This post is the first in a month-long series on the Miracle of Dunkirk, a call to all-in, bring-your-boat, daring and courageous orphan care inspired by the But If Not campaign of Sage Harvest Gourmet Jerky. Join the cause to stage the NEW greatest rescue mission in modern history — the Miracle in China.
The task looked impossible.
It was World War II, and the British and their Allied Forces had fought their enemy fiercely. But even despite their best efforts, Germany was advancing rapidly across Western Europe … and had cornered nearly 350,000 troops on the beaches of Dunkirk, France.
The British military knew they couldn’t afford to lose these well-trained troops who had fought so hard for freedom. But they also knew that they didn’t have enough ships to transport such masses of men from France across the English Channel back home.
The magnitude of the crisis was immense. The resources were few. And that’s when British Admiralty called not on the professional warriors.
Not on the well-equipped.
But on the WILLING.
On civilians with boats willing to join their cause.
The idea sounded crazy. The plan, nothing less than absurd. How could untrained, ordinary citizens possibly brave the battle and strikes of German aircraft in unarmored boats to bring home the troops who, without them, had no hope? And why would they choose to?
But 77 years ago this week, on June 4, 1940, the fishing boats, yachts, rinky dink marine craft and civilian vessels fueled completely be grit and determination, most without any military training whatsoever, completed the evacuation of a majority of Allied troops from Dunkirk.
The nine-day evacuation, the largest of its kind in history, saved 338,000 Allied troops from capture by the Nazis.
They called it the Miracle of Dunkirk.
Untrained men and women with fishing boats and pleasure yachts and lifeboats, one documented as small as 14 feet long, courageously battled through mines, bombs and torpedoes with nothing but their courage and their cause to complete the greatest earthly rescue mission of all time.
And to that I say, WHY CAN’T WE?
There’s another crisis, friends, and it, too, is stranding thousands of victims who are hanging on to their very last strand of hope.
They are the 600,000 mostly special needs superheroes waiting for rescue in the orphanages of China.
Without rescue boats, their futures remains bleak.
On their 14th birthdays, they become ineligible for adoption.
At best, they’ll work as nannies in their home orphanages, as labor forces in rural China or live in institutions, where they’ll remain on the outskirts of society. If they’re one of the lucky ones, they’ll partner with organizations like Love Without Boundaries to help them finish high school. They will provide for themselves, raise themselves and wonder always why they were never wanted. Chosen. Adopted.
At worst, they’ll turn to the streets in a country and a culture that, although is changing, has largely not yet made physical, educational or cultural accommodations for superheroes with special and medical needs.
Some will turn to sex trafficking.
An undocumented number will commit suicide.
All of them will grow up with a title that, without a family to call their own, remains with them forever.
A title that one teenager who aged out of the Chinese system said “hurts worse than death.”
This crisis — it looks huge. It looks daunting. It looks nearly impossible to tackle.
Without formal organization and government agencies and documented non-profits and countless NGOs, how do we even touch 600,000 children who desperately need to experience HOPE today?
In life boats.
In fishing boats.
In make-shift rafts and rinky dink ringers that we assemble and launch, not because we’re equipped, not because we know what we’re doing, not because we’re the perfectly trained crew to perform this type of mission … but because there is a NEED. Because Christ, in James 1:27, has given us a CALLING. And because 600,000 tiny warriors wait on the other end of our courage to experience family CARE.
This mission — it may be impossible for us.
But it’s not impossible for the One who is our Rescuer.
And when that Rescuer calls on US — not to save, because salvation is HIS job — but to BE His hands and feet, to BE His ship captain, to get in our tiny boats and sail courageously through stormy waters to pull in the weak and the oppressed and the hopeless and the defenseless, we GET to be part of another miracle.
The Miracle in China.
It doesn’t take government agencies and formal organizations to stage a rescue.
It takes ordinary people leaning on the strength of an extraordinary God willing to set sail with nothing more than Christ and a cause.
Get on board.
Stay tuned next Wednesday for Part 2 of our month-long series, when we’ll be discussing what it means to grab a boat and get on board. You may not be eligible to make an orphan a son or daughter, but that doesn’t mean you’re not eligible to sail a ship. For those who are. For those who need medical care. For birthmothers who need support. For first families who need hope that abandonment is not the only option. So that together, we can prevent the masses from landing on the beach in the first place.