MARLENE ALLEN's Mission Blog

Praying for the Fatherless

On November 13, 2016 people around the world will be praying for the fatherless on Orphan Sunday. This prayer guide is intended to stir our hearts for the fatherless and prompt us to action. Would we dare ask God to give us His heart for the orphans?

7 Days of Prayer for the Fatherless

DAY ONE – Pray for the fatherless in your community. Ask the Lord to protect them, care for them and to defend them. Pray Psalm 10:17-18. “Defender of the orphans, You know the hopes of the helpless… listen to their cries and comfort them… bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.

DAY TWO – Ask God to ‘turn the hearts of the  fathers and mothers toward their children’. Malachi 4:6 Pray for mothers or fathers who might be having trouble caring for their children and feel they need to give them up or abandon them.  Ask the Lord to give them the resources needed  to take care of their children. Ask for jobs, business ideas and witty inventions to create income.

DAY THREE – Ask the Father to set the lonely in families. Psalm 68:5-6  Pray specifically for families in your community who may be in the process of caring for orphans through kinship care, foster care, adoption or residential care. Ask for God’s provision for all of their needs; physical, emotional, and spiritual. Ask the Lord to show each of us how we can help.

DAY FOUR – Pray that God would break the hearts of the pastors in Thailand with the plight of the orphan. Ask God to provide our church leaders with resources,  courage and a strong team to support them as they seek to live out James 1:27 “Pure and lasting religion is the sight of God our Father means that we care for the orphans and widows in their troubles”.

DAY FIVE – Pray that God, the Defender of the Orphan, will rise up and secure justice for the oppressed. Isaiah 1:16-17 ‘seek justice’ Ask the Lord to burden the lawmakers in Thailand so that they will feel compelled to protect and provide for the orphans. Ask the Lord for reformation in the education system until we see quality schools in every village.

DAY SIX – Ask the Lord to help your church demonstrate His love for the orphans. ”Ask for forgiveness for Christians who forget the orphans and forget to heed 1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Ask the Lord to stir hearts until the church becomes the answer for the orphans.

DAY SEVEN – Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith and resolve of the Christians working in orphan care reform. Pray that they will have clarity as they share God’s heart for the orphan and  the family with church leaders, government leaders and NGO’s. As in Proverbs 21:9 more will arise to be a voice for the children until we see a Thailand Without Orphans. Let it be so, Lord Jesus.

Well-meaning but Damaging Visits to Orphanages


The above picture is the only one I can think of to

introduce what I want to share with you today.   

        Have you ever visited an orphanage or have hopes of doing so one day? For those of us who have, it really was a moving experience. The children were usually very receptive to visitors. Even if our visit was only for one week it ended up being life changing for us. Some of us even made promises to return because we felt we could make a difference there. The children loved us. We even touched Heaven together as we prayed and worshipped. We made them smile. They cried when we left and our hearts were bonded for life.
This is usually how a visit to an orphanage goes but there is a sad part that needs to be revealed. We were usually the only ones who came away feeling good about the visit. In reality … we could have only fed into the already unhealthy emotional life of an orphan. Hear me out before you stop reading.
I started a children’s home and we were so excited to see the visitors. It meant a lot of work to prepare for the teams but we loved it. We prepared special food that even the children did not eat because it was too expensive. We prepared excursions to give them an incredible cultural experience and put on a show to display our talents. We allowed them to interact with the children and when they left the children cried like babies. Then a month or two later another team would come through and the cycle was repeated.
There were only a few children on the property who did not cry. Some might have questioned the emotional coldness of these few but in reality they were probably the healthiest ones. Wasn’t it strange that these other children allowed the visitors to hold them on their first encounter with them. Wasn’t it strange that they even wanted to sit in their laps by the second day? A healthy child takes days  to warm up to such intimate contact.
You see what we experienced on practically every team visit was another disappointment for children who were already struggling with what is called an attachment disorder. One of the symptoms of an attachment disorder is the ability to develop unnaturally close bonds with strangers.The attachment to the original caregivers for this child, birth parents, had been interrupted. Because it is critical that children form a strong bond with a primary caregiver for their cognitive, social and emotional development the staff of children’s homes try their best to form these bonds. This process is hindered when loving, good hearted people show up for a week or two and then go about their lives.
What are we to do? No longer send teams to the orphanages? Not by any means. Don’t get me wrong. Many of them carry the Word of the Lord for that season in the children’s lives. Lives are being touched by incredible teams filled with God’s love but we now need to help these children set healthy boundaries with strangers. We can volunteer more in programs like English, sports, life skills and activities. We can bring what we carry to help equip the long term workers, the staff. We can assist with websites, gardening and other hands on projects. And we can pray that the healing process is completed in every child.
Some orphanages do not accept visits from ‘non-stakeholders’ and this is upsetting to those who send teams world-wide. My only question for them is, “Who is this about anyway?”
        As an advocate for orphan reform this is what I get to talk with people about. Would you join me as I bring more conversations like this to the table to see orphan care reformed in Southeast Asia? 
May the cry of the orphan always be in our ears and their names in our mouths as we pray.


