Above and beyond

Southgate Church in Langley, BC

By Tamara and Kristjen Hull

The Lord began stirring our hearts personally toward orphans about two years ago. The knocking came little and slow at first, and over the duration of this time, the Lord has given us a strong burden to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and to walk out our mandate given to us in James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows . . .” – something that even if we tried to, we could not ignore.

We had been praying that God would “break our hearts for what breaks His,” and He has . . . He has given us an undeniable heart and passion for the orphaned children of the world that we can’t ignore. We want to embrace the challenge of James 1:27. We are no longer content to just “feel bad” when we see a picture of an orphaned child; we have decided that God holds us responsible for the 143 million boys and girls around the world without moms and dads. We realize that we have been given much, and therefore, much is required of us. Our passion is for every believer to be engaged with helping vulnerable children and we long to see thousands of children around the world cared for through this ministry, and others like it.

We felt led to establish and lead an orphan ministry, as a ministry of, but not exclusive to, our home church, Southgate Church. From the beginning, it was our hope and prayer that this ministry would develop awareness, compassion and conviction to minister to orphans, through a variety of different means.

When we look at the great social issues of this century – poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, child soldiers, and trafficking – there is a common link, the orphan. By stepping in to prevent, aid and rescue orphaned children, we can break these cycles and change more than just the number of orphans.

Today there are an estimated 143 million orphans in the world. Although not all of these children are available for adoption, they are in need of care. The sad reality for so many orphans is that they are unloved, overlooked and forgotten.

This is a crisis involving so many who are exceedingly precious to the heart of God. In response to this need, God’s call to the Church is clear: for believers everywhere to rise up and find creative solutions – saving lives one by one.

The Church is the answer that will change the lives of these children forever. The Bible mentions caring for widows and orphans over forty times. In fact, the Bible says one measure of our faith is whether we care for widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27). Because God cares for orphans, He wants us to care for them as well.

Churches are the most influential source of care and support. As the distribution centre for hope in a community, the local church is best able to identify needs and support interventions for orphaned and vulnerable children in every community.

Components of our “Above & Beyond” ministry

  1. Providing waiting orphans with loving families by financially assisting adoptive couples through adoption grants (through ABBA Canada).
  2. Assisting families in the pre-adoption process (educating) and post-adoption (support). This includes walking alongside families in the adoption journey and providing support, encouragement and practical help (resources, etc.).
  3. Mobilizing individuals, churches and communities to care for orphans/raising awareness.

For more information about Above & Beyond ministries, please contact Tamara and Kristjen Hull at [email protected]. You can follow their blog at Hullsimagine.blogspot.com. Information is also available at Southgatechurch.ca and through ABBACanada.com.