children who are vulnerable and/or orphaned that is continuing to greatly fail the vast majority of children. A video, World Without Orphans, speaks directly to this concept, and has a lot more important people, with greater credentials and experiences than I have, who share of the need to change this system! We need to be genuinely providing forever homes, forever families, and educational opportunities to the more than 150 million children who are orphaned, abandoned, abused, and/or living in the streets around the world!
As we look to tomorrow and beyond, we must become committed, or for some of us increase our commitment, to the cause of changing a centuries-long failing system, and redeem and embrace God’s original system and model! Forever families and forever homes are at God’s very heart, and are core to the success and proper functioning of any successful society, culture, government, country, or region. To retort to me that this is just my opinion would be absurd, because family is the building block and cornerstone of any genuine and successful community, and has been since the beginning of all of humanity. As many are allowing for the degradation and destruction of family and moral values, we are witnessing a drastic increase of neglect and need for precious children worldwide.
No matter how long the system has been skewed and off, today and beyond we must step up and make the necessary changes to improve the lives of these precious children. We need a permanent model, not a temporary solution. We need relational development and family structure to be implemented and embraced, instead of a reactive temporal process and system, in response to the needs of precious children. This is not a momentary, emotional, systematic response to the need. It is a life-long permanency, stability, and place of belonging that every individual, every human being, deserves as a basic human right.
I, on behalf of Abogar International Ministries, express our full commitment to working with all who would join us to see a world without children who are orphaned, living in foster care, abandoned, abused, and/or living in the streets. May we not tire, waiver, quit, or walk away from the multitude of children in need, but rather may we rise up in strength and commitment to help them to have the permanency and placement into the original model of God’s heart and design… forever homes and forever families.