Greg’s Update from Africa #5

It has taken me some time to share with you because we’ve been seeing and experiencing so much that it is hard to process. God has really done a number on us since the last post. It can be summed up in Ezekiel 22:30: “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” My prayer is this: “God, I want to advocate for your people. I want to stand in the gap!”

We began the day at the ADP (area development project) in the town of Maraba. I was so excited. My heart was pumping and my mouth was dry because I caught a glimpse of some of our sponsored children. I was hitting myself for not getting pictures of our 8 children in advance. We walked in and I made eye contact. We were told to walk past them because we had to have a meeting with its leaders. How do you do that when the kids you’ve sponsored are waiting patiently outside??????????? I spotted a girl named Alphonsine. She was Kelly Ho‘s sponsored girl. I thought she was mine. I snuck pictures of her while the meeting progressed. I just couldn’t wait to get out there.

During the meeting, something caught my attention. The ADP helps the children and the community. They provide for their schooling and take an active role in their healthcare. They help their parents gain some financial stability. Maraba is an agricultural town. Many are farmers. I was told that they were in need of cows. Cows are a great resource of milk and the manure is great for fertilizer. They even teach them to eat healthier. My heart broke when I was told they eat meat once a year, most likely at Christmas!!!! Some do not get meet for even five years. Because of the costliness of meet and even chicken, the ADP teaches them to look for protein sources in beans and eggs.

Then, they let us out to see the kids. Jeddy and I represented our sponsored kids. We had 8 of them. I know that they belong to many of you. However, on this day, they were ours. One by one, they called the names out. It was awkward at first. They were shy. However, the children started hugging us. One even ran to me and jumped into my arms. I teared up. Finally, I saw my two girls. One sponsorship was a joint sponsorship from KARA. The other was Charlotte. When I saw Charlotte, she looked so small and fragile. As I hugged her, it was the same feeling that I felt two and a half months ago when I embraced my own daughter. I realized that these 8 were my sons and daughters from Africa. They were no longer $35 a month. They were so much more.

We put them in a circle and introduced ourselves. There were so many of them that Jeddy and I were fumbling around on how to do this with just one translator. I began with telling them who their sponsors were. I tried to describe Emily Chow and Sophia Chang and Kelly and Jason Wu and Vanessa Ouu and the rest. Linda Yen-Woo reminded me to pack a picture of our family for them. Charlotte’s mother said that it was the most important thing and she put it away. All of a sudden, other parents or guardians wanted to see pictures. I had my trusty laptop and I used the pictures from Lewis Linand Juliana Chu‘s wedding to show them who their sponsors were. They loved it. Many had never seen a computer. Even their parents were smiling in awe.

In the middle of this, John Liew‘s child showed up from North Rwanda. For many of these children, it was the first time that they had ridden in a car. He took a 5 hour trip just to see us. That blew my mind. These World Vision teams really tried their best to make the connections.

Jeddy and I ended the day with big smiles on their faces. But, there was a sad reality. outside our gates were twenty-something kids who were not sponsored. They kept looking in the compound with longing eyes. I knew we could not do anything for them. Or, maybe we could? Maybe we could go back to America and find sponsorships for them?

God has called you and I to “stand in the GAP.” Will you heed his call? It will not only change and save the lives of these children. It will change and save your lives as well!

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