(more info on the picture above can be found at

Confessions of an Orphanage Founder

I am thankful for a God who takes us into deeper revelations of His heart season by season. What was done and said years ago changes because today we know more and are held accountable for that knowledge. That is what I feel about orphan care.

In 1999 our small family moved to the hills of Northern Thailand to serve the neglected, abandoned and orphaned children of that area. By 2001 we had bought land and built Kid’s Life Children’s Home. Although our aim was to work with local pastors to find the children to fill the home, word soon got around that the foreigners were taking children into their home. It was then that the children began arriving . Some were relatives of local Christians and one set of twelve children were driven in the back of a pickup truck for more than twelve hours to reach us. Within only a few short weeks we had more than 40 children ranging in ages from three years of age to fifteen.

Before I bring on the confession I do want to say that the children’s home was a good work at the time. Lives were changed. Hearts were transformed. Children came to know the love of the Father and began to experience his Presence, protection and provision. For those who have visited you got to experience it for yourself. The blessings of the Lord were evident everywhere. It was a glorious season. But…there were too many areas not attended to. Knowing what I know today I would say, “If you are thinking about starting an orphanage, DON”T”. Allow me to explain why.

We had built an orphanage to help the poor, orphaned, abandoned children of the area and were eager to fill it. The stories were heartbreaking  but…. were there other options for the children? Were the stories completely truthful? Our home was meant for the ‘true orphan’ without parents. How did we end up with so many who had a living parent or relatives who could have cared for them? Why did it never occur to me to ask, “What can I do to help you keep your child/relative stay with you?”

Now for a few of their stories(names have been changed);

– Sap was living on construction sites with his mother. He was ill and in need of medical attention.

– Plan’s mother had remarried after the death of her dad and the new stepdad was obviously annoyed at Plan’s presence in the family.

– Thoy’s mother was dead and his Dad and grandmother could not care for him.

      There were dozens of stories like these, all which moved out hearts to action. “Why, of course we can help. Just fill in these forms and leave the children with us.”

We took Sap into our home. What about his mother? Surely there was something we could have done for this homeless woman.  Sap needed hospitalization for weeks in Chaing Mai three hours away and we did not go find his mother to stay with him. Our staff took care of it. He was ours now. Sap recovered and continued to live at our home. His mother visited a few times over the years. He lived a healthy life until 10 years later when he began experiencing excruciating headaches. Where was his mother then? Did we turn every corner looking for her? Within a few weeks he was gone. She did come to the funeral but I remember how she was not given a place of honor by those in charge. This was still her child!!!!! Very early in our relationship with this family we, as a staff, had taken ownership and denied this homeless woman honor and dignity as Sap’s mother. What a travesty! Father, forgive us!

      Plan moved into our home as well. The local pastors had informed us of her plight but why did we not come alongside the pastors as they cared for this family? How different it could have been for this young girl to spend the next few years with her mother and little brother instead of the last few hours of her mother’s life a few years later. We could have still been involved in her life and helped with parenting skills or addressed the skills needed when there are step children and natural children. Rather than help we removed the child from her home and culture. Father, forgive us!

      Thoy was evidently loved by his father and grandmother. So what if they were poor! So what if he was dirty! What could we have done to keep this family together? Poverty cannot be the determination as to whether a child enters an orphanage but it has been in too many cases. One of the grievances against orphanages is that we create orphans. Families gladly allow their children to live in orphanages for the ‘better life’. Why could we not see that the ‘better life’ for Thoy was being with people he knew and loved’ while we just played the role as provider of school fees or other basic needs? What small business could we have helped Dad start thus providing more finances for the family? Father, forgive us.

Yes, there are a few who did not have safe places to live and our home was necessary but for too many this was not the case. My heart grieves over this and the rest of the stories. We did what we knew to do but today we can do better. It is a new day!

