At our dinner table last night, our 13-year-old guest turned to me and asked abruptly, “Do you know why I’m glad my sister is here?” Our guest comes to visit once a week. She is working her way through a residential treatment program, trying to recover from years of abuse and neglect. The question caught me off guard and, knowing at least some of what she and her little sister have endured, I wasn’t sure what she would say next, but I wanted her to understand she was free to say whatever was on her mind.
Her sister was three when she came into the care of Sunrise Children’s Services, the James 1:27 ministry of Kentucky Baptists. Fueled by the Cooperative Program, Sunrise ministers to more than 1,000 hurting kids in Kentucky. Fueled by the Cooperative Program, Sunrise ministers to more than 1,000 hurting kids in Kentucky. With more than 8,000 kids in our state’s care, Kentucky Baptists feel we are only scratching the surface even though we are the largest private provider.
When Sunrise contacted us about a three-year-old, my wife Michelle and I were a little hesitant. We had been foster parents for a teenage boy for a year, and, although he had recently been placed with another family, three-year-olds had never been on our radar. With two kids in college and one heading into middle school, a three-year-old didn’t seem like a “good fit.” But the scriptural mandate to care for orphans doesn’t say much about which kids fit our life-stage or lifestyle, so we took the plunge.
Now, at our dinner table, her 13-year-old sister is about to break my heart even though I don’t know it yet.
“I’m glad she’s here because I’m glad she has a father.”
I knew our foster daughter had no memory of a father, so I wasn’t at all that surprised when, in a matter of hours, she was calling me daddy. But what broke my heart was the 13-year-old celebrating that her little sister now has a father even though she doesn’t.
These two precious girls are among the 400,000 kids in foster care in the US. Thanks to CP ministries like Sunrise, many of those kids are finding foster homes and some are finding forever families. I’d call that relevant.
How relevant is the CP funding model in fueling Southern Baptist missions and ministries? I believe it is not only relevant; I believe CP is essential and irreplaceable.
If CP disappeared today, so would a significant portion of the ministries and mission work of Southern Baptists. Even the ministries and mission work that somehow managed to continue to exist would be significantly crippled. Let me explain why.