Saturday, December 29, 2012
Just say "Yes!"
Last week, I sent money to Uganda so the boys could have a nice Christmas. It was their first Christmas in the home, so even though money has been super stretched, I stretched it even further. In Uganda, a lot of families go somewhere on Christmas. So they were going to get to have a chicken dinner(they love chicken, but rarely have it because it is too expensive.) and go to the botanical gardens and play. I also sent some money so they could each have a small gift. It was the equivalent of about $5.
I talked to the boys the day after and asked how Christmas was and what they did. The went to church, then to the slum, then to the beach(the gardens increased their entrance fee too much). I asked why they went to the slum.
Turns out the day before, when the boys found out they would be getting a small gift, they said they wanted even less so they could do something for the boys still on the streets. So they took even less for themselves and went to visit their friends still on the streets and gave them bread and milk for Christmas.
I have never been prouder of these boys. Their hearts continue to amaze and humble me.
I wish I could take credit.
I wish I could say look what these boys have done because of me.
But it isn't because of me. It never was and never will be.
These boys know what it is to live on the streets and fight through each day. They know what it is to sleep alone outside in the cold. They know what it is to have to choose between not eating or eating from the trash pile. They know what it is to watch another holiday go by with nothing. They know what it is to be arrested and beaten because they don't have a family or a home. They know what it is to not be loved. They know what it is to watch other boys get a chance and be certain theirs is never coming. They know.
There is a man that I always see at the farmer's market. He is older, probably in his late 60s or 70s, and we never talked until recently. He asked me if I was a missionary and what I did in Uganda. After I told him, he said he wanted to help and handed me a $20.
I thought that was the end of it.
Almost every time I have seen him since then, he has given me something. One time he stopped and talked more and told me he knew hunger and he knew cold. He was a prisoner of war. He knew.
I didn't have to teach the boys compassion. I didn't have to teach them empathy. No one had to teach that man either. Their compassion comes from a place of not wanting anyone to suffer like they did.
They didn't give out of their plenty. They gave because they realized being a friend and easing someone else's suffering is more important than anything they could ever purchase with that money.
I know I have said it so many times, but it needs to be said again. I am so grateful to God for bringing these boys into my life. My life has been forever changed because of them. I don't know how I got so lucky to have them in my life, but I promise you I am the lucky one. I could have chosen to walk away a long time ago, when things got difficult and didn't go my way. But I am so thankful I listened. Listened to the plan He had for me. Listened to Him calling me to Uganda and urging me to take one more, just one more.
Friends, we always have a choice. We don't have to listen to His calling. The great thing about God is He loves us enough to give us the freedom to make our own choices. And He loves us enough to pick up the pieces when we go our own way and everything blows up in our faces.
But I can tell you this, you will never know joy like the joy that comes from listening to Him. It is a joy that never goes away even when times are difficult. It is a joy that lets you smile even when everything is seemingly falling apart. A joy that never leaves you because you have seen God's work first hand and know how lucky you are that He chose you to be a part of it. Of all the people in the world, He asked you.
Will you answer?