Today I firmly agree with the global conversation regarding family based programs for orphans. Organizations are now working alongside governments creating programs to help strengthen the families and thus keeping the children with relatives and in their culture. These programs then allow access to the whole family which is the core of the communities. Strengthening the family results in a stronger community.

Most of the grievances against this new family based care for orphans come from those who have supported or made their livelihood from the orphanages. “But I like visiting the orphanages”…”But where will I work?”…”But I bring teams here every year?”… “Why would I give my money for a family to take care of their own relative?” Hmmmm!!!! Outside of adoption an orphan is an orphan even when they have found a place to live. And who is this all about anyway?  We still get to participate with what the Father God is doing and live up to the mandate in the Bible to care for the fatherless and the widow when we support family based programs.

Thumbs up for the many orphanages who have transitioned children back to their relatives. And thumbs down to the hundreds of orphanages run by churches worldwide for profit. They do not want to hear this new conversation. People donate to orphanages, not church planting programs so many use the plight of the fatherless for gain. How far is this from the Bible’s mandate to care for the fatherless? Lord, we stand here asking for forgiveness.

So, if you are thinking about building an orphanage, I would say, “Tread on carefully”. Be informed of the injustices of the past and present. Be aware of the fact that it takes tremendously less money to support children to live with their relatives than in an institution. And honestly ask yourself the hard question of “Who is this for, really?”

For incredible reading see 


My New Assignment in Southeast Asia!

Ready for the New

“Cherish the Old – Embrace the New …”



This was the word I received from the Lord when I arrived in Chiang Mai two months ago. There were many questions about what I would be a part of during this season for which I had no answers. The only thing I did know was the NEW was here! Would I allow myself to venture into unchartered waters or would I just take the easy road by settling into the old. It’s all good work, right? But when the Word of the Lord came I had my answer. There is MORE!

As I sought the Lord my heart still heard the cry of the orphan but it was not the same cry as before. One evening I read this in a CBN news report – More than 500 orphanages dot the countryside in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai province – a huge number for this region of 1.5 million people.

Stunned by the numbers it led me to more research. It is estimated that only 80% of these children need to be in these institution type facilities. Most have family who could help. The conversation went on to  say, “orphanages create orphans”. Parents are willing to give up their children to get the better education and lifestyle afforded them in the orphanage.

…Wait! I founded one of the 500! We helped a lot of children. The more I read the more my heart broke – it was the beginning of a paradigm shift for me. I soon found myself applauding all the new programs available to families to keep them together. My heart is stirred to see the church pursuing  ways to strengthen the biological, foster and adoptive homes. Instead of investing in brick and mortar  we get to invest in the family which is the government of Heaven. 

While praying with a friend about this, a message came in from a lady I met four years ago. She was  inviting me to participate in a forum with the organization World Without Orphans. Their platform is to encourage the Body of Christ to provide family based programs for orphans rather than institutions. What????? Within 48 hours my registration was entirely paid for and I was beginning to …See With New Eyes. I embrace the NEW that God is bringing. Will you invest in me as I become an advocate for the fatherless?


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Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!  We will be celebrating half a day ahead of most of you and eating CHICKEN. (There is a health ban on turkeys from America.)

When we gather for this holiday it is customary for us to share what we are most thankful for.  Typically that includes family, friends, good food, a home, and/or health. What’s on your list for this year?

As I look around my Asian Garden I know that many of the people in Southeast Asia wish they could give thanks for a country to call their own. They are just some of the millions around the world who live in a place of statelessness. They have no legal connection to a country and therefore no access to basic rights of protection, voting and more. They do not exist.

Our family has lived with the awareness of these people because of our own, Moses. He was born to a migrant worker in a country that did not infer the basic right of citizenship to all newborns.  He was allowed to be adopted but has not been free to travel or change his name after his adoption. We are thankful to almost be at the end of this journey but for so many others the end is nowhere in sight. These are the ones who are vulnerable to smugglers and traffickers. How do you report someone missing who does not exist?

It is estimated that 12,000,000 people across the globe are stateless. The United Nations has worked on the issue for decades but people still get caught in this blackhole  because of migration, divorce, gender discrimination, boundary changes and more.

So, as we give thanks this year let’s add the to the list our citizenship in Heaven as well as in our home countries. Would you also pray for the millions who cry out daily for a country to call this own?  May they find their home here and their eternal home there!

