. . . if those sponsor kids are really real? Is it really true that $34.00 a month is all it takes to feed and educate a child in a poor country?
I am writing tonight to advocate for a particular program called Children's Hopechest. You can find their button on the left side of the blog if you scroll down a little. We have been sponsoring a little boy through CH for a little over a year now. Last year, if you remember, Rob went to Ethiopia to help out with several projects at a Children's Hopechest carepoint - Trees of Glory. The little boy we sponsor attended the school there and we were both really excited to meet him in person and take him a care package. When Rob met him, he (Abush) cried most of the time, barely talked to anyone and was visibly a scared, sad little boy. He was found alone and wandering the streets when he was 4 years old - a full orphan - and except for the dedicated people at Trees of Glory and an elderly woman who now cares for him, he is alone in the world. He wanted nothing to do with Rob and when one of the teachers at the carepoint asked him what was wrong, he told him he knew Rob wouldn't ever come back. His heart had been broken and abandoned and he had no interest in playing that game again. How much can one little heart endure? Rob had a very difficult time leaving him and we have prayed for him and worried about him ever since.
These photos are from last year . . .
What I want to share with you is this . . . YES. YES. YES!!! Sponsoring a child makes a VERY real difference in their lives. We have been so blessed because Rob and three of our kids have been able to meet our sponsor child and able to visit with him AGAIN this year when we went to Ethiopia for our court trip. Since he began attending Trees of Glory, he has been receiving meals and schooling each day for the past year AND, he has been able to do that because we sponsor him for a mere $34.00 per month. Seriously. I haven't thought much about that money this past year - haven't even missed it - and truthfully, I haven't thought a ton about how it might be helping or what it was really meaning to him. I've thought a TON about him, but the money, not so much.
What has the price of a few drinks at Starbucks given him? A chance. A chance to eat regular meals. A chance to learn to read. A chance to have something of a family - a community of friends - and loving adults at the carepoint who know him and love him and NOTICE him. And most of all, a chance to not have to wander about in a dark night, foraging for food, terrified of every sound and movement in the darkness with no mommy or daddy to hold him, or worry about him, or love him.
This year, the day after I flew home, Rob was able to hire a driver to take him back up to Trees of Glory. It so beautifully happened to be the same day a team of people from the U.S. - some of whom had been there last year - was arriving to work and visit with the children. (you can read more about that at http://family-from-afar.blogspot.com/ .) When he got there, he looked high and low and across the field he spotted him! And WOW, what a difference a year makes. What a difference a tiny bit of money and a whole lot of prayers and knowing - believing - that somewhere across the world, someone loves you and is thinking of you and CARES how you are doing. And all of that makes one very important difference - it brings HOPE back into your life, and the world looks very different from the vantage point of hope. Very different from the one of despair you knew such a short time ago. He was full of life and laughter and HAPPY to see Rob.
And here is the same darling boy the day after Rob flew home, opening his care package from us . . .
Is he not the most handsome little man you've ever seen? Just sayin'. And yes, we are both still praying for God to make a way for him to join our family. The twelfth man. :-)
If you've ever thought about sponsoring a child, PLEASE don't hesitate. Don't think so long that you never act. If you want more information on Children's Hopechest, PLEASE send me an email. I would be THRILLED to help you get in contact with the right people. Children's Hopechest has sponsor programs all over the world wherever the need is great. Of course . . . my heart is slightly partial to Ethiopia! :-)
Advent Reading - Day 9
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (NIV)