Missionary Stories: Royal Family Kids

by Holly DeKorte

If you were asked to describe a “good” childhood, what might you say?  Some of you might mention summer evenings playing catch with a father or mother, afternoons swinging in a hammock and reading a book, baking cookies with a beloved grandmother, splashing in a pool and drying out in the sun, homework help, and nightly prayers with parents.  You might have had such a childhood.  Sadly, many children grow up wondering where their next meal will come from or how they can avoid the next blow from a parent’s hand.  These children have had their childhoods stolen away from them.  It is not good.

All through scripture, God tells us of His heart for the vulnerable, specifically for the widow, the fatherless (orphan), and the sojourner.  God’s law provided specifically for the widow and orphan through granting justice, food, and rights, by forbidding oppression and stinginess and by including the fatherless in the community. (See Deuteronomy 14: 28-29, 16: 10-14, 24: 17-21, and 27: 19). God’s word also promises that He hears the orphan’s cry, He watches over them, and places them in families.  In Psalms 27:10 David declares that though his father and mother have forsaken him, the Lord will take him in.  This is God’s heart: to welcome, love, and father the fatherless.

What does this have to do with stolen childhoods?  Aren’t these verses reflecting the orphan crisis in developing nations? We Americans tend to think of the orphans overseas and we miss the orphans right under our noses: children in foster care.  These vulnerable children face hunger, abandonment, abuse, helplessness, and possible child trafficking.  Christians have the responsibility to involve themselves in orphan care locally and internationally.  God calls His followers to specific good works, not to earn salvation, but to carry out His heart here on earth and to bring glory to God.  Paul puts it this way, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advanced for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10.

Maybe you are hearing God’s call to join Him in caring for vulnerable foster children.  What are some practical steps?  Some of you might consider praying about becoming foster parents. Pathway Family Services is a good place to start: pathwayfamilyservices.org

Others of you might see the need, but might not be able to foster.  Fear not!  There are specific ways to get involved in local orphan care.  Because abuse started in a relationship, it is often repaired in a relationship.  Enter Royal Family Kids (RFK).  This organization began nearly 30 years ago to “help interrupt the cycles of neglect, abuse, and abandonment of children in foster care.”  Royal Family Kids is a worldwide organization that works with the government, businesses, and local churches to provide foster children a week at camp.  It’s more than just a camp. It’s a chance to point children to Jesus, to give them unconditional love, shower them with gifts, and to create a sense of true family. 

The past two summers, I have been a camp counselor.  Counselors are responsible for two children at all times and are partnered with another counselor and two other children to make a cabin group.  Additional staff members standby to offer love and support to anyone who needs it.  My first summer I remember wondering how much of an impact one week at camp actually makes.  That year, the little girls in my cabin taught me the impact.  One girl asked me to braid her hair every day.  I am certainly not the best hairstylist, but she craved a gentle hand that said, “I care.”  Even now when I see her at RFK Club (the year around mentoring program), she says, “I miss that summer when you would braid my hair.”  Another girl, who was sometimes detached, often walked beside me that first year.  One day, I said to her, “You know, there is a song that includes both of our names.”  I sang it to her and she gave me a very quizzical look. One year later, I was sitting with the same girl while she slowly finished dinner and she turned to me and said, “I still remember our song.”  She hummed a few lines of the old English tune and then smiled.  What impact does a week have?  Little moments that seem inconsequential matter greatly.  If little moments matter, then imagine the impact the Gospel has on these young lives.

This year, the Santa Maria camp is June 14th-19th.  Volunteers 18 years and over are needed.  Male and female counselors, photographers, media workers, and prayer partners are in high demand.  For every counselor who attends camp, two foster children are also able to attend.  Home Team positions are available for people who might not be able to get away for a week.  If you love writing letters, your gifts are needed!  The campers receive mail every day from members of the Home Team. 

There is a thorough application, background check and interview process.  For additional information and to begin the application process contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you feel God calling you to minister to orphans through Royal Family Kids, please know that you’ll never be the same.  He will develop and shape you in ways that you could not imagine.  God’s hand and heart is for the fatherless.