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In Pursuit Of Orphan Excellence Paperback – April 15, 2014
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Good intentions alone are flat-out insufficient. The Christian must cheer every effort to care for orphans deep in both knowledge and wisdom. In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence pushes hard toward this goal, spurring us all to serious study and reflection on what it means to love vulnerable children wisely and well. Yes, there s plenty to debate in this book. That s one part of its great value. We must continue to challenge and refine each other as we pursue the very best for each child we serve.
Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans, and author of Becoming Home
The God of the Bible is the God of the underdog. Scripture makes it unmistakably clear that his heart is uniquely focused on those who lack the advantage of loving earthly parents. In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence challenges each of us to sync our hearts with God s by refusing to settle for sincerity alone, and daring to give our best to those who need it most.
Phil Tuttle, President, Walk Thru the Bible
Let s be honest. We all want to demonstrate compassion and seek justice. But if we care about these things, care about people, care about orphans, and care about the gospel, we must have the courage to ask how we go about these things. This book is a courageous gift to the wider church and I m grateful to the various authors for having the courage to examine themselves and call us to a more thoughtful, prayerful, and dignified way of engaging in orphan care.
Eugene Cho, Pastor @ Quest Church // Visionary @ One Day s Wages, and author of Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?
My life is full, ministry is growing, my mind is busier than ever, yet now, after reading this book, I m somehow more gloriously ruined for what is certainly at the core of the Father s heart. If you care for the kids in this world who come from unfair backgrounds and had no choice in the matter, then reading In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence will increase your compassion and understanding of how we can love them well and bring them real hope.
Victor Marx, Founder and President of All Things Possible Ministries, and author of The Victor Marx Story: With God All Things are Possible
This book is an important conversation starter about rethinking the best practices of orphan care. When even the most well-intentioned expressions of love and help can unknowingly cause damage to orphaned children, the Christian community needs this dialogue now more than ever. In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence sheds light on the dangers and challenges and provides a framework for transforming orphan care practices to be more comprehensive and effective.
Mark Foreman, Lead Pastor, North Coast Calvary Chapel, and author of Wholly Jesus --In Pursuit Of Orphan Excellence
Darke and McFarland have brought together some important voices in the orphan care movement. This collaborative effort will bring a fresh clarity to the way we approach orphan care, and more importantly, to the way we practice it.
Kevin Palau, President, Luis Palau Association
It has been said that one way to determine the health of a nation is to take notice of the way it treats its orphans. Darke and McFarland offer us a full court press against the usual ways to think about what we call an orphanage. This demands not simply fair treatment of the orphan, but excellent treatment. One of the strengths of this book is that it offers the voices of global experts in the field of orphan care. And with their nine-pronged best practices approach, the authors present biblically-based methods for caring for the orphans in their distress by addressing the many variables that are involved in the formation of a healthy adult. This book is a major contribution to the field and offers a blueprint for carefully thinking through how to respond to the many parentless children in our world. Praise God that it was written.
Rev. Ron Nydam, PhD, Professor of Pastoral Care, Calvin Theological Seminary, and author of Adoptees Come of Age
In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence will touch your heart and move your soul. With this book, Darke and McFarland show how far we have to go to serve orphans as if they were our own children and provide practical advice on how to do just that. This book is a must read for any of us who long someday to hear, Well done my good and faithful servant.
Jeff Sandefer, co-author of A Field Guide for the Hero s Journey, and co-founder of the Acton School of Business and Acton Academy
For those in the midst of orphan care and those praying about jumping in . . . please read this book. It s like an orphan care time machine that will save you ten years of heartache and misguided hopes. Thank you Phil and Keith!
Mark Stuart, Executive Director and co-founder, Hands & Feet Project
This book is a voice for the voiceless, and a banner of justice for the orphan. I pray it stirs you to action.
John Sowers, President, The Mentoring Project, and author of Fatherless Generation
I am excited about this new resource, In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence, and I am honored to have played a small role in its development. I love how this book uses several voices to touch on so many different areas of orphan care. You will find it practical for your ministry and a great resource from which to draw ideas when seeking best practices in caring for orphans. Work through it as a team in your church and let it guide your discussions as your ministry to orphaned and vulnerable children grows and expands.
