I am responsible
A little over a week ago, I started to write about my Africa New Life sponsor child. After wiping the tears streaming down my face, I opted to wimp out and just post a few adorable pictures. I also included a video at the end, encouraging readers to consider sponsoring another kid I met named Claudine.
Almost immediately, IHGB reader Amy had emailed me to sponsor Stephen.
Stephen? What in the world? I hadn’t even posted his video yet. Amy explained that she filed through all of our team’s videos on the site (clearly I had no idea this was a feature) and was drawn to Steven. She wanted to sponsor him and help give the little boy hope. I was shocked, ecstatic and figured the only way to control my euphoria was to eat my weight in the holiday version of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups that come in the shape of Christmas trees.
Later that day IHGB reader Jennifer emailed me asking how she could sponsor Claudine. I’m pretty sure I started crying at my desk. I thanked her for her compassionate spirit and hooked her up with my friends over at Africa New Life.
Moments later, IHGB reader Amber asked to sponsor Claudine as well. Since I was not willing to have Jen and Amber duke it out with Facebook likes on my page, I let Amber know that Claudine had already been sponsored. This is my favorite part…Amber said she wanted to sponsor another kid. I love that she didn’t consider that a closed door. She wanted a kid who had been on the list the longest. My heart might have melted. I continue to be blessed by relative strangers writing me from the website. These are the days that it’s extremely clear to me why I do what I do.
Several times a week, I sit down at my computer and try to write about my trip to Rwanda. I want to share the memories, the stories, the heartache and the hope. But how do you accurately describe the simple joy sparkling in the eyes of little ones who are chasing bubbles? How can I specifically explain the sweet ringing of elementary school giggling? I could never communicate the sadness that strikes your heart with each child’s family visit when you enter the place they call home. To detail the palpable excitement of a toddler running behind the bus when it comes rolling through a remote village in Bugesera would be equally impossible. Recalling the emotions I felt when a small child thanks God for his many blessings is still convicting. That’s probably because he didn’t own shoes. Yeah. My burden is pretty light, if not non-existent.
For a place that has every right to feel abused, forgotten and broken, the people I met in Rwanda are courageous, passionate, hopeful and living a life that shows what it means to be in a desperate relationship with Jesus. They are the picture of love.
This is the time of year when we are inundated with naughty elves refusing to stay on their shelves, beautifully decorated trees with brightly wrapped presents underneath, jam packed parking lots full of people in search of stuffers for their stockings and a mental calendar that counts down the days left until it’s time to turn off the computers, graciously accept the “Jelly of the Month” coupon from our bosses before heading on over to Grandma’s house for a slice of questionable fruitcake and steaming hot cup of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Obviously it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but I encourage you to remember those who may not have the luxuries that you and I take for granted. Whether this person is begging on the streets in Rwanda for food, stationed overseas to protect our freedom or huddled cold under the bridge on the other side of town, remember those in need. Remember them even beyond the holidays.
Yes. I have Christmas decorations up and have an unnecessary addiction to nativity scenes. Of course I have yet to do any shopping, so I will be one of those people in the crowded mall parking lot if I choose to not buy my niece and nephew a goat in Rwanda instead of some cologne I’ve never heard of and a plush Junior from VeggieTales. My cool boss is taking us to see the new James Bond and Mimi does not make fruitcake, but she always has those random candies in the shape of ribbons. They taste like Pepto-Bismol and I eat one every year. My point? I’m all about Christmas.
With that said, I have several faces that float in and out of my subconscious of those who are in need. But now that I have seen…I am responsible. As I said before, there are no words that can properly convey what I saw, heard, smelled, touched and felt when I was in Africa.
Luckily, my friend and fellow mission mate Emily put together a video that comes pretty close. After you watch some of the highlights from our trip and you find yourself interested in learning more about how to sponsor a child from Africa New Life, please email me and I’ll answer any questions or walk you through the process.
I’m off to buy a goat for Christmas. Best aunt ever.