The goal of The James 1:27 Project is to twofold:
- To serve widows in practical and tangible ways
- To raise money to assist a family in the process of adoption
James 1:27 states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” There are some passages in the Bible that are hard to interpret; this is not one of them. James is one of the most practical books in all of Scripture and James 1:27 is a verse that is pretty much self explanatory. We know that salvation comes by faith alone in Christ alone. (Eph. 2:8-9) We also recognize that we live in light of the gospel of Christ which means that our lives are now a reflection of his grace. James calls us out of routine religion and into a gracious service to the hopeless for the glory of God. We tend to think we are at the top of the religious ladder when we are serving others and doing good for those less fortunate. Yet James says that serving those less fortunate is where we begin in our religious activities. He seems to make the point that grace shines where the hopeless are served. James states that a system of belief that leads us to serve others is “pure and undefiled before God.” This is the desire of The James 1:27 Project. We want to offer help to widows and give hope to orphans.
How it Works:
Offering Help to Widows: Widows are typically an overlooked segment of our society and our churches. They are typically quiet when in public and will rarely share a need with others. Some widows can go years in need of house repairs or in need of yard work without anyone knowing. Yet God says that the basic function of being saved by grace is serving widows. One goal of The James 1:27 Project is to serve widows in practical and tangible ways. The point man or woman of the project will identify widows in the community that are in need of basic home repair or yard work. The goal of the work is to make a widow’s life better either by making her proud of her yard or by fixing a problem that may not otherwise get fixed. The work will not be overbearing for volunteers and will be something that the whole family can be involved in. In some cases young children can bake cookies for the widow and spend time visiting with her while the adults are cleaning up the yard or making repairs. The point is that there will be something for everyone in the project.
Offering Hope to Orphans: The second part of James 1:27 commands us to, “visit orphans in their affliction.” Most of us cannot imagine what it is like to be an orphan. We cannot picture children being left in a bed with no one to comfort them when they cry. It is hard for us to grasp children wearing clothes that are three times larger than they need because that is their only outfit. We cannot see the hopelessness of their life and the fact that 80% of the orphans in Russia will wind up in crime, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, prison, and even suicide. The truth is that there are 750,000 infants and children in Russia who face this future if someone does not come for them. As believers we can do something about this problem. As a team member for The James 1:27 Project you will be raising money to help a family bring one of these orphans home. When you join the team you will be a part of making the statistics 750,000 minus 1. As a team member of The James 1:27 Project you will send letters to family and friends describing The James 1:27 Project and your involvement in it. The letter will be provided for you and will describe how the Bible teaches us to look after orphans and widows in their distress and how you will be doing both through this project. You will be serving a widow and helping to bring an orphan home. The letters will ask for support for your service in The James 1:27 Project. The support can come in any size from $10 – whatever amount they desire to sponsor you with. All of the donations go directly to assist a family in bringing an orphan home.
What to Expect:
The James 1:27 Project will be a family event. It will be an opportunity for your family to serve together and make a difference as family. It will take hard work and a commitment to follow through with the project but in the end will be worth it.
A tentative schedule for The James 1:27 Project:
- Thursday October 6th 2011, 6:00pm, envelope stuffing party. We will gather for a night of fun as we discuss The James 1:27 Project and focus on providing hope for an orphan. We will have a time of testimony and will stuff envelopes with support letters for the project. The food, envelopes, and letters will be provided. You will be responsible for bringing addresses to place on the envelopes.
- Saturday October 22 2011, 8:00am – 5:00pm, project day. On the day of the project we will have everything in place for the day. We will gather at the church for a time of prayer and head out to the project site. We will spend time during the day working on the specific project as well as visiting and helping the widow in whatever way is needed. We will have already worked out what you and your family will be doing before the project day. The goal is to work out the project details before the envelope stuffing party on Oct. 6th.
We understand that life is busy and everyone may not be able to participate in the project for the full day. This is completely understood and should not keep you and your family from participating within the time that you are able. We appreciate any and all of the help that you are able to provide.
Your prayer for this project:
Please pray about you and your family’s involvement in The James 1:27 Project. This is a simple yet unique project that provides help for widows and hope for orphans. It will take hard work and an intentional focus when it comes to creating a list of support letter addresses. The hard work will be worth it when we see the smile on a widow’s face and when we walk into the Russian orphanage to bring an orphan home. It will be worth it when we watch an ex-orphan grow up within our church knowing that we were a part of him or her being rescued from a life with no hope. It will also be worth it when our children point to a child and have the opportunity to say that they were a part of bringing that child home.
Our prayer for you:
Our family takes the call to adopt a child very seriously. We have struggled with the faith needed to see the process through because it is very tedious and very expensive. It absolutely consumes our lives and it is never far from thought or conversation. It is an honor and privilege to be able to rescue an orphan and provide him or her with a home and a family that will give love and hope. We pray that you will be drawn closer together as a family and in your service to God. We pray that this will not just be another duty filled project that you feel obligated to be involved with. We pray that it will be filled with joy as you offer help to widows and offer hope to an orphan.