This is my niece, Kathryn. Do I get to take credit for her? 'Cuz I do..... <3
I have always been one for adventure, to do something spontaneous or random. So when I heard that Aunt Deb was going to Africa, my wheels started turning. And if you ask anyone that knows me, once my wheels start turning, they do not stop. Ever. So Aunt Deb was going to Africa and I figured that I might as well ask her if I could come along. I mean why not? What other kid in eighth grade could say they have been to Africa? I figured it would just be the best vacation that I had ever taken and I would get to meet my new cousin first. Score. When Deb told me that I was more than welcome to come I was ecstatic. I knew that I was going to have an amazing time. What I didn’t know was that this trip was going to change my life forever.
When I first had the idea of going on the trip I honestly thought it would be like a vacation. Obviously not a trip to the Bahamas or anything, but I figured we were going to experience a new place and have a good time. But I finally began to get that that was not it at all when Deb started to explain what we were doing. We were going to raise money to take things that the little kids needed. We were going to help build a school. Ok, this was obviously not a vacation. We were going to help out. We were going to serve. I got it.
We landed in Uganda and I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Needless to say, my eyes were opened on that trip. The kids that were “lucky” enough to be in the orphanages had to live under terrible conditions. It was dirty, some of them were naked, and for dinner they had the bare minimum. When a little baby boy was crying he was stuck in this gated area that looked like a cage. He screamed. No one paid any attention to him. He was given no love. He was abandoned.
On that trip, I developed this passion that I never felt before. I had never had such strong feelings about anything. This passion was for the orphan. I felt like I would do anything to advocate for them or to show them that God loves them. Developing this passion helped me figure out why God gave me the curiosity to go on that trip. And most importantly, it helped me figured out what we have to do.
I grew up in the church and knew that we are supposed to live our life for God. But I just figured that doing the dishes once and awhile and inviting the lonely kid to sit with me at lunch would cover it. But I was so wrong. Of course doing those little things is great because we are showing God’s love. But I don’t think we realize what God wrote out in black and white for us. It is not up for interpretation. It is not hard to understand.
“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.” James 1:27
That is the only way to live out pure religion. We must do what Jesus did while he was on earth. He calls us to care after the orphans and widows. To care after the abandoned. They are abandoned. They have no one. People here have no idea. We choose not to see these people or give a thought about them because it is too hard to believe. Too hard for us to let it break our hearts. But if everyone has this mind set, who is going to help these innocent people? These kids who have no one? We have to. Christians were specifically told to. If we don’t, then who will? Everyone needs to open their eyes. Everyone needs to hear the horrifying stories of what these children have to live through. They need to see it. Because once they have seen it they will realize that they have to help, just like I did.
"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Prov. 24:12
We have been called to act. We must act. We have to help. We have to be Jesus’ hands and feet. We have to spread His love to the ends of the earth. There has to be a change in this world. We must be the change.