Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We Are A Letter of Christ

We have some friends who have sponsored children for a long time.  In fact, they sponsor one child for each of their four biological children.  That’s a ratio of 1:1.  A photograph of each child they sponsor hangs in each bedroom.  I love the idea!

Joson is one of the children we have sponsored through Feeding the Orphans.  We have kept his picture on our fridge since the beginning of our sponsorship.  We were drawn to him because he is an older boy and we know older boys are usually the last to be chosen.  With five boys of our own, our heart was drawn to his warm smile immediately.

Feeding the Orphans offers several opportunities to write the children letters throughout the year.  Volunteers bring the letters and deliver them to the orphans being sponsored in country.  Our family has written to Joson.  Imagine our surprise when we received a neatly handwritten letter back to us!  We couldn’t believe he would take the time to do this, but he did.

A few weeks ago, our family moved to Ghana to help Feeding the Orphans here in Ghana, West Africa.  Yesterday, our family visited the home where Joson lives.  Immediately we recognized him.  Oh, I nearly cried when I saw him!  His warm eyes were the same as his picture.  When we arrived, Joson was sitting over a wash basin hand-scrubbing laundry for the orphanage.  Tediously working, he did not stop once we arrived, but greeted us once he finished the task before him. 

I told him, “Oh, Joson, our family prays for you.  We are sponsoring you through Feeding the Orphans.”
Quickly he smiled, “I know.”   We all hugged and he headed back into the concrete building.

Our family played with the younger children, then Joson returned.  Joson looked up at me with expectant eyes then handed me a white envelope.  Puzzled, I peered inside.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Guess what was inside?  The letter we sent to him over six months ago!  He had kept it safe and near him.  Tears flowed from my eyes in astonishment.   I was holding the letter our family sent from America six months ago.  The letter that is now on the other side of the world!  Joson, this child we have held in our hearts, was now standing beside me.  His gentle face smiling.  Because we have prayed for Joson, our hearts were connected in ways beyond imagination.  Our God always weaves His story in unexpected ways!

Mu husband, Reid, snapped this picture as I was fighting back tears truly amazed by our awesome God.
The fact that Joson kept our letter as a prized possession says much about what he treasures, doesn’t it?   How many “special” things does he own?  In a concrete bunk room shared with many boys, my guess is that he doesn’t have many personal belongings – but this letter was something he kept.  A personal letter written especially to him was cherished beyond measure.

My heart feels the gravity of this.  Had he slept with this letter under his pillow for six months?  Did he hold onto this letter because it offered HOPE to him?  Did he cherish it because it proved to him that someone cares about his heart?

We do.

There are so many orphaned children who would love to know they are loved.  They would love to receive a letter that someone has written especially to them.  Wouldn't Jesus take time to write to them?  Feeding the Orphans allows you to sponsor children who need this love.  Letters you send are delivered to the children.  Along with receiving the food your sponsorship provides, these children will know someone cares.    

As I write this, tears are coming to my eyes because over the past few days, we have been face to face with the need of orphans here in Ghana.  Friends, you cannot imagine the living conditions.  In Joson’s home, there is no running water, and the hallway is pitch black because it is not wired for electricity.  Beside the outside cooking area in the yard where the chickens run, sits the stool and wash basin where Joson washes clothing by hand.  The clothes line dangles over chicken droppings.   Until last week, this home did not even have refrigeration.  It is heartbreaking to see where these children live.

YET, every child in this home seems happy.  They giggle.  They laugh.  They act silly.  They know they are loved.

Michael, one of the FTO volunteers, is living in this home for the summer.  It’s the perfect home for a male volunteer, because nearly all of the children here are boys – only one girl.  Michael is living in the same conditions as the children.    Michael washes his own clothes by hand.  He bathes from a bucket.  He helps haul water to and from the home.  Michael goes without electricity many, many nights in the sweltering heat.  YET, he is spending every day pouring himself into these kids.  And it shows.  

Michael built soccer goals out of 2x4s, and he had the boys help him build them.  We could see the pride the boys took in their homemade soccer goals as they carried them out to the make-shift dirt soccer field.   Michael wrestles with the boys providing the physical contact that all boys need.  Throughout the day, Michael is usually carrying one of the young ones on his shoulder.  Michael is starting a nightly Bible study with the older boys.  He is teaching them about the truth of Jesus.  Michael is giving his life away by loving these forgotten children. 

If you are reading this, perhaps the Lord wants YOU to be part of His story in the lives of these children.  Please pray about sponsoring a child through Feeding the Orphans.  Today, YOU have the opportunity to tell one of these little ones that someone loves them and prays for them.  When opportunities come for you to send some love to your child, do it.  It’s priceless. 

Perhaps the Lord would like you to volunteer for several months like Michael loving His beloved children around the world.   Believe me, the impact of this time can yield eternal fruit.

I will close this post with the closing of Joson’s letter to us which was delivered to us last February.  

(Yes, we kept ours too.  We cherish his handwritten words to us.  Thank you, Joson, for the precious gift of your letter to our family!  We will keep it always.)

Joson writes, “God bless you and continue blessing you for sharing your love…with me.  Thank you!!!”

And, in the words of Paul from scripture:

“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again?  Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?  You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”     
2 Corinthians 3:1-3

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