My feisty fearless fourteen year old daughter Rebekah came to me last fall and asked me if she could go on a trip to Africa to help the orphans. She did not have a specific trip in mind she just knew that before she began high school she wanted to do something to help those children in Africa who are hungry, hurting and helpless.
I responded as I do with most “out of the box” things my kids ask of me. “Sure you can! Here is what you need to do:
- Find a trustworthy Christian organization that is going to Africa to minister to orphans
- You must travel with an “approved” adult and
- Raise the funds”.
I then went back to my daily grind. A couple months later she came back with her plan of going to Uganda with Children’s Hope Chest, traveling with an “approved” adult (Megan, a friend of a very trusted friend) and could she begin earning & raising the money to go on that trip that was only 10 weeks away?
My answer: Yup! Go for it! (to the shock, dismay and disapproval of many well meaning friends and family members who thought her Dad and I were out of our minds to let our daughter travel to that part of the world…but that is a life lesson for another day)
And go for it she did! In those 10 weeks she worked hard babysitting and cleaning houses, she sent out letters asking for others to help her and she took care of all the details of getting a passport, participating in training conference calls, securing transportation and getting vaccinations and malaria pills.
This past May she took off for a life changing experience in Uganda. Here is one of the things she wrote after returning home –
“So many times we feel bad because the African people miss so much of life, but maybe WE are the ones missing so much of life. They have joy like no one else I know. They have such a heart of worship….they truly know how to freely worship God, with or without music. They dance like no one is watching and they love non-stop. They help others even when they need it more. They are like a mirror of Christ, showing it constantly through their work, their smiles, their words…it is really quite amazing! So many times while they were praying, whether it was over the food or just a morning prayer they would ask God to bless us. Us…you and I, who have everything we could possibly need. Us…who eat three meals a day and sometimes more. Us…who change our clothes every day and put on a completly new outfit. Us…who have SO much and yet still want more.”
I could (and probably should) write more about her trip but I need to get to the main reason for today’s post.
You see, the children Rebekah served were the lucky ones. They actually got to eat one meal a day…most days. And this is what that food looked like as Rebekah scooped out a very small portion to each child, having to turn away the ones at the end of the line when they ran out.
Would we eat this? Yes, I guess we would…if we were starving. Yes, these children are the lucky ones.
One of the greatest happenings on Rebekah’s African adventure was that she met an amazing and inspiring young woman named, Katie Davis. I could not ask for a better role model and mentor for my daughter…or myself for that matter. Katie has given it all to follow Jesus as a mother of fourteen adopted orphan girls living in Uganda. One of the first things Rebekah asked us all was to read her blog post and get to know Katie. I could tell this woman had greatly influenced and inspired Rebekah and I read her words with tears streaming down my face. We have been following her life in Uganda ever since that day.
Yesterday Rebekah looked up from her homework and said “Mom, did you see Katie’s newest post?” I shook my head and said “no, not yet.” “Check out these pictures Mom” and she showed me images that stopped me in my tracks and shook me down to the core of my being.
These are the “unlucky ones”. These are the destitute and severely malnourished. These girls are in their twenties, older than my college daughter and they weigh only 37 pounds, just a bit more than my three year old son. They are dying without food or nourishment for their body or their soul. If you can stomach it (and even if you can’t), you should read their stories here and here.
And now you know.
But the question is what will you do? Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the sheep and the goats? If you need a refresher or have never read it…you can read the whole story here. But let me post part of what Jesus said to those who saw the hungry, thirsty, hurting, naked and homeless and did nothing.
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ Go away into eternal punishment.“
Today Katie posted again about a very specific need these beautiful young women who are feeding, clothing, cleaning, caring for and loving “the least of these”. They need a good vehicle to get to these remote villages and try to rescue these people who are severely malnourished and dying, naked and alone. They need $10,000 – $12,000.
- You can donate here – http://www.servinghischildren.org/involved.html
- or at Katie’s blog with a note that it is for Renee’s vehicle – http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/
When I look in her eyes I see Jesus waiting for my help. I can do something to help or I can simply go on about my daily life.
But I can’t say… “Jesus, I never knew”
And now you know too.
2 responses to “Now you know too”
I am so moved by your daughter. So full of wisdom at 14. I have been following your blog for several years now. I have some personal questions for you, I am not sure if you answer personal emails. But if you could email me I would truly appreciate it.
Julie…of course you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org