May 20, 2014
It was a beautiful, sunny Monday in May of 2014, and I was on my morning commute to work. While driving, I was having a conversation with God about some struggles in my life and needing guidance.
I decided to take my lunch break in my office and hopped online to read the news. Out of nowhere, I decided to Google “Compassion International”. I knew a few elders at church worked for Compassion, and we recently had a “Compassion Sunday”, but I really knew nothing about the organization. I assumed it was some type of mission work and/or an international adoption program – none of which I had ever felt a calling for.
I quickly learned Compassion was a child sponsorship program. My definition of child sponsorship was Sally Struthers, and if I had a dollar for every time I had heard, “For just seventy cents a day…”
I kept clicking around the site, and my skeptic self was actually impressed with everything I was reading. Without seriously considering sponsorship, I clicked in the “Search for a Child” box, and I randomly chose Uganda in the “Where in The world?” dropdown selection. Pages of children popped up so I narrowed my search down to “orphaned”, “high risk of exploitation”, “affected by HIV/AIDS”, and there he was staring right back at me.
His shoes – a few sizes too big, one shoe untied, covered in dust. How many miles had those shoes walked? His school uniform – perfectly buttoned and shirt tucked in. His posture – perfect, just like a little soldier. Thumbs tucked into his pockets, he must have felt uncomfortable having his picture made. He has more important things to do than patiently wait his turn to be photographed along with all of the other children in his project while the sun scorches him. How hot is it there? Now, where exactly is Uganda?
His hair – neatly trimmed. His expression – serious, stern, warrior-like. He is a warrior. Every day he has to fight for survival. His eyes – the intense stare. He is brave. He is wise beyond his whole ten years. He is strong. He is a man in a child’s body. He wears his courageous and mighty mask all too well. But behind that powerful stare, I see a child. A beautiful, innocent child. A child of God. I see pain in his eyes. A pain I have never known. My struggles I had talked about with God that morning were now laughable. What do I know about struggles?
And his name. Oh…his name. Lucky. His name is Lucky. An orphaned child living in a rural Ugandan village affected by HIV/AIDS with a high risk of child exploitation and abuse, and his name is Lucky.
I no longer had an appetite for my lunch. I leaned towards the trash can to throw my lunch away but thought of how wasteful that would be. I looked back at my computer monitor, and Lucky was still staring at me. If I could have stuffed my lunch into my monitor so he could have it, I would have done so in a heartbeat.
My life as I had known it had been forever changed.
May 21, 2014
I prayed, and I prayed some more. My husband was on board with my sponsorship plan. That sweet, little angel in the pink, buttoned-up shirt with black, dusty shoes much too big for him consumed my every thought.
I prayed, and I prayed some more. I asked God to please let me know if this was actually His plan for me.
That night I was reading a fantastic, little book called “30 Days with Jesus” by F. LaGard Smith and came across a verse I had read and heard many times before, but this time was different. This time I listened.
James 1:27 (NIV)
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I prayed, and I prayed some more.
May 22, 2014
My mind raced all morning. Was I doing the right thing? Was this a crazy whim? Was this legit? How could I feel such a connection to a child half way around the globe whom I had never even met? What could I possibly even write to him about? This was going to be a huge commitment. Could I follow through? Would I let Lucky down?
And with the click of a button, the compelling, Ugandan warrior with the piercing eyes and perfect, angelic face would enter my life.