Are There Really That Many?

  • February 13, 2012
  • Blog

That’s the question I was asked by the cashier at the grocery store one afternoon while paying for my groceries. I was wearing one of my favorite shirts that reads, 147 Million Orphans. I didn’t realize the cashier had been studying my shirt until I saw the surprised look on her face as she asked, “Are there REALLY that many?”.

Are you shocked that she didn’t know? I wasn’t, because just a few years ago, I had no idea myself, that every night while I’m tucking my children into bed, millions of children around the world are going to bed with out a family, without a mother, without a father. Orphaned.

Are you wondering how I responded to the inquiring cashier? Well, I was so thankful she had asked.  And, of course, I had an answer…but it wasn’t what she thought.  She was even a bit surprised when I responded by saying, “NO”. I explained that there are actually MORE than 147 million orphans and I went on to tell her what I had learned through my personal research on the orphan population.

By the time I had finished, she probably regretted asking me in the first place.  And I’m certain the people in line behind me regretted that she had asked. But NOW the sweet cashier KNEW! And, so did the next lady in line.

Instead of sharing the same speech I gave in the grocery store that day, my friend, Rick Morton, does a much better job. Let me share what he says about the fatherless in the book he co-authored, Orphanology.

“How many orphans are currently living on the earth? It seems like a pretty straightforward question, and you may be surprised by the difficulty in answering it. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are estimated to be between 143 and 210 million orphans worldwide, though this number uncertain. While this estimate is staggering, it likely fails to give a full picture of the scope of the problem. You see, UNICEF only includes children who have lost one or both parents to death in its calculation of the world wide orphan population. While this approach to defining who is an orphan isn’t really wrong, it does fail to account for many of the children who are truly fatherless.

To begin, UNICEF does not take into account the numerous orphaned children whose living parents have abandoned them to institutions or life on the street. These children are no less orphans in a practical sense than those children who have been abandoned may be in more peril than a child who fits the technical UN definition of being orphaned.

UNICEF estimates also do not reflect sold or trafficked children who are living in slavery or orphans living in those countries (mostly Middle Eastern Islamic nations) that fail to report orphan statistics. Truly, we have no way of knowing how many children may be orphaned and unaccounted for in today’s statistics. What we do know is that the numbers of fatherless children are astounding, and we know that God has given Christ followers the mission of caring for them in their hardship.”  -Rick Morton

If you are like me, those numbers are very intimidating. Sad and overwhelming. You may be thinking to yourself, why do I need to know that? Am I really supposed to do something about THAT? The answer is very clear in scripture. YES!   Who’s responsible for these children? If you are a believer, then brother or sister, YOU are. We are! They are OUR responsibility.


Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:17-18

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4

Please join us at the kNOw More Orphans Conference at Hunter Street Baptist Church on March 10, to learn more about the fatherless. You will be inspired by our amazing line up of speakers, including Pastor and Author, Rick Morton. Come and learn what God’s Word says about these precious children. Last of all, come and hear how YOU can change the life of just ONE of the (more than) 147 Million!

Until there’s NO more,