For our family, the year 2008 began with an intense life and death battle. It was a season filled with uncertain, dark days. And, yet, God’s faithfulness had never been more beautiful.

In the same year, there was another family journeying through a season of life-altering discovery.  God began to give them a deeper understanding as to what it meant to follow Him, with all of their hearts.

We didn’t know them at the time, and they didn’t know us.  And neither of us knew very much about the plight of the orphan, but we knew the One who weaves His purposes together in mysterious ways.      For both of us, this was just the beginning of the story. For both of us, the next chapter of our stories would become a lifelong journey, together.

In God’s grace, and in His own unique ways for our families, our hearts began to awaken to the call of orphan care.  Our friends were just entering the journey of adoption when we met, and we wanted to walk alongside of them. At the same time God was breaking their hearts for the orphan, God was breaking ours for the church’s role in caring for the least of these.

In His Providence, these “breaking” moments led us to the redemptive realization, “Now that we know, we can’t close our eyes and pretend that we don’t.”

One night as I was wrestling with our personal responsibility in the Gospel call to care for the orphan, God graciously led me to a verse that had the year “2000” written boldly beside it, in my own handwriting…a verse that had greatly impacted me as we waited for the arrival of our firstborn sons:

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, a place near your altar, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.” Psalm 84:3.

In this moment, God’s glory and calling was as real as the pages I was staring at before me. I saw how He had been unfolding the words of this verse over the years…and how He wanted to use the words of this verse in our future.

In the Old Testament, sparrows were known to be numerous. And they loved to make their nests in the roofs of the temples, near the altar, the Most Holy Place. These tiny, insignificant creatures have an instinct to build their home.

The sparrow. They are numerous.

The orphan. 153 million, and counting…

The God-given instinct to long for a place to call HOME.

The Altar…the place where we find rest from the weight of the world and loneliness of sin: Jesus Christ

God showed us something else about the sparrow…it was made for relationship.  This was a word that He had pressed into our dear friends’ hearts years before, and here it was again.

A nestling, left alone, will develop an abnormal song.  However, when the baby bird is nestled close with family, it will learn to sing beautifully.   All of this, in the pre-dawn hours of the night.

Whether it’s a physical family, or the family of God (the Church), we are made for relationship.  We are no longer orphans because of our Father God. We sing in our darkest hour because we know the Teacher of the night song.

Our lives, and our callings, have been forever altered.  We hold the vision of Altar84 deep within our hearts, and eagerly listen for the songs of the least of these to rise.

To know more about our vision and our mission, I would consider it sweet grace for you to link here.