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In Memory of Maria Sue Chapman
Who Will Help the Orphan?
By Steven Curtis Chapman
According to UNICEF, there are 143 million children in the world who have lost one or both parents.
In America alone, there are half a million children in foster care, and approximately 120,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted. In many countries, children are too often orphaned or abandoned because of poverty, disabilities and disease; every 15 seconds, a child loses a parent because of AIDS. These are staggering facts that can seem overwhelming and discouraging, but I believe that God has a loving plan for each child, and that plan is you and me.
Caring for these children is not the job of governments or institutions; instead, it is the job of families, people and communities. As Christians, our compassion is simply a response to the love that God has already shown us. Mother Teresa would constantly remind those who worked with her that the Bible clearly teaches that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. So in a very real sense, caring for orphans is a chance to meet the person of Jesus in "the guise of human suffering." This is an invitation from the heart of God to know him and to experience his love.
Nine years ago, my wife and my eldest daughter, Emily, traveled to Haiti on a mission trip. Having been exposed to extreme poverty for the first time, Emily returned home with a determined passion to make a difference in the lives of at-risk children.
Only 12 years old, Emily went on an all-out campaign to persuade us to adopt. She bought a book on international adoption with her Christmas money and would read it to us regularly. She began fervently praying and writing letters to Mary Beth and me, encouraging us to consider giving a waiting child a home. Emily knew God was leading us in the direction of adoption; however, Mary Beth and I were not yet convinced.
My wife and I had always supported the idea of adoption, and as Christians, we understood the importance of loving and caring for others. But what I had not yet grasped was that adoption is a physical picture of what Jesus has done for me. I did nothing to deserve God's love; in fact, I was living as an orphan, without hope. Yet God chose to pursue a relationship with me, and through the death of his son Jesus, I was adopted into God's family.
My wife and I began moving toward adoption with fear and trembling and asking all the questions people ask. I remember Mary Beth crying herself to sleep at night saying, "What are we doing? I can't do this." However, God kept reassuring us that this was the direction he was leading us. It was a huge journey of faith for us.
In May of 2000, we found ourselves in a hotel room in China's Hunan province, welcoming the newest member of our family, Shaohannah Hope. From that moment, we began our journey into the world of adoption, orphan care and Shaohannah's Hope. iReport.com: Send a video question for Chapman
We went on to adopt Stevey Joy and Maria. Recently, our youngest daughter, Maria, passed from life on this earth and is now safely in the arms of Jesus. We have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support of so many during this time of deep, deep sadness. Through all that we've experienced, one thing we still know is true: God's heart is for the orphan.
A portion of the proceeds from this year's WOW 2009 project will be donated to Maria's Miracle Fund at Shaohannah's Hope. Each purchase will help neglected special needs orphans receive the love, care, and surgeries they need through Maria's Miracle Fund. Order it today!
In our travels to Latin America, Africa and Asia, we have visited many different orphanages. If you look past the surroundings and into the eyes of the children, they all have the same look. They seem to convey, "I don't think this is what I was made for. Where do I belong?"
These children are crying out for the hope of a family, for the hope of community, for the hope of a permanent love. Our mission, and the mission of our adoption charity, Shaohannah's Hope, is to show hope to these children and to mobilize people, families and communities to be living examples of God's love for them.
We started Shaohannah's Hope in order to connect willing families with waiting children, but the reality is that there are many orphans who cannot be adopted. Even though we may not be able to bring them into our homes, we still have the opportunity to show them the hope we have.
If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. If everybody would be willing to simply do something to care for one of these precious treasures, I think we would be amazed by just how much we could change the world.
We can each do something, whether it is donating, adopting, fostering, mentoring, visiting orphans or supporting families that have taken in orphans. You can change the world for an orphan.
Maria's Miracle Fund
In lieu of flowers, the Chapmans request any gifts be directed to Shaohannah's Hope.
Maria's Big House of Hope
Shaohannah's Hope is proud to be nearing completion of this exciting project that will provide love and care for orphans throughout China who are in desperate need of surgeries and special medical attention.
Located in Luoyang, which is in the Henan province and has a population of around 6 million people, this caring facility will be a beacon of hope to the people of China and the world. Henan is one of the poorest provinces in all of China. The state-run Luoyang orphanage takes care of nearly 700 children and ends up with most of the "special needs" orphans from all around Henan.
Maria's Big House of Hope is a 6 story building that will be equipped with everything needed to care for orphans with special needs. Every child in this facility will be 5 years old or younger, and these will represent some of the neediest orphans in China.
An example of one of the finished rooms inside MBHOH "Seeing and experiencing the progress that has been made at Maria's Big House of Hope was entirely amazing. You can see Maria's Big House of Hope from a mile away, and everyone in the community knows about the big, blue building. As we pulled up, a wave of incredible excitement came over me as I realized that God will absolutely be mighty to save in this place."
