An Orphan’s Plea

An Orphan’s Plea

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9)

Original journal entry written May 28, 2016 at 4 in the morning.

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Margaret with our security dogs, Goodness (L) and Mercy (R) just a few months before this journal entry was written.

I’m supposed to be sleeping, but my mind has chosen to ponder a discussion I had with Moses Menjor yesterday rather than shut down and just sleep.

As part of a specific discussion with Moses about Margaret and her granny, who took Margaret in when she was orphaned, I asked a question about orphans in general, and their treatment as slaves to their adoptive families.  Moses confirmed that much of the time that statement is correct.  He explained that the orphan is not typically legally adopted as a true son or daughter and consequently is not afforded the privileges which come with that relationship, but rather it’s a traditional, tribal adoption.  They are usually treated as a slave, a drudge, doing all the menial, heavy, and distasteful work for the extended family.  Further, they are only clothed in the old cast-offs no longer worn or wanted by the rest of the family.  There is no social safety net for the orphan in Sierra Leone. Except one. 

“The orphan becomes trapped in the situation when he or she doesn’t have a stronger one they can appeal to and say, ‘Oh my uncle,’ or ‘Oh, my auntie, they are abusing me over there!  Will you take me?’” Moses explained to me.  That one statement now played over and over in my mind and is the foundation for this lesson which the Lord showed me that sleepless night.  This is a powerful picture of my own adoption in Christ, and that of anyone who will call to Him in faith (Romans 10:13).  “I am being abused. Will You take me?”

We all are orphans wandering through the uncertainties of life.  Our parents, Adam and Eve, brought sin and death into the world on the day of their disobedience.  For long generations we have all been abused at the hands of the world, the flesh, and the devil; slaves to sin, wretched, miserable, and clothed in the filthy rags of our own iniquity (Isaiah 64:6).  But there is One stronger to whom I may make my plea. 

“Oh my Lord!  Oh my Heavenly Father!  I am being abused.  Will you take me?  May I find refuge under your strong arm?”  Such a beautiful illustration of  the redemption Jesus offers found right in their own culture.

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Post Script:  Margaret had indeed come to appeal to us as the “stronger ones” who could rescue her from her life as a slave girl.  Many times I have personally witnessed the abuse she endured.  But the cultural nuances are complicated and after much prayer and careful consideration, along with counsel from Moses and other locals, we decided it best to not adopt her, not in a legal sense, nor a traditional, tribal sense.  It was a hard decision but we believe it was best for all involved, including Margaret who was nearing 17 and very rebellious at the time this journal entry was originally written.  

It was only after we took an interest in Margaret that her granny (to use their own word for grandmother) began to make sure she was clean and better clothed for Sunday school.  She realized it didn’t look good for Margaret to be seen with us in her typical orphan attire. We sometimes helped with clothing but would seldom see Margaret wearing what we had given her, other members of the family having laid claim to it. You may read more about the plight of orphans here in my first post about Margaret.  More posts directly related to this little orphan girl may be found under the category “My Fair Margaret.”   I have hopes of working long distance with Moses to make a small Illustrated Evangelism booklet using this very topic.  

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