Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hope Giver = Life Changer

I’ll be honest; I’ve been a little discouraged.

My friend and I started with a dream to work in Africa together. Then the dream became huge as we decided to try and build a school for a place we have come to feel incredible urgency and passion about, more and more so as we continue to research the issue of child trafficking. I’ll admit it – I am a skeptic at heart. While I know nothing is impossible with God, too often human reason clouds my faith. When JD mentioned raising $30,000 for the school, I thought she was crazy. (I already knew she was crazy – this was just another bit of evidence) I thought I would be doing great to raise $2,000 feeling that number already stretched my faith and the resources I had available. I remember praying that night, “God, help JD raise $28,000.”

Then slowly, words came together and ideas began to form of ways to raise this money and I began to believe in the miracle. This might just happen and I can be a part of it. Blog post were written and emails sent to every person I knew or maybe even just vaguely knew. The way I figured it should work would be a big response initially and then a lull in the middle months with a big push at the end. I even talked about the project at doctor’s appointments. Several days after one appointment I received a thank you card in the mail – from a doctor I’d been seeing for years – and was frustrated about the money spent on a stupid card I threw away that could be used for something better. The initial response left me feeling a little deflated. I’ve had some very wonderful people donate or commit to donate and I’m elated to have their support and involvement. But we need more – a lot more.

I began to doubt.

Last weekend I stumbled upon another heartbreaking situation about a young boy who desperately needed to be adopted. His picture so unlike those of the children in Africa radiated with his hope of believing someone would come for him – that he would be chosen despite being passed over for others again and again. This boy while living in eastern Europe, this blonde haired blued-eyed boy might not look like the African children, he does have something in common with many of them. He is HIV+. While reading about this child, I came to learn something that emotionally crushed me and defied all my sense of logic.

Apparently, in many Eastern European countries (probably elsewhere as well) the children in orphanages with any sort of special needs, regardless of their health, literally age out of the “system” around age 6. They are taken from the orphanage and sent to mental institutions of various kinds and left there for the rest of their lives. Their location is not disclosed. They can no longer be adopted. Perhaps one of the saddest statistics I have ever read was that an estimate 50-80 percent of these children will die within the first year. The message: Your time for hope has run out. The thought of this little boy’s hope for a family being ripped away any day now simply breaks my heart in ways I cannot explain even to you.

I am not a mom, so from a biological sense I have never experienced that “connection.” But I desire to be one. Most days, it’s simply a dream tucked away in a special place of my heart, an empty spot I walk around with but have gotten used to. Every now and again something will poke that spot and it inflames and swells. This would be one of those times. I feel the urgency to do something about it, anything… but what. I don’t have thousands or even hundreds who read this blog. I don’t even know all that many people when it comes down to it. Is this about adoption? Should I be actively pursuing that, even as a struggling single? I have the room, I can sacrifice to come up with the finances, and I’m sure I have enough love, but is that what God is saying right now? I was confused and frustrated and desperate to understand why God would save some and not others. Trying to understand how these abandoned children could ever know there is a God who is Love and Hope living in a completely hopeless situation. I still don’t have the answers, but I have a new perspective.

I can’t give this boy a home right now but I can pray that his family to step forward and not let fear and doubt hold them back. Even more than that, I can hold onto hope for these kids and all the millions of orphans out there. For me and you, even situations and dreams that seem impossible and hopeless are actually so full of hope and possibility it seems silly to be discouraged.

I know there are causes and companies pulling on our purse strings constantly and from every direction it seems and sometimes it’s just easier to not give at all, but the truth is money that changes a life will be stretched farther than anything else you can use it for. I know God will help us build this school even if it isn’t raised before the fall. I will keep going until it is. It doesn’t matter to me if you donate to this project, but find something you feel passionate about and makes a difference in someone’s life and do something. Give $10. I know 99.9% of can do at least that. Volunteer some time or sponsor a child.

Give hope to someone before their time for hope runs out.

In less than 200 days I will be flying to Ghana to meet kids who have been given redemption by others who have felt like me. I will also meet children who are in desperate need of hope and love. Even though I haven’t met them yet, these are my children - The ones God has given me responsibility for even if just for a short time. I will do everything I can to redeem them.

I will give them hope before time runs out.

Will you be a hope giver?


Misty said...

You are exactly right. they are YOURS. Ultimately they are Gods, but he COMMANDS us to care for the children...

These statistics are HORRIBLY sad! heartbreaking...

i will add the possibility of adoption to my prayers for you, friend...

Debra said...

<3 All of these children are God's heart. All people are God's heart but you are right... we each have the responsibility and privilege to get to take a tiny bit of ownership and provide some love and hope to our own "kids" or "people"... God's people. I love your heart Tia.God is going to do great things! Believe against all odds and all lies that float in our heads at night. It WILL happen.

colette said...

i am so excited to see what God is doing in you and through you and i can't wait to see you SOON:D