Fanatics: Part 1
Recently, I was filled with thankfulness and love after I had a facetime call with my Sister, her husband, and their three year old son, James. As they readied for bedtime and we caught up about each other’s lives, James happily jumped and squirmed around on the bed with a smile. As our conversation continued, James was giving and receiving hugs and kisses. So much love! When I see my sister living a similar loving life as we lived as kids, I can only be extremely thankful for her and her family!
Amidst the busy life of raising a family, keeping a household, and growing in their marriage, I must make an observation about my sister’s family: the love does not stop at their front door. Generosity in almost every form is also found. They are generous financially to family and friends. They have extra bedrooms to offer others a place to stay when needed. They work hard at their jobs, as though they work for the Lord. They have shared their home with her husband’s parents for a few years, which helps with their health concerns. This is extremely fruitful and flows from their faith in Jesus!
But my sister and her husband do not stop there! They are also monthly givers to The Hope Center Uganda! Out of their very servant minded and missional minded household is not only a family and local effort, but also a worldwide effort. And out of pure coincidence they have been supporting and pen-paling with a Ugandan girl for a few years through another organization.
Now, do not mistake my intentions, because writing this is not to brag about my sister and her family. After I finished my facetime call with them, the love that I witnessed given to my nephew James reminded me of a verse from the book of James! “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” –James 1:27.
Before we jump into the obvious reasoning of this verse about orphans, I’d like to examine the ending first, “and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” In this piece of the verse, James was referring to how the “world” displays values and behaviors that are opposite or against God. And I often wonder that in our very loving and well-intended efforts to cultivate faith filled, loving households as followers of Christ, we unintentionally box ourselves in and forget what God is calling us to do in the first part of the verse. Especially in the United States, we can be wrapped up in the many comforts of living here. And this can make us seem stuck as followers of Christ.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,” Notice what is not mentioned in that piece of the verse, “visit orphans and widows, unless you are married and have children” It doesn’t say, “visit orphans and widows, unless you have a demanding career.” It doesn’t say, “visit orphans and widows, unless you read the Bible every day and go to church every Sunday.” No, there are no exceptions listed. No matter how busy, no matter how hectic, God singles out orphans and widows, who are in great need and in “affliction”. This world can distract us so easily! But if we keep our focus on what God is calling us to do in his word, our actions can equal to something so much more worth it!
Earlier this spring a shocking story was told to us by our social worker, Moreen. In the city of Mityana a woman had been going to the restroom that had a messy trash pit area behind it. While she was there, the woman heard cries from an infant behind her. Sadly, she looked behind her to see a baby wrapped in a dirty sheet that had been left in the trashy pit behind the restroom. The woman picked up the child and brought it to the authorities. As you read this I ask you to pause and ask you pray specifically for this child and for any and all children that are in similar situations in Uganda and throughout the world….
The child, named Tendo Trust is now safe at her new home at the Hope Center Uganda! Praise be to God that the authorities contacted our social worker, Moreen and after running tests and cleaning Tendo up from being left in a restroom trash pit is safe and healthy!
Can we save all orphans in the world? Probably not. But God has given us a gift in the Hope Center Uganda: a community in Mityana, Uganda that is full of need and is waiting for someone to help. In addition to this gift is the trustworthy friends of the US Task Force that promote the daily needs and awareness of HCU. Every cent donated is spent on the Ugandan staff and the children of HCU. God’s gift to us: The Hope Center. God’s call to us: make it thrive in the name of Jesus!
As I write this, I hold the supporters of The Hope Center in prayer and give thanks to you all! The children of HCU cannot reach their basic needs without each of you! You are all the solution! Each month all of our supporters give and care about the children and staff of HCU even though their own lives are full. It is amazing when those of us here in the US are busy with our career goals, parenting kids, focusing on friends, the list goes on. Yet because the Holy Spirit working in our hearts we still give priority to the children of the Hope Center!
And it does not rest on our shoulders alone. We give and care about HCU together and with prayer to God! Together we can give children that have been forgotten or are unwanted or abandoned the same love that my nephew James receives. When we receive pictures or when we travel to visit HCU, we witness the powerful smiles and laughter from the children. They have been saved from affliction and given hope! Together we can be one united team of hope providing solutions and love to the children that are in desperate need of Mityana, Uganda.
Michael, Task Force Member