Too Small To Ignore“I learned in my childhood in Africa that a child may be born in poverty but poverty is never born in a child. The worst aspects of poverty are not the deplorable outward conditions, but rather the erosion and eventual destruction of hope and therefore dreams.”

Too Small To Ignore
Dr. Wess Stafford

Now that is an intense statement. One that requires reflection; allowing ourselves to read and re-read each word carefully, grasping at understanding.

Have you grasped it?

Even with my draw to aid children in poverty, I still struggle with getting it. I mean really getting it.

The Lord has taken me on many a great adventure. He has been my tour guide, my leader, even my travel buddy! And anyone who has traveled knows how important the buddy system is. :)

He gives me these glimpses into poverty, into what a majority of the world is faced with, and I dive into them with all my emotion, mind and heart. I studiously grapple with realities that are too surreal for me to comprehend.

I have seen immense lack of materials and absence of love, but I know I cannot rely on just experiences to fuel my passion. Especially when my desire is to do all things unto the Lord, and that can’t be put on hold when I’m just not feeling it.

But all is not lost. I simply read. That’s right … I am constantly reading. That person who is reading four books at one time … that’s me. I always have two books in my purse and even two journals. So, most times when I am in line or waiting somewhere I am either writing or reading.

I have come to see that my passion for social justice and my desire for reading are more intermingled than I realized. Reading helps me remember. It takes the disconnect I sometimes feel and lessens the gap.

For example, I read this from Too Small To Ignore (which was one of the four I was reading),

“Some people think the earth can’t keep up with the food needs of its population. That is not true. In fact, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared at a World Food Summit in Rome that the planet could produce enough food for every one of us to have a daily diet of 2,720 calories.”

And,

“The likelihood of a little Haitian child making it to his or her fifth birthday is so small that many parents do not even entrust their child with a name until then. They refer to the toddler as ti chape, ‘my little escapee.’ In other words, this little one has dodged death up to now, but who knows if he will actually survive? So why bother giving him a real name? We can always do that later, if needed.”

Hard to read? Yes! Does it help restore me to godly perspective? Yes.

Because, to be honest, today I have quite a few projects I am juggling at work, then I have to go grocery shopping (milk, bread and something with chocolate), I’d like to go on a run, then it is off to Bible study, then laundry … and all through this my passion is attempting to dodge the humdrum of everyday life so I can keep perspective. Although, many times, my fervent enthusiasm takes a back seat and the gap gets a little wider.

God knows me, I mean He truly knows me and He knows how to encourage me and it usually comes in the form of something I read. He lessens the gap. He gives me the proper lens to look through.

How does He encourage you? When all you wish you could do is fly over to the country where your sponsored child lives and give him or her a hug, how do you keep the passion?

Maybe it’s reading for you, too. Maybe it’s reading their letters. Or even writing. Perhaps today you can write him or her a letter.

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  1. Ken M.
    Feb 3, 2009
    at 5:58 am

    I can’t say that I am always connected but I use different things to help keep the passion in me. I will look at my children’s pictures and reread their letters. Reading this blog on a daily basis has given me insight that I didn’t have in the past. Praying for my children and asking God to help me say words of love and encouragement in my letters helps to keep the fire burning. I have always been interested in my children’s culture. Plus I tell a few of my friends about my children and one of them refers to himself as their uncle.

  2. Feb 3, 2009
    at 7:08 am

    The Lord encourages me though the beauty and majesty of His creation. The enormous displays of a sunset sky stops me in my tracks everytime. Colors that defy description; granduer that appears limitless, these things bring me back to a perspective that the God of the universe, the creator of the heavens and earth, this incomprehensibly huge power that orchestrates my day and penetrates me every thought, does the same for those in need. In the same way that He sees me and knows me, so He also sees them and hears them and loves them. My child in Bolivia and I are the same.

  3. Joyce
    Feb 3, 2009
    at 8:45 am

    When I am aching because I can’t give more, I go to the Compassion website, look at the child photos, and pray for some of the children by name, especially those whose eyes reflect pain. I ask the Lord to give them sponsors who will build a relationship with them, faithfully love and constantly cheer for them. I pray for each dear one to gain hope and dare to aspire to greatness in serving his/her countrymen and the Kingdom of God. And when I read a post in this blog about a giant of the faith — like Milord, in “Haiti News: Changing Children within the Community” — I am overcome with gratitude to the Lord, because there is living proof that he answers this kind of prayer.

  4. Feb 3, 2009
    at 10:32 am

    Yes, reading helps me, too, especially re-reading letters from my girls.

    Joyce, I like what you do in looking at pic’s of children on the website and praying for them. Maybe I can remember to do that. The risk, always, is that I will ache to sponsor the ones who reach out through the screen and clench my heart, but that’s the risk of love, isn’t it?

  5. Ken M.
    Feb 3, 2009
    at 3:14 pm

    Joyce,
    I used to go to the Compassion Website and pray over pictures of specific children. I got away from doing this on a regular basis. After reading your entry, I’m thinking it would be good to start doing it again.
    Ken

  6. Kathy
    Feb 3, 2009
    at 4:58 pm

    I also think that going to the website (or the child packets we have in hand) and praying for the children by name is a wonderful idea! I’ll join you.

  7. Feb 3, 2009
    at 8:48 pm

    Pray for 7 year old Kevin from Bolivia. I had his child packet, but I couldn’t find him a sponsor and now he’s on the website with a big red heart next to him. I know the project where he is. I sponsor 3 children there. It’s a wonderful place. If someone sponsors him, the next time, I go out there, I’d be happy to maybe take some pictures of him.

    Kees

  8. Barbara M.
    Feb 4, 2009
    at 9:43 am

    I also find reading helpful in keeping me connected. One book in particular that is always encouraging and inspiring to me when I read it , and I have read it more than once, is Amber Van Schooneveld’s “Hope Lives.” When I get to feeling a little “hopeless” about things this book is ALWAYS is a source of encouragement to me. Thank you Amber!

  9. […] a Social Worker, Sunday School Teacher, Doctor or Engineer?  I’ll never forget hearing Wess Stafford share about one of his own sponsored children that he met.  The child was particularly afraid to […]

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