How A Little Can Change A Lot

dusty faces

We have much to be judged on when he comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the result of our failures in love.” — Madeleine L’Engle

When my brother traveled to the Sudan he had an encounter that changed his life—and as it ends up, mine too.

He stood in Darfur at an orphanage filled with children leftover from the genocide. There were over 800 children, and during the night wild dogs were dragging them off and killing them.

My brother already felt shell-shocked from the travesties he’d witnessed in Uganda.

The day was hot. The sun beat down upon him. His camera had nearly been ruined from all the dust. He’d barely slept. His gear was heavy. Yet his conscience was seared by the numbness he felt, so he turned and confessed to a Sudanese pastor.

“We shall pray right now that your heart will be opened,” he was told.

Not long after that prayer three young children approached Joshua and started to follow him. After a bit, his father nature kicked in and he stopped and sang Father Abraham. It didn’t take long before the four of them were dancing and going through the motions.

When they finished, he asked the children to tell him how they came to be there.

The oldest, a girl, answered. “The soldiers came and shot my mother and father, so I came here.”

The two other children nodded in agreement. “Me, too.”

He was grief struck, but it was what transpired next that tore my heart. “Do you have a Mommy?” The little girl asked my brother.

“Yes,” he answered.

“And a Daddy?”

Again, his answer was yes.

“Oh,” she said, her voice hinting at a strange intermingling of numbness and grief.

Her question stirs me still. For I believe it came from her soul and revealed the thoughts of her heart. She didn’t want to know what his country was like, what kind of food he ate, or what he did for a living. She had her own bullet holes leftover from the genocide. Her world consisted of this single question: Who still had parents and who didn’t?

In her questions I heard her worry and fear. Imagine being trapped in a war-torn country, a land of famine, drought and disease. Imagine trying to survive it as an orphan with death threatening you every hour. No matter how much she’s endured, at the end of the day, she’s still  just a little girl. And all she really wants is her Mom and Dad.

I imagined my daughter living as an orphan in the Sudan. If I were shot and dying, it would be my hope that my brothers and sisters would care for her. But what if her aunts and uncles were killed too? What was it then, that her parents hoped?

As members of the body of Christ these children are not alone. They have aunts and uncles. Multitudes and multitudes and multitudes of them. Talk about staggering! These kids are our nieces and nephews! Mine. Yours.

So who, I wondered, within the church has the responsibility to step in?

I didn’t like the answer that came. Earlier that week I was shocked to learn that globally I was one of the richest people in the world—even though as an American, I’m pretty poor.

Like it or not  I was the rich aunt. I had knowledge of the situation. That made me accountable.

I wasn’t comfortable with the knowledge then, and I’m not comfortable with the knowledge now. But I am determined to do something. Anything.

That day Joshua had in his possession a picture book that someone had asked him to give to someone in the Sudan. It was a children’s book with a story about how we have a Heavenly Father who always loves and cares for us. Joshua read the book and gave it to them.

An American woman took it upon herself to raise the money to build shelter. Every person who donated, even a dollar, helped to create a place where the little girl now sleeps safe from wild dogs.

When Joshua told me he’s going to start a branch of Watermelon Ministries called Media Change, a non-profit encouraging Americans to give up a portion of the money spent on entertainment to serve those fighting world hunger and thirst, I wanted to support it.

For seven years he’s helped non-profits raise money that serves the “least of these.” He’s seen the impact a small investment can have. This is a brand new initiative. He’s not quite ready to launch, but you can sign up and be kept updated at www.mediachange.org. His first goal is garner the support of 10,000 people who are willing to give $10 a month. I’m number #3.

This is only a blog post, but who knows what one blog post can do.

What if the task of helping others isn’t as overwhelming as we make it?

Jessica

Jessica Dotta has earned the right to wear the title of: Social Media Specialist, Consultant, Publicist, Brand Manager, Editor, Writer, Social Activist, and Business Manager. But the only titles that matter to her are: Called – Redeemed – Beloved – Known by the Father – Daughter – Accepted. . . and Mom. Her life has recently undergone a shaking—one that uprooted nearly every trace of her former life. You’ll have forgive her unconventional posts, as she’s still trying to work out her perspective. She knows one thing though. The most humble and worthy person she ever encountered lived in near obscurity—but sent ripples of change into the world. All because he took the time to care about each hurting person he met. He wasn’t Jesus, but he followed the Great Shepherd and left a legacy. She wants to follow that path.

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17 comments

  1. This is the 3rd time I’m trying to comment. I pray that all who read this will understand that ignoring this little girl, or those like her, is ignoring Christ. May we all do something. That which you did for the least of these, you did also for me, says Jesus.

  2. Thanks guys! My heart is burdened like it never has been before for our suffering brothers and sisters.

    Tina, sign up for the Media Change Newsletter (on their site, I believe.) It’s amazing how just a fraction of what we spend for “fun” could literally solve world hunger and thirst.

    Blessings!

  3. I hope that many will sign up to help. I worked as a medical missionary
    before my retirement. I have seen the needs in many countries. I am considered poor here in the states but I am not. My God meets my every
    need. I can stretch what I have to help others.

  4. This made my heart hurt and I cried. I’ll find a way to help. We don’t spend much on entertainment, but I can find something to give up for this. I’m on my way over to Media Change to be an auntie.

  5. This is very near and dear to my heart right now. My husband and I are in the process of adopting from the Congo, which is being torn apart by the same rebel army that’s tearing apart Uganda.

    1. I have some friends who just adopted two children from the Congo. And some other friends who are in the process of adopting from Uganda, they’ve made it as far as being granted legal guardianship,spent the last three months in Uganda with her, and now the U.S. won’t give her a visa so they can bring her home. Heartbreaking. You can follow their journey here: http://ugandaadoptionblogs.blogspot.com/

  6. Excellent. Thanks for the invite on Facebook. I go to a church that is part of the Anglican Mission to the Americas, whose oversight comes from Rawanda. Hearing about the needs, meeting survivors of genocide, is a powerful motivator. Because, as Gina said, we cannot turn our back on the Lord’s children, the least of these.

    Blessings,
    Normandie
    http://www.wayside-press.com

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