I am so grateful for all the love and support I have received since Mark died on March 9th. Clearly this is not easy, but I also ask you to remember that we do not grieve as those without hope. God’s got this. Over these months I have been trying to figure out what “this” is until my soul moves on. I have been bouncing around a couple of ideas, and, to be truthful, some days I decide to just sit down and not move. That only lasts a few minutes. Those who know me understand I am incapable of sitting for long, unless it is on a bike. I have tiled, built shelves, worked with the Lar, consulted on orphanage care, spoken to small groups and completed my doctoral certificate in International Family and Community Studies through Clemson. But for a while I was floundering a bit regarding the future.
Mark’s last prayer with me was that he glorify God in death, and I glorify God in life. No pressure there! I have sought God’s guidance regarding what He wants from me, specifically. What does He think I can contribute? What do I want to contribute? Who am I to be?
First, I am to look for wisdom and knowledge from God. Proverbs 2 makes it clear. I am to call out for insight and to cry aloud for understanding. I am to trust the wisdom He gives and seek for His knowledge. Then I will understand what is right and just and fair- and know the path He wishes me to travel. I am also to seek godly counsel (Psalm 37:30-31). I have spoken with leaders, friends and family, and to a person they have approved of what I hear God calling me to do. I am done floundering.
Having started and helped lead an orphanage for 17 years in an emergent country, my passion is clear: orphan care. I would like to come alongside and help emergent and third world orphanages improve. The fact is, the orphan crisis is growing, yet at the same time there is a global anti-orphanage movement. Unbelievably, Unicef, Save the Children and Lumos use words like “incarceration” and “liberation from orphanages” to describe ALL orphanages and insist they must be shut down. However, depending upon context and culture, new studies out of Duke University, the University of Helsinki and Clemson University show that children raised in an intentional orphanage like the Davis Lar often have more success than those raised in kin care or foster care. Furthermore, international adoption has dropped 72% since 2005. In poor countries where kin care, foster care and adoption are not viable options, closing orphanages simply places these children back on the streets and at increased risk. What can I do to help?
1) Be a voice! Stand up for real statistics, not propaganda. Add to the research.
2) Create intentional Christ-based programs for third-world orphanages. Come alongside them so they can do a great job with limited resources.
3) Rally churches, countries, and global institutions to face the problem instead of ignoring it. We need all the tools we can get in order to help these kids.
I can do exactly these things in Christ’s name! I can be a voice for the orphan. I can come alongside those who idealistically say they want to start an orphanage and train them realistically. I can continue to create low cost programming and training that I will offer to emergent and third world orphanages. And that is what God is calling me to do.
Mark would crack up. When we came home from Brazil I said I was done with missions. Tired. Well, Mark Anderson, your legacy lives on! Now here is what I plan to do:
1) Pursue a doctorate. I have a master’s from Clemson in Youth Development. I have completed a doctoral certificate in International Family and Community Studies. I am applying for the PhD program at Clemson in FCS. My research specialty: orphanage care. (Who’d of thunk it! Sort of obvious….)
2) Write a book on “So You Want to Start an Orphanage.” Also, consolidate and write out my training material for orphanages to use.
3) Train North American missionaries going into the field to work in orphan ministry, whether in foster care or creating an orphanage.
4) Travel to train emergent and third-world orphanages in Christ centered caregiver skills, youth resilience training, and youth vocational counseling. I currently have invitations to Nepal, Haiti, and back to Brazil where I will also conduct research.
5) Participate in ACTION’s Children in Crisis ministry, assuring that our own missionaries have the training and programs they need.
I have been invited to remain a full-time missionary with Action International Ministries. (Seriously, Mark would be flashing me a sly grin right about now.) I will be based in the US but the ministry will have a global impact. Some have said it is difficult to support missionaries not “out there” like we were at the Lar, but for every missionary in the field, support personnel are needed in order to equip them to do the best they can for others.
In order to fulfill this calling, I have a few needs. I am blessed that Mark had a small Teamster’s pension, and we own our home. I can take care of the basics — better said, God has taken care of me. I am still in need of funds for health insurance, research/doctorate, printing fees for materials to share, and travel in order to go teach/train others. Your continued support will be appreciated! If that is your intention, please let me know so I can budget. (Click here for more info.)
Thank you for all your prayers and continued support for me during these months. If you are interested in a speaker specializing in orphan care, give me a call!!
God bless you! Paige
(Some proof of positive outcomes in Brazil! DL boys all grown up)