Johnny Carr, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Help One Now, and author of Orphan Justice
In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence is an important and timely addition to current conversations within and around the Church regarding orphan care. I am encouraged by this collaborative effort and the call to work together as companions toward a common goal improved care and better lives for orphaned and vulnerable children. The book helps us examine how to move away from traditional institutional care to more holistic family models and addresses our call as Christians to help bring redemption to the fatherless. The authors are not afraid to ask, How can we do better? or point out the failings in the current systems, as they seek best practices for orphan care. I hope this book fosters change in our paradigms regarding orphan care and opens our eyes and hearts to redeeming brokenness around us.
Troy Livesay, Director, Heartline Ministries, Port au Prince, Haiti
As the Father to the fatherless and Defender of the defenseless, God expects the body of Christ to join him in that work by caring for orphans around the globe. In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence gets at the essential issues and best practices to consider as we do the work of orphan care. Read it, grow from their challenges, and care for orphans to the glory of Christ!
Rick Morton, author of KnowOrphans and co-author of Orphanology
About the Author
Philip Darke serves as President and CEO of Providence World, which exists to inspire and equip others to love orphans, widows, and at-risk communities as God loves them (providenceworld.com). He lives with his wife, Becca, and five children in Folsom, CA.
Keith McFarland, native West Virginian, and his wife, Laura Beth, moved to Uganda in 2004 to work with New Hope Uganda. While raising their four sons and one daughter, Keith also heads up the New Hope Institute of Childcare and Family and the New Hope Pastoral Training Institute.
Top customer reviews
This book helps us navigate practical ways to help in the orphan care crisis. It addresses unhealthy perspectives, how to work with children psychologically, how to partake on mission trips, understanding adoption/ foster care, differences between institutions and orphanages, and much more. But ultimately, the books helps us figure out how to heal the brokenness in orphan care.
Read this book. This book creates a fire inside that compels you to be apart of the change in Orphan care. I must say it will not be fixed over night, the book makes that clear, but we must start now, so in 5 years things are better, healthier, and revived. If you want to know more about orphan care and want to help be apart of the revival, I would recommend this book for you.
It begins by discussing one of the biggest social issues in our world today – fatherlessness. Not simply orphan status, but fatherlessness in general. Darke explains the societal problems that have arisen in the U.S. as the rate of fatherlessness has increased. Did you know that 42% of American homes are fatherless? It makes sense given the divorce rate but it’s simply astonishing. He goes on to share why everyone needs to care about fatherlessness because of the negative impact it has on society in general.
The authors then explain that we have the opportunity to care for orphans – it’s not a “we have to” … it’s a “we get to” scenario. They explain that we are the plan for orphan care! But simple caring for physical needs is not enough – all people, including orphans, need and deserve relationship in order to thrive. They even quote Dr. Purvis and share about attachment training and the brain chemistry – all interconnected to relationship.
The authors also share in great detail about how to improve the standard of living for all orphans across the globe, meeting both physical and emotional needs. Although many children will not have the ability to be adopted, they argue that all children need a family-like environment where they are spiritually adopted and/or have a close mentor. They lay out plans for what that might look like in different environments. They explain the importance of community integration, proving that orphans do, indeed, need to be an integral part of their local communities in order to build a healthy sense of self. They argue against being hidden away in a safe haven, but instead explain the need to interact with their local people and experience their native culture. They go on to explain at length how to address the different physical needs of these precious children, including nutrition, preventative, restorable, and emergency health care. They also talk about education, with an emphasis on making sure that local culture is always preserved.
They also discuss the importance of creating self-sustainability and self-sufficiency within the orphan care community. They stress that the communities need to be trained to ultimately rely on themselves and their local communities, to decrease dependency on foreign donations. They also lay out goals for vocational training and internships for the children being cared for. Not only does this give them a sense of worth, it also gives them the skills to ultimately live on their own. They also propose work scholarships and financial training to further set the children up for success in the future.
They finish the book with sharing about cultivating spiritual formation in the children. They stress the need for the children to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father so they can feel and know that intimacy. The authors discuss the need for strong Christians to lead the children in their faith, so they can learn their true sense of worth and glorify Him in their lives. And finally, they share that through this work, we will glorify Him too. “Ultimately, our goal is to honor our great God and Father who has given us the gift and calling of work and entrusted us to raise sons and daughters who will look to Him for all things.” (Ch 11, pg 184).
If you haven’t read this book, pick up a copy. Everyone should care about the global orphan care crisis and be doing something to help. God calls us to it, all throughout the Bible. Read this book, and I think you’ll see why. It is our problem and we are the solution. For a few, that means adoption. But for most, there are so many other possibilities. Where do you see yourself?
This review was also posted on my blog at LivingOutHisLove dot com.