“God is the Father of orphans”… I was moved to tears reading Edward Lual Deng’s testimony of God’s faithfulness and care.

Edward in 2006

Edward in 2006

Both of his parents died of unknown diseases when he was very young—and as a small child he was so grief-stricken he thought he should take his own life—for where can an orphan go for help in a warzone?

But the elders in the area advised him to “take courage as a man” (at 8 years old) and he decided to accept their advice.

That year, his uncle heard about former “lost boy” James Lual Atak sacrificially taking care of orphans, and he took Edward to New Life Ministry (NLM). 

 Edward writes: “When I arrived [at NLM], things were not like they are because there was no fence, not enough text books, good teaching as now, dormitories and hand pumps.  Now, I am very grateful because I got good qualified teachers who can teach me very well, enough food, good dormitories.  I have come to realize that God is more powerful. I believe that God is the Father of orphans.” 

Edward Lual Deng 11 (2).JPG

Today and because of your partnership, Edward has graduated from our high school program and has a bright future ahead of him!

This note is personal:

I have been a missionary for the past 34 years, ministering with those who have been abused, exploited and abandoned.  I have heard countless stories of trauma and betrayal, and served as a shoulder to cry on for many who are “motherless/fatherless children.” I’ve had to deal with my own experiences and feelings of alone-ness in this life-journey.   

I’m approaching my 70th birthday next year, and anticipating a return to live in the USA after nearly 4 decades abroad. Recently, I’ve been receiving letters letting me know that I “have to draw down on retirement funds” that have been sitting in IRA’s since my teaching years before my missionary career. Honestly, I had forgotten about these little accounts, and was surprised and beyond grateful that they have matured and will enable me to make a down payment to buy a small condo (the first home I’ve ever owned!) that I hope to share with vulnerable women in the US. 

In my home country, I would not be considered rich by any standards—but having lived abroad and traveled the world in my role as a global consultant, I realize that I am rich beyond measure in contrast to most populations. Words that Edward also wrote pierced my heart: “I believe in Isaiah 58:7-9 which says that share food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless and poor.  Give clothes to those who have no clothes to wear.”  These words made it clear to me that I have a responsibility to share from the abundance that God has provided for me, and so I have tithed (given 10%) of these retirement funds to Lift Up The Vulnerable (LUV).

And so I present a challenge of love to you: 

As 2019 comes to a close, would you be willing to join me in making sure that the MOST vulnerable of our world, are provided with HOPE for the future through housing, food, education—AND knowing Jesus?  Would you consider giving even a small part of a bonus, a maturing IRA or other fund—or taking advantage of a tax deduction to offer Hope for the future to these precious “little ones” who Jesus loves so very much?    

This year-end, LUV has needed to raise over $400,000 to continue providing quality care in our anti-trafficking network. These resources help us offer life-saving care to lift up the most vulnerable that includes education, housing, security, food, discipleship, medical care, and lots of love. 

Because of many generous partners support and sacrificial giving we only have $100,000 of our goal left to raise! 

 Please join me today in extending love to lift up the most vulnerable in our world AND your gifts will be matched by a generous donor IF they are received by Dec. 31, 2019.

 Learn more about the IRS standard for your IRA Required Minimum Distributions.

Thank you, thank you, for your continued support, caring and prayers for the vulnerable children and women of Sudan and South Sudan!

May this Christmas season be one of a new awareness of the significance of “Christ Among Us”, and “God the Father of orphans”…

With LUV,

Rev. Lauran Bethell

Board Member, Lift Up the Vulnerable

Global Consultant, Responses to Human Trafficking

International Ministries, ABC/USA