Friday, September 7, 2012

Increase Your Awareness of Children In Grave Need

Yesterday I posted about missing children. I said, "The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says, “Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day.” More than 2,000 children each day are reported as missing. Most of these children are runaways. Does this number shock you? It shocks and breaks my heart. So many hurting children."  I also said, "for the next few posts I’ll write about what we can do to reach out to children who are at risk. Children who are in serious need. Children who we need to be praying for and who we need to keep our eyes open for so we are able to see and help them."

So, the first thing we can do to reach out to children who are at risk and in serious need is to increase our awareness. If we are not aware of a need or problem, how can we possibly hope to respond? Consider the following ways to increase your awareness -
  • Sign up for the missing children alerts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. You can sign up for alerts for missing children from your own area, or as I did, from the entire USA. This one may sound easy, but I will tell you, it is difficult. It is heart-breaking. There are days when I receive one alert after the other. When I look at the photos of the missing children who are endangered runaways - as most of them are, so many have sad and/or angry faces. I always wonder what happened so this child made the choice to run away. I wonder why they didn't have someone in thier lives who they could have considered as a "safe" person. Someone who they could turn to for help. Signing up for the alerts will be heart-breaking, but it will also give you the opportunity to pray for children in grave need. It will increase your awareness - it sure has increased my awareness.
  • Be committed to know the children in your ministry. Know their names. Know the things which bring a smile to their faces. It takes time to know the children in your ministry, but it is time extremely well spent. Be sure they know you and other adults who are "safe" people they can turn to for help.
  • Be committed to know the families in your ministry. Especially families where the parents do not regularly attend your church - or do not attend your church at all. Find adults in your church who are willing to reach out to these families to connect - adults who have similar likes and interests so they are able to find common ground. This also takes time, but again, it is time well spent.
  • Build relationships with your schools. Offer your services and times to volunteer. Involve the children in your ministry in making "Teacher-Pick-UP-Baskets"  filled with speciality teas, coffees, cocoa and cookies for them to enjoy which can be left in the teacher's lounge. Again, it can take time to build relationships with your local schools, but it is time well spent.
There are children in our midst who are in grave need. Increase your awareness so you are able to reach out and share the love of Jesus with them.

1 comment:

  1. This is great and so needed. Our ministry focuses on kids who are at risk, and it surprises me how infrequently they make it into the kidmin conversation. Recently, one teen I've counselled who was a runaway from foster care went back into protective custody (and thus school and LIFE), and it's been amazing to see her transform from the stability and love she found in her foster home.