In the last five and a half years, I’ve “lost” four sponsored children. Two left our program fairly early in my sponsorship before I really had a chance to build a relationship with them. One I sponsored for a while and even visited her. But, her child development center closed several months ago.
But it’s not these girls that continually come to my mind throughout the day. It’s Abigail. It’s Abigail whose letters I go back and reread. It’s Abigail who brings tears to my eyes every time I think of her.
Abigail lives in Ghana, is the youngest of six siblings, and her father died when she was three years old. She was born on the day my grandfather died.
At the time, Abigail was my youngest child and taught me how much I enjoy letters from preschool and early elementary children. We built a relationship and the letters flowed back and forth.
Suddenly, I wasn’t getting as many letters as I had before. I didn’t think much of it. After all, Abigail’s tutors had more to do than just help her write me letters.
Then, a letter came. Her tutor, seeing numerous letters waiting for Abigail, wrote me a letter to say that her uncle had come and taken her to Accra for a while and she would be back soon to answer my letters.
There was nothing in this letter to bring this on, but I resented her uncle for coming and taking her away from the child development center, and let’s be honest, from me.
So, I wasn’t surprised several months later when she departed from the program. What I wasn’t prepared for was the departure letter written by her tutor. Her uncle had come and taken her, trying to help her mother out after the loss of her husband.
After awhile, Abigail’s uncle put her in an orphanage without her mother’s permission. At the time of the letter, Abigail’s mom didn’t know where she was.
I held on hope in the next few months that everything would get straightened out and she would return to her mother and to the development center. But months passed, and now years, but still no word from Ghana.
I eventually sponsored another child, but no one can take Abigail’s place in my heart.
God often brings her to mind and through my tears, I pray. I pray for her and pray that her time with our ministry taught her enough about the God who would never lose her and would always love her as a caring Father. I dream that one day we will see each other and she will tell me how God worked everything out for her good.
So, Abigail, I want you to know that I still love you. I still think about you. And I still pray for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brynn Paine works in our International Program Group as the Field Media Manager, mentoring ESL writers. She currently sponsors 15 children.