This is Post 2 of 4 telling the stories of staff members at The Global Orphan Project. You can read the first post, which tells the story of The GO Project’s founders, Mike and Beth Fox, here.
Adrien Lewis knows many friends and co-workers whose hearts broke for the orphan the first time they made a trip overseas and saw the poverty so many children lived in. That wasn’t Adrien’s story, however. The first time he felt true passion for the orphan’s plight was in 2011, two years after he had joined The Global Orphan Project team. Rather than an overseas trip, it was a class to become a certified foster parent that broke his heart.
“They were talking about the brutal reality of these kids’ lives that are in my community…and it jacked me up. It was the first time my heart actually bled for the orphan,” Adrien explained.
Since that time, Adrien and his wife, Cynthia, have opened their home to seven foster children, and Adrien has become the president of The GO Project’s U.S. orphan care division. The best part of his job is getting to see people’s lives transformed by God through foster care and adoption.
Adrien is no stranger to life transformation, as he has had a front row seat to watching God transform his own life during the last 15 years. For the first 25 years of his life, he went through the motions of faith, and his life looked pretty good from the outside. But, in his own words, he still had “no clue about Jesus.”
All of that changed when his daughter was born. The first time he saw her, he was overwhelmed by a sense of his own sinfulness in comparison to her innocence. “My self-righteous I-can-do-anything-I-put-my-mind-to attitude was completely shattered,” he said.
He began truly seeking Jesus for the first-time in his life and decided to be re-baptized as a sign of his commitment. During his baptism, he received a very strong message from God: “Forevermore, Adrien, know that this is real. I never want you to doubt that this is real.”
Since then, he hasn’t doubted his faith, but it has not been easy. At the time of his baptism, his inner-self was being renewed, but his outer life was falling apart. He and his wife had married young for the wrong reasons, and the realization that neither one of them could meet the other’s expectations led to a painful divorce.
“For about six months, I was pretty ticked off [at God],” he said. “I stopped going to church. I basically unplugged from life. I had no accountability.”
He began pursuing relationships with other women but had very little luck. “God protected me and didn’t allow me to destroy myself, even though that was what I was after.”
Finally, he had a conversation with a friend, who said, “So what have you been doing lately, Adrien?”
He replied, “I’ve been chasing women.” As soon as those words left his mouth, he felt the weight of conviction and realized, This isn’t who I am.
During the next weeks and months, God began to draw Adrien back to Himself and also led him to Cynthia, the woman who would become his wife.
“It has been an amazing life transformation over our last eight years of marriage,” Adrien said. “My wife is God’s helpmate for me. He is redeeming brokenness in both of us, and he is using us as a tool of redemption in brokenness in many other people…. Part of that is a willingness to be transparent and to let God use our mess to help other people heal.”
Adrien and Cynthia went on their first vision trip to Haiti through The GO Project in 2007, and both had significant God experiences there. They remained involved with The GO Project for the next two years, and in 2009, Adrien was asked to come on board as staff.
At that time, his company was doing extremely well. “I was making crazy stupid money, and my company was growing. As a business development guy, this is the kind of environment you dream about…I had no desire to do anything else.”
However, he met with three close friends to discuss the opportunity and to ask them for advice. When he asked one of them to pray for clarity, his friend said, “Adrien, I’m not going to join you in praying for clarity. I want you to pray for conviction.”
Shortly after that conversation, Adrien was overwhelmed with the conviction that he was comfortable, and fear of giving up his comfort was the only thing holding him back from The GO Project. Knowing the pursuit of comfort was a lie, he decided to join The GO Project.
At the beginning of January 2010, he informed his company that they would need to replace him by April of that year. Less than two weeks later, on January 12, 2010, the ground shook in Haiti with a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The very next day, Adrien was on a plane on his way to Haiti.
His role at The GO Project has only grown since then – first through stewarding relationships with families and church partners in the U.S. and now through overseeing the U.S. orphan care division of The GO Project.
The challenges are many, and sometimes it seems like opposition is waiting around every corner. However, Adrien has come to expect and accept that as part of his ministry experience.
“If the orphan is so close to God’s heart, don’t you expect that the Enemy is going to try and mess up our plans?” Adrien asked. “As glorious as it is to watch people’s lives transform, there is an equal amount of pain in that process. But we have said, ‘Yes, we will fight that battle.’”
Have a question, comment, or encouragement for Adrien? Click here. To see the needs he has listed as prayer requests, click here. To give to the GO Project, click here, or shop at their one-of-a-kind global boutique here.