September 25, 2020 Prayer Partner: Pray for Unaccompanied Children
Around 34 million children are forcibly displaced from their homes. They have escaped violence, trafficking, and starvation – horrors that no child should ever experience. Each of these 34 million children are made in the image of God, each of them matter deeply to him, and each of them should matter to us. The Psalmist reminds us of this writing, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
I have been working with organizations that support displaced children for 45 years and have met thousands of children who desperately want to be with their families again. Many others have been orphaned and need temporary families and a little support. I wish you could look into each child’s eyes as they share their story.
I am often reminded of two sisters who I met in 2018. They were 15 and 11 and were raised by their grandmother in Guatemala. Their mom lived in the U.S. and regularly sent money back home so that the girls could be fed, clothed, and attend school. It was not long before gang members visited their home demanding protection money. The price for their protection eventually surpassed their ability to pay; their grandmother was told her innocent granddaughters would be sold into trafficking to pay the debt. The girls fled, desperately searching for safety. As unaccompanied children, they ended up in our care at Bethany Christian Services where we found their mother and helped them become a family again.
Unaccompanied children entering the U.S. need what all children need—a loving environment where they are cared for and safe. But it can take a few months until they are reunited with their family. That is why Bethany Christian Services offers transitional foster care with help from generous, compassionate families who are willing to care for these children in their homes.
If these sisters fled to the U.S. today, this beautiful reunification may not have happened. Since March 20, the law that was designed to protect children like them has been suspended. Instead, children are being expelled to the country they fled from — back into the arms of those who threatened their lives.
Bethany has been able to help thousands of unaccompanied children stay safe with temporary foster families while working to reunify them with their own families. God designed families for children, and a family can change everything for a child.
I urge you to pray for the children who are denied safety at the U.S. – Mexico border, for the children alone in a refugee camp, and for the families who continue to be kept apart. Pray that our elected officials set policies that protect vulnerable children around the world. Pray for the foster families who are caring for refugee children and that many more will answer the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus for the children who need them. Take heart in the words of Jesus when he took a child in his arms and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
This month’s Prayer Partner message comes from Dona Abbott, Vice President of Refugee Services at Bethany Christian Services.