Friday, September 14, 2012

Faces of Sponsorship

Back on our March trip to Ghana you may remember that I met little George whose wellbeing I became concerned about. Once we got back to the States I had his situation investigated, and it turned out that he was the perfect candidate not for adoption, but for sponsorship. His case was the lead into something bigger. A few months later, during Jake’s trip to Ghana in August, it became blatantly clear that God was steering us into starting a sponsorship program in Asikuma.
So we did.

Throughout the remainder of Jake’s trip in August he allowed God to guide him to the children who needed sponsorship. Each day God did. By day Jake would text me pictures, names, and ages of the children. By night he would call and give me the details of each child and family’s story while I typed out his descriptions. By the time Jake returned home from his trip I had a list of over 15 families/individuals in the U.S. who were signed up to be matched with a child. Jake came home with 21 children in need of sponsorship. And our program was born! Here’s a look at the sweet faces of children thousands of miles across the ocean who now GET TO ATTEND SCHOOL (!) and have their basic needs met by families and individuals here in Central Iowa...

Maui received a medical sponsorship from our foundation...

Maui had a testicular hernia and was in much pain. There is a hospital nearby which does routine hernia surgeries. Our foundation paid 375 Ghana cedis (about $187) for his surgery and he was in and out in less than a day!

I also wanted to share a story from one of our sponsorship families on the U.S. side that really made me smile. In this sponsorship family, the gramma had signed up to sponsor because she really wanted to involve her two granddaughters (‘M’ and ‘m’) in the experience. She was excited to show them what it was like to be able to help someone else. I received this email from gramma after they received the info and pictures for their match…..

Hi Janel

Just thought I’d let you know how it went when I introduced ‘M’ to Miriam and baby sister. ‘m’ is oblivious to most things so I didn’t include her in the conversation. She will pick everything up from ‘M’.

Anyway, I was talking with ‘M’ about her interest in Africa and asked her if she thought it would be cool to help a child in Africa. She was so excited. Then I said, “Well, let’s wait until mommy comes in here because I want to talk to both of you about it.” She said, “Gramma, am I in trouble because I’m intrigued by African people?” LOL! INTRIGUED!? I love that kid. Anyway, I explained all about Miriam and her brothers and her baby sister. She was excited about it and immediately told me she had a bag of money she could send her. :)

I printed out large photos of Miriam, her mom with babe and their house. I’m sending you two photos - the first is of the printed photos – ‘Momma A’ put them on the kitchen wall next to where they eat so they will always remember to pray for Miriam and her family...

The other photo is one ‘Momma A’ sent me yesterday afternoon - she went in the kitchen and 'M and m' were parked in front of the photos…I’d love to have been a mouse to hear that conversation!

We stopped by their house yesterday and ‘M’ asked if Miriam’s baby sister had a name yet and she told me to tell her as soon as I hear what it is. I told her as soon as I get any information I will let her know.

While I was at M and m’s yesterday, they were watching a kids’ show and they were talking about Africa and had the coolest rhyming song about each country in Africa. So ‘M’ got to see about Ghana. When they showed the “rich” countries, ‘M’ asked why the rich African people don’t help the poor African people. I love the way her mind works. :)

Anyway, thought you’d enjoy hearing about her reaction. ‘m’ is a bit young yet to really understand the whole situation but she is excited because ‘M’ is excited. Thanks so much for letting us do this.
Oh how that made me smile. To think that two little girls in Iowa were sitting in their kitchen conversing, pondering and learning about their two now 'sisters' - continents away - that warms my heart! Yes these sponsorship funds will make a huge impact on the lives of needy children in Asikuma who are on the receiving end. But what an awesome viewpoint to also catch a glimpse of the impact that sponsorship can make on the giving end!

I had my own personal moment like that a few weeks ago when on my Facebook I was tagged to this photo….

That is Juma….a little boy in Uganda who my Mom is sponsoring through Children’s Hope Chest in our name. His sponsorship was one of the Christmas gifts she gave to our family last year. Let me tell you, seeing Juma holding the picture of us caused my world to get a little smaller that day. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh, you’ve been to Africa a million times….this sort of thing probably doesn’t even phase you anymore.” But I pray that I never become unmoved or numb to need, no matter how much poverty my eyes get to see and encounter. I have never set foot in Uganda. And yet, when I saw Juma holding our picture like that it was like I heard him say I’m depending on you each day of my life. Depending on us to get food. To have access to clean water. For the opportunity to attend school. For medical care, discipleship, and the list goes on. When you really let that sink in, it is absolutely shocking…..and real…..and convicting…..and inspiring…..and perspective changing…..all at the same time.

May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice,
freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer pain,
rejection, hunger, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand
to comfort them and
to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you
with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make
a difference in the world,
so that you can do what others
claim cannot be done...
To bring justice and kindness to
all our children and the poor.
~Franciscan benediction~

1 comment:

Katlyn said...

I can't wait to get my "match!" God is doing great things! :)