LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"We are the World" ~ Part 3

Please meet beautiful 4 ½ year old Mary Stephen Mmari from Tanzania. Mary is the precious child our Thursday evening ladies Bible study group sponsors thorough Compassion International. She and her 2 siblings live in the home with their mother, who sometimes works as a seller in the market. Mary’s job responsibilities in the home for her family are: carrying water, washing clothes, and working in the kitchen. She attends kindergarten and performs at an average level. Mary loves to play with dolls, play ball games and group games. She regularly attends Bible class and church activities.

Mary lives on the plains of Fuka in a house made of mud walls, dirt floors and tin roofs. This area has approximately 5,000 residents. Her diet consists primarily of maize, beans, bananas and potatoes. Common health problems for this area include malaria and typhoid. Most people in the area are unemployed. Those who DO have jobs are subsistence farmers and earn the equivalent of about $26 USD/month. This community needs schools, vocational training, a water supply and access to modern farming equipment and technology.

Because of our $32/month sponsorship (divided by approximately 10 of us that works out individually to be $3.20/month or $38.40/year!), Mary is provided with Bible classes, health screenings, hygiene education, picnics, sports, educational materials, field trips and uniforms.

“…and whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”
~Matt. 18:5

We send monthly contributions, but that’s not all. We write her as a group on occasion; now we can email individually, and they will translate into her native language and get it to her, saving time and postage money. Any additional monies we send will provide a Christmas gift AND assist her other family members. We are investing in lives that have eternal value! Our investment is minimal; the return of blessings is without measure! The decline in the economy cannot effect what we are doing with Mary; the opportunities she is afforded will mean the difference in eternal life or eternal death for her! Additionally, there will be a ripple effect within her family, and hopefully even in her community. So our $32/month will likely positively impact many lives….all for an annual cost to me of 8 Dollar meals at McDonalds (1 McDouble, 1 small fry and 1 large sweet tea at McDonalds costs $3 + tax. Do that 8 times over 12 months and that equals my portion of the sponsorship for this precious child!) A simple sacrificial expression of love to one so much less fortunate…

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

"…more than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that. Almost 10 million children will be dear in the course of a year. So why does the crash of a single plane dominate the front pages of newspapers across the world while the equivalent of one hundred planes filled with children crashing daily never reaches our ears?...If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we simply have less empathy for people of other cultures living in faraway countries than we do for Americans. Our compassion for others seems to be directly correlated to whether people are close to us socially, emotionally, culturally, ethnically, economically, and geographically. But why do we distinguish the value of one human life from another?” (p. 107)

“For some reason we are wired in such a way that we can become almost indifferent to tragedies that are far away from us emotionally, socially, or geographically, but when the same tragedy happens to us or someone close to us, everything changes…our problem is that the plight of suffering children in a far-off land hasn’t gotten personal for us. We may hear about them with sorrow, but we haven’t really been able to look at them as if they were our own children. If we could, then we would surely grieve more deeply in our spirits. We would weep for their parents, and we would respond with far greater urgency. How might God think about this issue?...God surely grieves and weeps, because every one of these children is His child—not somebody else’s”. (p. 108-109)

I look into the eyes of precious Roshni and Mary, and even though I’m looking at a photograph of that child, Roshni is a living human being…Mary is a real human being! I read their little letters and see the beautiful drawings they send to us, and my heart literally aches. The same thing happens when I hear from Rahel and Asheber, and Polon, Ashley and Clara. These are real human beings; some I’ve met personally, others I have not. But they are God’s children, just as I am His child. When I see their faces, up close and personal or in a photograph, and read their letters to me, those children, who belong to someone else, become very important to me. Now I know their names and have looked in their eyes. “I come back home, angry at myself, incensed by my own apathy, with a fresh resolve and a renewed passion to crusade on behalf of these kids, to fight for them with every breath in my body”, says Richard Stearns in A Hole In Our Gospel (p. 109). My prayer is that of World Vision’s founded, Bob Pierce: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

I get weary at times, feeling helpless and frustrated, because I want to do so much more! I want to GO to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopa and meet these precious souls! I want to help my sweet friends—the Oatsvalls, the Mihnovich’s—who are adopting even more children from Africa (The Oatsvalls have 2 already adopted 2 beautiful girls from China and have 2 biological children; the Mihnovich's have 2 biological children, precious Levi from Ethiopia, and are now anxiously awaiting 4 siblings from Ethiopia to be home in Tennessee); countless others I know have/are in process of adopting! It blesses my heart so very much, and drives me to want to work even harder to help those who cannot help themselves.

“Children are not statistics to God” (p. 113).

I keep pressing in, pressing on, and pressing through….holding tight, enjoying the journey, and looking for the prize…the high calling of Jesus Christ.

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