I’ve been in Kenya just shy of a week. I’m spending time at a wonderful place called the Hope Center. The children there have had difficult lives. Most of them have been orphaned. Many were living on the streets. The Hope Center takes them in and provides them with their basic necessities – clothing, shelter, food, and an education.
But, they still have so little, at least by American standards. Each child has a single trunk that holds all of their worldly possessions. They sleep two to a bed under mosquito nets to avoid contracting malaria. They have latrines instead of toilets. They wash their clothes in basins and hang them out to dry since they don’t have washing machines or dryers. They wash their bodies by pouring buckets of water over themselves since they don’t have showers.
We have been spending time getting to know the children better – asking them to tell us about themselves.
I asked one little girl if she could have one wish what it would be.
She thought for a moment.
“Well,” she said, “I already have everything.”
She thought a little more.
“But, I would wish to help people that don’t have everything. I want to help the poor, the needy, and the orphans.”
Cue overwhelming conviction.
She’s right, though. She does have everything – everything she needs.
The Hope Center takes wonderful care of these children. They are clothed, fed, and educated. They are treated with dignity. They are encouraged. They are loved. They are a family.
At the Hope Center, they are teaching the children that everything they have – every opportunity – is a gift from God. They are teaching them that they were created with a plan and for a purpose. They are teaching them that, though they may be orphans, they are the children of a good and gracious Father.
That’s why this sweet girl doesn’t see all she lacks.
She sees all she has been given.
And because she sees all she has been given, she sees all she has to give.
I usually have it backwards. I don’t see all that I have been given. I only see what I lack.
I confuse needs with wants and I don't believe I already have everything. Even though I do. Even though I have more than all of these children combined.
But, they are teaching me the meaning of contentment. They are grateful for what they have. They are generous with what they have. They are kind. They are joyful.
I’ve never used this platform to make an ask, but I’m going to now. There are still so many children that need to be sponsored. Sponsors provide support in two ways.
First, they provide financial support through a monthly donation. All of the money goes directly to the sponsored child – for their clothing, food, and education. Those children not yet sponsored are supported out of a general fund, which means that that fund can’t be used for much needed repairs and resources. So, the financial support is crucially important because it allows the child to receive what they need and allows for the general fund to be used for other expenses – which benefits the children, as well.
Second, sponsors provide emotional support by building a relationship with their child. The children write letters to their sponsors and the sponsors write back. I’ve been able to witness several sponsors meeting their child for the first time this week, and it has been so sweet. They know each other. The children call their sponsors “mom” and “dad” because their sponsor, functionally, steps into that role, albeit from a distance. The sponsors take an interest in their child's life, getting to know them, encouraging them in their studies, advising them on their futures, and loving them as a parent for a child.
So, here is my ask.
Please consider sponsoring one of these precious children. I can vouch for the integrity of this ministry. I can attest to the profound impact a sponsor can have on a child. So, if you’re interested, please contact me or read more about it here.
And, if you want to see my “daughter,” Kate, here is our first picture together. She’s the best