By Neisha Roberts
One would think you’d need a lot of effort in a small amount of time to make things happen in the middle of a global pandemic. But God shows us over and over that the tiny mustard seeds we plant along the way are what make a difference.
Since 2016, Lifeline Children’s Services has worked alongside Colombia’s national child welfare branch, ICBF, to train and equip local foster families. These moms and dads have huge hearts for children in need, but they often lack good education and training — a detail that’s essential to working in foster care.
In early 2018, Lifeline began specifically working more closely with local churches — building a network of believers that wanted to be involved in orphan care in their country. This partnership led to an annual church conference held in Bogota covering topics like theology of orphan care, training, education, and other resources for churches to start ministering to the fatherless in their own neighborhood.
When COVID-19 hit the country in March 2020, ICBF was in dire need of trained families to take in the many children that continued to enter the foster care system. Not even a pandemic can stop the needs of the vulnerable — and in many ways, it multiplies those needs.
Because of the groundwork (and those mustard seeds) that the Lord has laid between Lifeline and local churches over the years, 15 Christian families recently stepped up to the plate to care for vulnerable children.
Ary and Alvaro Rivera, who pastor Gracia y Verdad Iglesia Cristiana (Grace & Truth Christian Church) in Bogota, were one of the first recently trained “emergency response” families to receive a placement. A sibling-set (an 11-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy) came into the Rivera home and initially, the Rivera’s were wondering if they’d made a mistake.
“There have been days, especially in the beginning, where we did not know if we could do it,” they shared. “But then we remembered that Christ can provide for all our needs.” They’ve experienced the Body of Christ’s support and continue to feel equipped through Lifeline’s foster care trainings each Saturday, they said. “We know Christ has put us in this place to help these children heal, and we know we cannot do it alone.”
Since the Rivera’s placement, three more families have welcomed children into their homes.
Get involved in what God’s doing in Colombia. Email [email protected] to learn more.