LIVING REFRESHED: Spiritual, Relational, Practical Self-Care

The fifth plenary session of the 2024 World Without Orphans (WWO) global conference in Thailand, on 2 March, had the overall theme of “SPIRITUAL/RELATIONAL SELF-CARE”.

The evening session on Saturday included nine speakers. This time, the theme was “living refreshed”, and its focus was to examine the need to build spiritual, relational and practical care into the life of everyone who is involved with ministering among vulnerable children. “As we engage in the process of living refreshed by our relationship with the Lord, we are empowered to continue the journey together”.

The first keynote speaker, Greg Haswell, reminded the participants that there are many lives that depend on the caregiver receiving care for his or her own heart. “I’ve traveled to many nations and have spoken to hundreds of leaders over the past 40 years, and I can tell you that this is the biggest issue they face”, Haswell said. A vital part of what WWO does is to encourage leaders “to serve with the strength that God supplies”, according to 1 Peter 4:11.

With a reference to Gordon MacDonald’s timeless book Ordering Your Private World, the speaker reminded the forum that many leaders tend to prioritize what is urgent rather than what is important. “It is so important for us to seek the Lord, renew our souls and fight for our own peace – or else we’re in danger to fall into compassion fatigue”, said Haswell and added that we are in a marathon, not a sprint.

Next on the program was a panel of three speakers on the topic “How to Live Refreshed”: Sara Vargas, WWO ambassador for Latin America, Sue Austen from Zimbabwe Without Orphans, and Sean Mullens, director of Champion Engagement Love Justice.

“The devil is trying to steal your identity”, said Vargas. “And the Word of God is doing exactly the opposite: it is showing you who you truly are”. No longer slaves of sin, we are now living with a new status as children of God. In the Bible we find our identity, our value, our destiny.

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