My joy for today is an orphan named Farouk.
Last night, Noah was exhibiting the early signs of a cold. When we woke up this morning, it had reared its ugly head. Since we had to miss church this morning, we made cinnamon rolls, danced and worshipped to gospel music, and introduced Noah to our newly sponsored orphan, Farouk.
We are partnering with our church, and following the amazing examples of generosity and care for the least of these by our friends Greg and Brandi (www.brandisthoughts.com), in sponsoring an orphanage in Uganda (more on these wonderful friends in a future post). Each family that is able sponsors a child for $34 a month, which covers basic medical needs, education, and general care. Even more importantly, we pledge to make Farouk a part of our family, through letter writing and possible visits in the future. When we began to explain Farouk, who is 12 years old, to Noah, who is 4 years old, the ensuing conversation made my heart soar.
Me: Noah, this is a new member of our family (while showing him the picture of a beautiful, smiling, 12-year-old boy standing in front of a shack with no windows and a tin roof). He lives in Africa (which he is familiar with from past conversations). He doesn’t have a mommy or daddy so we are going to be part of his family and help take care of him.
Noah: What?! He doesn’t have a mommy or daddy?
Chad: No. Isn’t that sad?
Noah: Yes! Why is he smiling if he is sad?
Me: Why do you think he is smiling?
Noah: (after a few seconds of hesitation) Because he has God and Jesus!
Chad: That is absolutely right Noah. Isn’t that amazing that he is still so happy even though he doesn’t have a mommy or daddy?
Noah: Does he have toys?
Me: No, he probably doesn’t have very many toys, and maybe not enough food to eat either.
Noah: I know! We can go to Africa and bring him toys and money!
The conversation continued for a while; discussing how we would send him money so that the people who take care of him can buy him toys, food, and medicine. Noah kept practicing his name, which was so precious. We also talked about the parallel between Farouk being alone and scared at times without his mommy and daddy and Noah being scared and alone in his room at times. I believe the connections were made and he internalized another example of having Jesus with him always.
Noah’s response to Farouk’s status in the world as an orphan was so simple. Let’s take care of him! How is it that we lose that joy and ease in giving as we age? Of course, that answer is very complicated and cannot be even slightly explored in this blog post. However, the young people in my life reminded me of such simple truths today. From Noah, if someone is in need, we can help him. From Farouk and his precious smile in the midst of overwhelming poverty and loneliness, we are reminded that we can smile no matter what our situation or circumstances because we have the joy of Jesus. It is an honor that the Lord has entrusted us with assisting with his care. We are so happy to welcome him into our family and look forward to watching him grow over the years.
For more information on how you can sponsor a child in need and experience this particular joy, please visit http://www.hopechest.org.