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More in Letters
Will you connect with a child?
To the Editor:
I've heard stories of people living a modest life, or even a life of poverty, when right below their homes existed a vein of oil or natural gas. They had lived the majority of their lives not knowing that this life-enriching vein existed right beneath them. But they were unable to see it. So near, yet so far. Thus they continued to live with barely enough to eat, instead of an abundance from which they could actually give to others. They continued to labor, to press on with the hope that one day they could achieve the fullness of life and joy that seemed to elude them. Yet all the while the avenue to plenty, lay quietly and unsuspected beneath them. Day by day they walked right over it .... not knowing.
I have recently come to know a similar experience. The only difference being, that the "life enriching ingredient" was not oil or gas, it was a sorrow that I had not allowed myself to experience. It was not hidden from my sight as the oil was; indeed, I had many opportunities to see it but instead I chose not to. In order to uncover this "life enriching" power, I had to face a sorrow I did not want to face. I had to allow my heart to experience something that I had always turned away from. This something came to me experientially with the help of two precious twin babies from Ethiopia. My daughter and son-in-law chose to adopt from Ethiopia. They had learned of the daily challenges the Ethiopians face merely to survive. Clean water being one, poor soil for crops another, and a little mosquito carrying a deadly disease, to name just a few.My daughter, these two little babies, and their Country that is filled with need, introduced me to a vein of power and joy not beneath my feet, but within my heart.Which up until that time had laid dormant.
As our family began a journey into the life of those who live on the barren ground of African soil, our hearts began to break and yet grow, to become more fertile. I could feel it as sure as I could feel a nutritious meal filling my stomach. It began when my children started the research into "what country's children have the greatest need"... it grew with every statistic, with every picture along the way. As a steel drill was the instrument used to pierce the vein of oil and release the power beneath, sorrow was clearly the instrument used to release the power of love that laid beneath the surface of my heart.
When my children went to Ethiopia to receive their son, they experienced a poverty they did not expect. And surprisingly they found it not in the streets of Ethiopia, but in themselves. There was a type of poverty in Ethiopia....oh yes. One of resources and opportunity. Rain was scarce, good soil was not to be found, good health was the rarest of all. But there was a joy and a love that ran richly down the dirt roads of the communities. Closeness of heart was everywhere. My daughter told me how she felt bankrupt. There was a poverty of heart that revealed itself in the streets of one of the poorest places on earth. She wanted more ... more of what they had. She had gone to Ethiopia to give, and yet she knew that she had just received. She had received a gift from these people who had nothing tangible to give. They did not even have refrigerators, plumbing, electricity, surgery, or running water. But they had a joy, and their joy was found in each other.... games to be played, beauty to be enjoyed, conversations to be shared, and a sweet fellowship with their God.
Our kids did not originally intend on adopting twins. Their little son Tesfahun was brought sorrowfully to the orphanage at 24 days of age with diarrhea as it became apparent that he was not going to survive (3,800 children die every... every day, from diarrhea or a disease associated with lack of clean drinking water). Three months later his twin Mulugeta arrived with chronic pneumonia. His parents tried desperately to keep him, but in order to save his life they had to give him up also. He slipped into critical condition and the U.S. embassy secured a hasty home-going to America where he could receive the medical attention he needed in order to live. Every day over 3,500 children die from hunger and easily preventable diseases. Can you even imagine that? I can not. Actually I just lied to you. The number of children that die every day for lack of a good meal and clean water is over 25,000. Every day.
Finally ... I became aware of a world of need beyond my own. I thought of these children during the day... when I awoke at night... when I took my plentiful shower ... when I cleaned out my refrigerator. My heart was being pierced through with sorrow, but at the same time it was becoming more alive. This vein of love was being tapped. This led us to an organization that has been helping children such as these for over 50 years. We now sponsor several children from Africa and India. Herein I found my "life enriching vein." How had I missed it for most of my life? For $1 a day per child I struck oil. They write to us, to thank us. We write to them, to thank them. Through child sponsorship their communities are lifted out of poverty and equipped to become self sufficient. The pooled monies provide wells, drought tolerant crops, vaccinations, education, and even micro loans to start income generating businesses.
I actually became a Child Ambassador. I am one who attempts to connect those who have a dollar a day to spare, with those who desperately need clean water and an opportunity to become self sufficient. Are you one? Could I connect you with a little child today? How often do you get a chance to save a life? Would you consider it now? Go to www.worldvision.org. When you see their faces the drill will start. I would like to leave you with some quotes from Albert Einstein.
"All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development afforded the individual."
"It has become appallingly apparent that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
"Only a life lived for others is worthwhile."
"The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive."
"A perfection of means, and confusion of aim, seems to be our main problem."