"Not only will He be mighty to save orphans in whatever way He chooses to, but He will also be mighty to save those of us who have the opportunity to support, and maybe one day visit, Maria's Big House of Hope from missing one of life's purest joys this side of heaven: pouring the love and hope we have received by knowing Jesus Christ out and over the least of these." --Emily (Chapman) Richards, on arriving at Maria's Big House in January '09
- The First Floor - The bottom level will consist of an entrance hall/reception area, office, small exam room, kitchen, laundry room, store room, and accommodations for caretakers to sleep. 24 beds for children are available. The children on this floor have been through surgery, recovered, and are waiting for adoption. On all six floors, the children are divided into family groups of twelve with 3 caretakers looking after them. This allows the children to have more of a home atmosphere.
- Second/Third Floor - The children on these floors are long-term chronic care children who've been saved but are not healthy enough to survive in the orphanage or on their own in any way. Because of their condition they are also not likely to be adopted. They can be cared for up to the age of five. 72 beds are available between floors 2 and 3. Both floors have dining rooms. A room for physical therapy is located here as well.
- Fourth Floor - The fourth floor is dedicated to hospice care for children who are terminal. This floor contains 28 beds. Other rooms include a medical room /intensive care room, main emergency room, and isolation room. Every new child will be brought to the fourth floor to be evaluated, registered, and diagnosed. They will then be sent, depending on how severe their ailments, to the corresponding floor. Robin and Joyce want to make the children as comfortable as possible before they pass. A "DNR" (do not resuscitate) rule is in effect for the fourth floor.
- Fifth Floor - The fifth floor will be the home of the building's operation theater. Rooms for 10-16 children who are coming in from all over China are available for them to stay for before and after surgery. At this facility, only surgeries like minor plastic, orthopedic, and cleft pallet surgery will take place. A training room for incoming staff and an infirmary are also located on the 5th.
- Sixth Floor - The sixth floor is mainly made up of living quarters for long-term staff, visiting medical physicians, and could also allow groups with up to 20 people. The roof will have a playground on top with a sandbox and other fun activities for children to engage in.
By the grace of God, and thanks to donors like you, Maria's Big House of Hope is only a few steps away from being able to open its doors to care for orphans. If you would like to donate to this project, please follow the link below.
Steven Curtis Chapman on The Early Show
Steven Curtis Chapman on Larry King - Part 1
Steven Curtis Chapman on Larry King - Part 2
Steven Curtis Chapman on Larry King - Part 3
Steven Curtis Chapman on Larry King - Part 4
Steven Curtis Chapman on Larry King - Part 5
Steven Curtis Chapman - Yours
Yours - Download it today!
The Chapman Family on Good Morning America - August 6, 2008
Cinderella - Download it today!
Maria's Miracle Fund
Over $700,000 Is Donated To Maria's Miracle Fund!
Shaohannah's Hope announces that to date, over $700,000 had been given to the Shaohannah's Hope's Maria's Miracle Fund in loving memory of Maria Sue. The ministry continues to be overwhelmed and thankful with the prayers and generosity from people all over the world, and there are still not enough words to be able to express the deepest gratitude for these donations. Due to the munificence of these offerings, this ministry continues to give hope and support to orphans around the world to find forever families. Though outpouring of generosity has been incredible, there is still tremendous need. Shaohannah's Hope looks forward to further partnering with donors to change the lives of orphans.
Visit: Shaohannah's Hope
Or by mail: Shaohannah's Hope, c/o Maria's Miracle Fund, PO Box 647, Franklin TN, 37065
About Shaohannah's Hope
Based in Franklin, Tennessee, Shaohannah's Hope is the adoption and orphan care ministry founded by Steven and Mary Beth Chapman. Its mission is to care for orphans by engaging the church and prospective adoptive parents reduce the financial barrier to adoption. Shaohannah's Hope accomplishes this by awarding financial grants to qualified families already in the process of adopting. The size of the grant awarded is determined by several factors, the most important being need. To find out more about Shaohannah's Hope, Maria's Miracle Fund, Maria's Big House, the Change For Orphans campaign, Stevey Joy Club, and much more, please visit http://www.ShowHope.org.
Steven Curtis Chapman and Family
Lifting Up the Chapman Family
"I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me." (Romans 15:30)
Please lift up the Chapman family, specifically praying for:Steven and his community to be good stewards of honoring God, and that they will be message carriers for the good news of the gospel and the hope we have in ChristAll those surrounding the Chapmans who are being attacked on different fronts, that they might be able to take up the shield of faith and extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one, that they might be filled to overflowing with Christ Himself
We welcome you passing this along to others to pray, encouraging them to sign up for weekly orphan prayer updates.
Thank you again for your prayers and support.