May I be so bold as to plead with you for prayer investment?  I need both a financial team and a committed prayer team.  Grateful that I can call upon you, 


All gifts toward my work with the people of Southeast Asia should be sent to: Missions Alumni 1503 Main St #285 Grandview, Missouri 64030 with a note for Marlene Allen.

Additionally, you can make secure donations online at Click on “Donate Now” near the bottom of my homepage. THANK YOU for your generosity towards me and the people of Asia.

Waiting for the open doors!

Years ago I received this song from Heaven – To every waiting heart the answer will come. To every waiting heart the answer will come, if we wait on Him, if we trust in Him….

That is where I am today. One by one the opportunities come and I trust Him to lead the way. Please pray for the following:

  • Last week in the store I met up with an old friend who has a home that supports women with HIV/AIDS. She has the Candlestick City book and wants me to come spend time with the group to minister the truths of the book. Yes!!!!! it has been years since I have told the story in Thai so I have a little studying to do before this Wednesday morning.
  • Candlestick City event is planned for Friday, October 30th at my home in Chiang Mai. Young families are invited to join me as I read the story and lead them in discussing some of the many power points of the story.
  • I have been in communication with another black missionary who has invited me to speak at a conference in Chicago next month. They are willing to pay to change my ticket so I can arrive a week earlier than my planned trip to Redding. They want to awaken Black youth to missions. I am researching this but is seems as though out of 30,000+ missionaries only about 200 are African American. The numbers were higher but I am saddened by the reasons for the decline. More about that later. This stirs me!!!!!
  • I will be ministering to the young people from four orphanages on November 7th about their gifts and callings. These young people have much to offer the world and I count it a privilege to stir up the gifts in them.
  • I will be ministering to the children of the local YWAM community on November 14th but I am also more excited about the teenagers who will be helping me. They all have a history with me and are excited to hear more. I love the hungry ones!!!

To every waiting heart the answer will come! 

Investing in a New Season


I have been drawn back to a land filled with palm trees, sweet mangoes and tangerine clad monks. It is here that I sense God saying, “There’s more.”

Dear Friends,

Sixteen years ago our family of four left the comforts of American living with dreams of making a difference in Thailand, the land filled with smiles. There was no solid plan and yet you, our incredible friends and family, encouraged us to obey the call of God.

Since then we have lost count of the number of lives who have encountered a loving Father through the doors that were opened. Whether it was Kid’s Life Children’s Home, the ministry to street children, the worship conferences for the orphans of Myanmar, youth worker conferences, Thai churches or the local international school for missionary kids, we were able to bring His light, His love and His life to the hungry ones. 

Now here I am, again in this beautiful land, feeling much stronger and better equipped for this new season with cultural knowledge coupled with Thai language skills. My welcomed return here has been amazing and the opportunities are endless.

Through your years of enabling, plants have emerged in many places and I am here to not only water those seeds previously sown but to plant the seeds of Truth and Light in new soil. My life is laid out to serve wherever and whoever the Lord sets before me. Even in these first few weeks I am amazed at the new relationships the Lord has set before me. I am so excited for the ‘more’ I sense in my heart!

I am asking you to invest in me through prayer and finances. I need not only financial resources, but prayer coverage!

Will you take this before the Lord to see if He is asking you to invest in the ‘more’? Will you invest further in the souls of Southeast Asia? 

All gifts toward my work with the people of Southeast Asia should be sent to: Missions Alumni 1503 Main St #285 Grandview, Missouri 64030 with a note for Marlene Allen.

Additionally, you can make secure donations online at Click on “Donate Now” near the bottom of my homepage. THANK YOU for your generosity towards me and the people of Asia.

Abiding – Not Striving

I almost said, “I am in a holding pattern” but I don’t think God is saying the same thing. A visa and work permit were huge concerns but I have to recognize that God gave me an incredible visa as Moses’ Mom.
I can still help the school organize their youth camp coming up next month. I can still prepare to speak in November at Zoe Children’s Home at a gathering the youth have been preparing for all summer. I can still mother the young adults living in Chiang Mai who were once part of the children’s home in Fang. A seasoned intercessor said that I carried the extravagance of God when I came into her meeting last weekend. In all of this I am learning the there is much fruit in just ‘being’. Abiding in the Vine is much better than striving.

The ‘One’

The first week I was here I was asked if I would be content if God only sent me here for ‘the one’. Hmmm!!!! Since that time God has begun to bring them one by one, not what I was expecting. They are all hungry and open for more. Please pray for wisdom as I minister to these beautiful ones.