Thursday, April 22, 2010

The 100-Shilling Sacrifice

I have so many blogs bumping around in my mind, and have had so little time to post, and was trying to decide which one to post. Then something happened this morning, and I knew what my next post would be about.

First, some background. Earlier this week, we learned that the grandfather of Annet and Sarah, two of our girls, had passed away. It is traditional to give money to the family when someone dies, to help with expenses, and so I sent money and a letter of condolence with Noah when he took the two girls to Kowuku, the village (translate “slum”) where they lived with their grandmother until they came to Redeemer House. The girls came home from the village last night, and while Sarah, 7, seemed her old self, it was obvious that Annet, 14, was very sad.

Each morning for breakfast, the children eat porridge and bread. This morning, as usual, I gave Deo money to walk to a nearby “store” to buy 25 rolls for breakfast for the children, staff, and three other children who came for breakfast. It usually takes him less than 5 minutes, but I got busy cleaning outside and then realized some time later that he had not yet returned. Just then he came through the gate and approached me with noticeably less than 25 rolls. In fact, he had only 15. He came straight to me, handing me the rolls and change, and began to explain, in his quiet, gentle voice.

Before he left, he had first asked Uncle Noah’s permission, and then talked with each of the other children, except Annet and Sarah. He asked them if they would like to give up their morning roll, which cost 100 schillings (about 5 cents American), and instead give the money as a gift to Annet and Sarah. Ten of the twelve children he talked to wanted to sacrifice for their sisters. “And so, I am requesting, Jjaja Kathy, can you give to the children who will not eat bread today 100 shillings so they can say ‘Sorry’ to Annet and Sarah.” I gave him back the change, and with a 1000 schilling bill in hand, Deo ran back to the store to exchange it for 10 coins, so each child could present a gift to the girls.

So many things here bring me to tears. Sometimes it’s something so ugly and sad my heart is breaking. And sometimes I am so humbled and touched that my heart is overflowing. There were tears this morning, I can tell you. These children, who have seen such suffering and deprivation, have such generous hearts! And Deo! I have been saying for a long time that Deo truly has a pastor’s heart. He is so kind, so gentle, so aware of those who are hurting around him. He loves God with all his being. He is also a quiet leader. I can only imagine how God will use him. How often I think, ‘Who am I, to have the privilege of knowing children like these?”

Of the two children who chose to eat rolls this morning, one was Natasha, who at 4 is too young to fully understand. The other was Saida, who is 11. She is a very bright girl, and totally understands. In my last post I told of the horrible circumstances of her life before she came to Redeemer House 18 months ago. She is the child I most worry about. Please pray for her, that God’s love would somehow be able to penetrate the walls she has built to protect herself. Pray for us, that we would have wisdom to know how to love her in a way that reaches her heart. Jesus is the Redeemer – He has sacrificed His life to buy Saida back from the life that oppressed and enslaved her. Please pray!

1 comment:

  1. :( If you are going to make me cry everytime I visit, I will not come back. Okay, I am totally lying. What a great story. Too many times I read stories like these or even stories from the Bible and I think, "wow, that's neat." I have realized recently that part of my mind doesn't stop to consider these stories are REAL- that real lives are being affected by their outcomes. Then I read a story like this, and I am so overwhelmed at how fully children listen to the Holy Spirit. Not just listen, they also obey. That's the vital step so many of us are missing. I am working on it. Sorry I said I wouldn't come back. I was acting out. ;)