Maria Sue Chapman's Memorial Service
Maria's Memorial Service
By Jim Houser, Day-to-day Manager of Steven Curtis Chapman
For those who couldn't be here, I thought I'd share a rundown, the best I can remember it as I was a bit emotional. It was a beautiful and moving celebration of this little girl's life. And in typical Chapman fashion... God was honored, the Gospel was presented, and... It went long. : )
Throughout the service, pictures of Maria were shown on screens above the platform. There were about 2000 people present and the program was just over 2 hours.
Michael W Smith provided a beautiful prelude and then sang "Still" to open the service. Then a prayer of invocation was offered, and a Pastor at Christ Community Church, the family's home church, Scotty Smith called us to worship with a congregation responsive reading of a portion of The Heidelberg Catechism and the question What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Matt Redman, who was in the airport in Atlanta preparing to fly back to his home in the UK when he heard the news of Maria's death, left the airport rather than board his flight and drove to Nashville to serve the family anyway he could. The Chapmans not knowing Matt was in the country had discussed him being a part and we're overwhelmed to hear he was able to be there. Matt led worship along with Christy Nockels singing several songs including two that Redman has written out of his own loss and sorrows, "Blessed Be Your Name," and "You Never Let Go," as well as the hymn "It Is Well."
Then Matt explained that Steven and he had penned a song "Close To Your Heart" a few months ago for a close family friend of the Chapmans just after the loss of their child. Little did Steven know it would bring comfort to him and his own family on this day, as Matt shared it at Maria's service.
One of Shaohannah's Hope's orphan care partners in China, Robin Hill flew in for the service and he offered a prayer.
Then family and friends stood just feet away from Maria's tiny coffin and shared stories about the spunky, adorable little girl. A few here...
Family friend Karen sharing how Maria loved to wash dishes butt naked, and loved when her family "was altogether,"
The unpredictable Mary Beth with a few stories including how Maria loved her nicknames and running the sweet list down,
Family friend Melissa challenging us to live like Maria and love others like she did, not holding back!;
Caleb sharing how he had prayed for God to heal Maria after the accident, and how God did it in a way that he didn't like very much (taking her to heaven) but that he has never been more convinced that Jesus is real,
Miss Meagan, Maria's pre-school teacher, commenting on her love of art, drawing flowers, her classmates and her family,
Emily telling the story of how when she told Maria that Tanner had asked her to marry him that Maria asked her "whacha say?" and Emily went on to challenge us with the picture God gives of how the groom Jesus has asked his bride, us, to marry Him with a relationship through the cross, "whacha say?"
lastly, Steven sharing that Maria had professed Jesus as her Savior and those moments; as well as a moving story from him about how he had asked God to help him see that Maria was safe, and how God showed up. (I'll let him tell it soon)
Next, children in the service brought flowers to Maria's casket as SCC's best friend Geoff Moore sang "With Hope," a song Steven wrote 10 years ago for a family that lost a child, that same family the Mullicans are now walking he and Mary Beth through this now shared tragic experience.
Scotty Smith then took a few precious minutes to challenge us on the Gospel, that Maria's story is our story and we can be adopted into God's family and see Him and Maria at the end of our lives. (I'm not able to do Scotty's words justice)
Tammy Jensen then sang "Jesus I Am Resting, Resting," close family friends mentioned above the Mullicans prayed to close our time. And then the video of "Dishwashin Daddy and "Bellyflop" that has gone around the world was played.
Friends, it was such a difficult, yet sweet time. I urge you now to pray for this family. Be intentional. Set an alarm to go off on the 21st of every month, or anytime you see an SUV let it be a reminder, or whenever you hear a Steven song... whatever you feel is best. As someone who has experienced a difficult loss, some days ahead will be difficult for this family because the rest of the world moves on and forgets. It's very understandable of course. If you can though, remember to keep them in your prayers.
I too echo Caleb and his wise beyond his years comment, after having the privilege to walk with so many of their family and friends next to the Chapmans through this time, I have never been more convinced that Jesus is real, that the Gospel is true. Despite this tragedy that could seem to contradict He is a good and sovereign God, we know the truth that is on the front of Maria's Memorial Service program! That He has plans for us "plans for peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Living Out Loud!
Children's Books By Stephen Curtis & Mary Beth Chapman
Steven Curtis Chapman MP3's
Maria and Steven Curtis Doing the Dishes - Dishwashin' Dad Video
- In Memory of Maria
A special blog set up for you. We invite you to share your condolences here.
- Maria's Miracle Fund
In lieu of flowers, the Chapmans request any gifts be directed to Shaohannah's Hope. You can donate below to give to the Maria's Miracle Fund in memory of Maria Chapman. For donations by mail, send to Shaohannah's Hope, c/o Maria's Miracle Fund, PO B
- Steven Curtis Chapman's Official Site
The Chapman family is so grateful for the incredible outpouring of love and support at this difficult time.
- Chapman Channel
The Chapman family blog.