163 Million

There are 163 million orphans in the world today.

Woah. I was researching for my Spanish project with the goal of identifying the issue and explaining the work of Back2Back ministries, an organization whose vision and mission to care for orphans reflects my own.

That’s just it, though. As I studied, “orphans” became more of an issue than a story; all of the sudden, they were a mass of numbers calling out for my attention while keeping me at a safe distance.

 

I once heard of a study in which researchers assembled three groups of people. To the first group, they presented the numbers of impoverished children worldwide; to the second group, they instead shared the story of one girl; to the third, they combined the two approaches. After presenting this information, they asked the groups of people to help, to give. The group that gave the most was the second group—those who only heard the story of one. Statistics kept the other groups at a safe, apathetic distance, but the second group knew poverty. They saw something that the others were blind to:

The numbers have faces.

Changing the course of my project, I decided to show my classmates the faces instead of the issue. So, naturally, I googled it: “Pictures of Mexican orphans.”

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As I scrolled through the images, my heart ached, swelled and sank.

I knew these faces.

Previous trips to Mexican orphanages had introduced me to these exact kids. I knew their stories. I have held them, played with them and talked to them.

So, here I am—in pursuit of the stories, the faces, and the real people behind the overwhelming numbers.

This fall, I will move to Monterrey, Mexico to “look after the orphan and widow in their distress.” I want to know them, to see them through the eyes of a perfect heavenly father and to love them as Jesus does.

Will you join me?

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