One by One

One by one they won hearts. They weren’t exactly handpicked. They just won our hearts. It is usually our first trip to Africa that gets us woven into their lives. Sponsoring a child in Africa isn’t by happenstance. Sometimes I think it is God pairing us up and sometimes I think it is some wise mother. Usually I just think it is just the way it should be no matter how it got that way. Hillary was the first, along with Henry. They found their place in my husband’s heart. He didn’t really ever figure out just what it was. A lump came in his throat and tears usually followed when he would remember Hillary. With Henry it may have been his shy smile and eager eyes. We really don’t know. Then there were the two girls Stephanie couldn’t get off her mind, Fauzia and Harriet. Billy was a surprise as he had been volunteer teaching in the school even though he hadn’t even finished his high school education. He just loves teaching kids and was willing to do it for free. He was a shoe in for winning our hearts! Just hearing about him inspired Susanna (a young girl with only an allowance) to send him to school. The next trip brought Boo and Elvin together and Betty took on cook Betty’s girls. With witnessing a sharing of lunches Cory lost her heart to two boys, Sam and Juma. One winter Joel impressed Lynda and she committed to helping him finish school so his dream of becoming a lawyer could be a possibility. Jackie had a dream that a white man she could only define as Jesus told her help was on the way for her schooling. She was distraught because she had just lost her school funding and didn’t know what she was going to do. Just one more year and she could apply to the university.
Like I said, one by one they became part of the HELP family. These are all kids who are not in the HELP School since they are older than our students but kids that are being “sponsored” . In this case that means their schooling is getting paid. Schooling involves school fees, school lunches, uniform and school supplies. This can run as little as $10 a month (more like $30 a month for high school students) and makes a world of difference to these young people. Many of them have sat out of school so much that they are way too old for the class they are in but that doesn’t seem to matter much. They are so very grateful to get to continue their education. We are grateful for the chance to give them hope in their future and be a part of their lives. 
I have been particularly involved with this group of kids. Some of the sponsors have changed. Some are not still being sponsored for one reason or another. But most are a few years further along in their studies than when we first met them. I can’t help but be really proud of them. I am the lucky one. I get to meet with them and call them my friends. They are maturing. Their number has grown. We now have Pricillar, Annette Peace, Michael, and Joel the artist numbering the group a dozen. . Five are in boarding school which is a bit more expensive but the only solution we could figure out for the circumstances they were in (one was being strangled by a step parent, one was a street kid mortally afraid of his father, one was sleeping with animals and not eating unless he was at school, one was sleeping in a church rejected by his mother). All have won our hearts. I think I can speak for the sponsors in saying we receive more than we give. It is so good to give a young person a chance! It is so rewarding to know you have made a real difference in a young life! It is very personal when you receive a letter telling you they are praying for you and eternally grateful for your help. You become their heroes even though all you may be doing is giving up some small unimportant thing to be able to send the money they so desperately need. In some cases they would not still be alive today without this intervention. In all cases they would not have the schooling and promise of a future. God says He has plans for us. Plans for good and not for evil. Plans to give us a future and a hope. We are getting to play a part in God’s plan for these 12 children. Just wonderful if you ask me!