I don’t know how they do it, but the sponsored children always seem to turn the tables on us. We visit a country to be a blessing to the children, and end up getting blessed as well, maybe more.
I have a friend who wrote to her child that she was praying for the family, and the child wrote back that they were praying and fasting for her weekly.
Last month, I stopped in Colorado Springs on my way home to Wyoming from Phoenix. I had heard that the Moody Scholars were going to be participating in Compassion’s chapel, and I attended because I greatly wanted to meet them.
Jimmy Wambua, the newest Moody Scholar, was asked to pray during the service. Now, I’m used to praying for children all around the world, but he was praying for all the sponsors. That was really special for me to hear.
Following the service, I was invited to join Tony, Michelle, Richmond and Jimmy (from left to right) for lunch, which was more than I had hoped for.
I was excited to meet each of them because I practically had them on pedestals, like celebrities. Instead, they treated me like a celebrity!
And even though I had lots of questions for them, I ended up answering far more questions than they did.
- How long have you been a sponsor?
- How’d you find out about Compassion?
- Would you tell us about the children you sponsor?
Lunch was anything but a solemn time. These students were funny, joyful, hilarious — teasing each other, and “breaking in” the new member of their group.
It was fun to see them interact with each other in such a positive, loving way.
Michelle had us laughing about the fact that she nearly fell down during her dance presentation in chapel.
Richmond slipped in wisecracks when he could.
Tony’s head was full of jokes and funny stories. He laughed about the lady who thought his country (the Dominican Republic) was in Africa.
Jimmy has apparently come up with nicknames already for the other three; he also joked about coming to the United States so he could sample the food.
But lunch wasn’t all just fun and laughter.
We talked about what they plan to do when they return to their countries in a year.
- Tony wants to bring light and truth to his nation.
- Michelle spoke about discipleship and breaking the cycle of “poverty and corruption.”
- Richmond wants to train pastors in all the different parts of Uganda, since most have no theological training as they share the Word of God.
As Tony explained in chapel, the Leadership Development Program students are lights in their communities — evangelizing, sharing in small groups, standing up in class to argue for the truth, taking leadership roles.
I had thought of the Moody Scholars as stars and celebrities, and perhaps they are, but they are more than that.
The morning after my lunch with them, I read a devotion, Joy in the Journey by Michael Card, which speaks of “North Star People,” and I thought of Michelle, Tony, Richmond and Jimmy:
“When sailors or even astronauts are lost, they look for Polaris, the North Star, to regain their sense of direction. Polaris is a dim, slightly green star, always in the same spot, the tip of the northern axis that goes through the celestial sphere.
“As North Star people we can serve a deeper purpose. When people need us, we can be there for them, pointing the Way. While the world is spinning at a dizzying pace, we can remain grounded to the same spot, less dazzling but unmovable.
“Jesus was a North Star person. According to Isaiah there was nothing in his appearance that seemed especially brilliant.
“In his time there were far more dazzling messianic stars who came and went with a flash. But Jesus has always remained there, rooted to the same place in the universe, unmovable.
“Jesus constantly calls out to us to turn around and behold the dazzling dimness of his light, as it shines in this present world — to find our way to it, and then to find our way by it.”
I had thought of these Moody scholars as bright stars and celebrities, but discovered they are normal, ordinary people, shining the way towards Jesus.
They are fixed in their beliefs, principles, passion and purpose. They will be solid, unmoving leaders for the present and for the future, grounded in our North Star, Jesus.
Before I left, Michelle started giving me some candies from the Philippines.
I said, “That’s enough — you can stop,” and she replied, “It’s just that I love you so much!”
When I got in the car and popped one in my mouth, I wish I’d taken the whole bag (They’re that good!). But I also thought, “Wow, the tables turned again … these Moody scholars ended up giving far more ‘sweetness’ to me than I could ever give to them.”
Precious students and friends, indeed.