This weekend Olivia and I had the opportunity to serve together through Africa New Life Ministries. We were able to be part of a large team of people who were packing over 262,000 meals to be sent to needy children and families in Rwanda. What a special Momma and daughter time!
It was pure joy to get to see her heart for helping! She is typically a bit reserved in larger groups, but not this time. She jumped right in and worked each station. When we got home, I asked her to tell me her favorite part of the day. I expected her to say riding in the backseat of the car with the big girls or hanging out with Momma. Instead she responded “making the food”. When I asked her why, she said “I am glad for the kids!”. She is blooming into a very special young lady.
As we packed the food, Africa New Life and Numana staff took the opportunity to tell us about their ministries and the lives that are changed. We heard powerful testimonies. One from the principal of several schools in Rwanda. Another from a teenager who hadn’t been in school for six years was able to reenroll becuase of sponsorship (he just scored second in all of Rwanda on his school exams, so it is evident that this is life altering for him – and his face just glowed with joy!). The last testimony we heard was from the owner of the car dealership where the packing event took place. He shared that he is typically skeptical of organizations that ask for money, but that he traveled to Rwanda and saw what the Lord is doing in the lives of so many children. I am grateful that he opened his facility and gave of his time for this event to happen. I am so grateful that many meals were prepared and that little children’s tummy’s will be filled.
While I was joyous to see my daughter serve and get to serve alongside her, and was thrilled to think of the little children’s lives that are being blessed, I have to admit that I also struggled. On our journey to adoption, we have become increasingly aware of those who are hurting worldwide. I think if someone would have asked me a couple years ago if there are orphans, I would have said “well, I guess.” And if they would have asked me if there are starving men, women and children, I would have said “well, maybe.” I don’t think I really believed it though. Or, I was so content with my comfortable life that I didn’t care enough to do anything? Ugly, I know. Now, that my eyes are wide open, I feel like my world has been turned upside down. Or, maybe, the Lord is in the process of turning my upside down world right side up?
As we packaged the meals of beans, rice, tofu and spices into the little baggies over and over again, scoop this, scoop that, weigh, seal, scoop again… it hit me that this meal would get old, really fast. I remembered reading that in many orphanages children eat the same meal day after day after day. The same porridge (or beans and rice) every day. Sometimes they may get a piece of meat on Christmas. I tried to picture what it would be like eating the same meal every day of my life. I can’t even fathom it. I care about my children’s nutrition; each day I keep track of fruits, veggies, grains, meats and dairy to make sure they get what is best for their bodies. These children aren’t even coming close to what their bodies need! I have read adoptees testimonies on how they always felt hungry while they were in the orphanage. And then there are the children who don’t have even the occasional redundant meal. Those children whose parents aren’t able to feed them. I am trying to juggle a balanced diet; they are simply trying to help their children survive. They are hungry and yearning for the meal that to us would be dredfully redundant.
I struggled with the juxtaposition of a building filled with fancy cars and bags of rice and beans. My mind is trying to make sense of it all. I realize that wealth doesn’t equal happiness and that our society is far from utopic, but the majority of us have food, shelter and protection. I found myself asking “Lord, why do we have so much and they have so little?” I feel like the Lord brought some scriptures to mind and spoke to my heart some truths. If I had to paraphrase what my loving Father said to my heart it would sound like this: “I love them, and I love you. I have given you gifts, that I desire for you to enjoy. I have also given you gifts so that you can cheerfully and generously give to those who need them. You are my hands and feet to bring justice, mercy and hope in my name.” The scripture that came to mind was of Jesus holding the children, feeding the multitudes, telling us to feed the poor and that Jesus came to bring hope to the poor. His heart hurts for the hungry and hurting way more than mine does; they are his children.
Then I began to think of all of the encouraging news I had heard over the past couple weeks. News of widows (who are now mother’s to orphans through the ministry of Bring Love In) who just got their first ovens installed into their homes! News of more women who are learning how to weave scarves! (Fashion-ABLE trains women so that they can escape a life of prostitution.) News of referrals in our adoption agency – I do a little happy dance each time I read of a child being matched to a family!!!
I have a peace that my Lord is in the process of redeeming a fallen world. AND I am unrestful. What are we supposed to do? How can we help? I believe we are to pray, serve, advocate, give and bring hope. Will you join me? You and I, we can and do make a difference in people’s lives!