Becky (one of the amazing Missionaries we came to serve along side-her blog is listed my blog list on the right) informed me that my sponsored child lived quite a distance from where we were located and how much it would cost for the Pastor to bring him to meet me. I instantly I felt guilty about having him come, my first thought was to just send the family pictures and few gifts I had brought for him with the money we would spend on travel so that it could bless the family taking care of him. After some prayer and heart searching I just felt like the Lord said "Relationship" relationships are what its all about. Becky graciously made the plans for him to come and met us. I am SO grateful! and SO glad we got the chance to meet. What a wonderful opportunity it was to meet this wonderful child!
Little Mohamed and Pastor Sahr came late that Tuesday morning after traveling almost 5 hours one way, public transport. Wow! I still can't believe it. He was wearing the same shirt he had on, in the picture that was sent to me with his packet, no doubt the best shirt he had. As I hugged his neck for the first time I could see all the holes and tears on the collar that you can't see from the front. I wonder what that poor child was thinking with this crazy woman hugging him to death! (Have I mentioned that 'crazy' in creole sounds like Chris). We sat down at the table and fed them, after all they had been on the road a very long time. At first I spoke mostly to Pastor, asking him questions while they both ate. When he was almost done eating I gave him a couple cookies for dessert, but he was more interested in the fresh pineapple. Pastor told me that further in country were they live Pineapple is expensive and more of a luxury, that it was maybe only the 4th or 5th time all year that he himself has had some, so little Mohamed might have not had any at all. Well, he ate every bite and pocketed the cookies for later!
His parents died in an accident over two years ago, he and his little brother live together with his Auntie (a friend of their mother's). She has two of her own children but somehow cares for two more. They all live in one room, of a 7 room house with 6 other families. There is a well they get to share, and his auntie sells water for money for them to survive.
He showed me how he could write by copying an information sheet about himself that the pastor had. He enjoyed writing for me, although he couldn't read all of what he was writing. He said math was his favorite in school and he then started writing out some math problems for me to solve (now, I'm sure all my close friends are wondering if I could do them, HA!) I did, and he checked my work with a check mark & a "very good" just like the teacher does at his school, so funny! I asked "what else he liked?" I wanted to get as much info as I could about who he was and what he like to do-- as much as I could learn. Pastor asked him and he said he liked motorbikes, I was so excited. Little did this child know that my boys had picked out and sent two little motorcycle toys for him to take home. I said "Oh, I have something for you!" and went into the other room to get them. As I type this, I can't stop crying! How amazing it is, that the Lord had that little blessing in His plans.
His smile is amazing and he would answer my questions with the raise of his eyebrows, so cute! He had no problem learning how to use my itouch and take pictures with my camera. He loved taking his own pictures! He took these below.
We went outside to visit & play. I told him each of our names, pointing to our family pictures that I brought for him and that we think of him as family, pray for him everyday, that we love him and that God loves him more! Before he left, he called me Mama Chris which is how I introduced us in the pictures - Mama Chris, Papa Justin, Zeke, Gideon, Levi, & little sister Isabel (now that could translate to Crazy Mama I guess, and he probably thought I was crazy -I'm sure he hadn't been hugged on so much in years!) I don't know who may be reading this, but if you know me at all; you know I would bring this precious boy (and his little brother) home with me in a heartbeat. As of right now, I can't but I can help him this way. For the cost of eating out at our favorite restaurant on a Sunday afternoon we can make sure that this boy is given the chance to have a bright future. Now, for us is that even a sacrifice? It is so WORTH it! Every penny, even if it was my last one.
We were able to send home with him and Pastor snacks for their long journey home and a small bag of goodies (clothes, underwear, socks, jump rope & frisbee) for him, his brother and the giving family who cares for them both. He instantly took off his "nice" tennis shoes and put on the flip flops I gave him. I was also able to send money so that Pastor could buy the family a bag of rice (that will help feed them for a month).
Before leaving for Africa my awesome husband helped our children put their hand prints in my journal. This is where I kept my thoughts, happenings and prayers during my trip. I showed Mohamed all four of my children's hand prints and then we added his hand to the page where I wrote about our day together. He wrote his name at the top. I might not have had pretty paints like my husband did, but Mohamed's page is just as beautiful to me as the rest.
If you have ever considered orphan sponsorship, or feel like its something you might be interested in, I encourage you to check into it. You don't have to fly across the world to change the life of a child. With what we consider a very small amount of money you can make a huge difference in the life of someone who desperately needs it. A letter and a picture of a person who wants to help them thrive, will leave an amazing smile on the face of a child and a lasting knowledge in their heart that they have value and that there is someone out who cares.
We sponsor Mohamed through http://restorehopeproject.org/orphan_family_care.html
Funny story: Right before he left that day, Ms. Becky gave him something and he didn't say anything in return, I tapped him on the shoulder and said "you say tankee" (which is how they say thank you). Pastor Sahr thought that was so funny. I told him, "Sorry, I can't help it. I'm a Mama".
I started the post on the date at the top, and just finished it today July 12th, 2011. I can't figure out how to change the date (sorry this took me so long to finish! Bless you for reading!)