The following was delivered, in Albanian, to the adolescent orphans at the Hope for the World orphanage in Tirana, Albania. I have previously posted the Albanian version, and I now offer it in English.
It is my great honor to be with you this evening. My name in Michael Milton and this is my son John Michael. I bring you greetings from our church, First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
You and I have something in common. I was an orphan. I was reared by my Aunt in a rural, poverty stricken area of Louisiana in the United States south. As I grew up, I began to have problems understanding my identity. This led me to great pain in my heart. And that pain led me to a search for meaning. In that search I made many mistakes. But a person is never so far from God that God cannot find Him. Jesus said, “I have come to seek the lost.” I thank God He found me. And one of the things that changed my life for the better was coming to know that God knew my name. Isaiah 43 says:
“But now, this is what the LORD says — he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43.1
God had created me. He formed me. Just like he called Jacob and made a nation called Israel who once were no people. So God made me. And in Jesus Christ I have found my identity.
The Apostle Paul, who said that he preached in this country (“So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ” he says in Romans 15.17), a man whose identity could have been one of pain brought about by the guilt of formerly leading a life of persecuting others, wrote these words:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2Corinthians 5.17
So I believe God has sent me to you, as one of you, to say: God loves you. He made you. He created you. He knows you by name. Don’t ever forget that. And know that God has sent His Son Jesus Christ to find you, to show you the fullness of God’s love for you, by going to the extreme point of loneliness and pain, on a cross, as a sacrifice for your sins, so that you can now become the adopted son or daughter of God.
That is what the Lord Jesus did for me. And He does it for anyone who will receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Thank you for letting me speak to you.