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Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Much Will It Cost?

Last week, Hannah and Joseph came running to me in the kitchen. “MOMMY!!! Look, look! You see? You see?”

“Hang on guys, I’m right in the middle of washing dishes. I’ll be with you in a minute.”

“Mommy, look. Please look.”

I sigh deeply. I’m a little irritated. My sink is still half full of dishes. But I wipe my hands and kneel down. “What is it pumpkins?”

And I realize what they’re holding. Somehow they’ve managed to unearth the latest World Vision catalog from my ever-growing stack of junk mail. You’re probably familiar, but World Vision is one of the world’s largest mercy ministry organizations. They publish a bi-annual catalog full of gifts that can be purchased for the world’s poor… gifts of food, clothing, clean water and other necessity items.

Hannah and Joseph are pointing at the catalog…“Mommy, look. Dis boy.”

Oh, wow. They are pointing to a picture of a little boy from Uganda (he’s on page 21 if you have a copy of the Spring/Summer 2011 catalog). He’s suffering from malnutrition and his little belly is swollen with worms and parasites from the filthy water he drinks.

“Mommy, what wrong with boy? Why he sad?”

And I’m thinking, well this is ridiculous. Am I going to sit here on my well-fed rear end and explain to Hannah and Joseph about hunger and thirst? Am I really going to explain about malnutrition and dirty water to two children who spent the first years of their lives living in poverty more extreme than I could even fathom? Am I going to explain to Joseph, who now has massive holes in both ear drums due to chronic, untreated ear infections, about lack of medicine and medical attention in third world countries? Seriously?

Well, I’m their Mommy, so guess I’ll try. “Guys, this little boy is sick. He doesn’t have enough food. He doesn’t have clean water. He doesn’t have medicine or a doctor to help him get better.”

Hannah and Joseph are very, very serious and quiet for a minute. And then Hannah says “Mommy, me help. Me help boy.” And Joseph says “Me help too!”

“Well, we can help guys. We can send money to Uganda and help this little boy and his brothers and sisters and his friends. Do you want to do that?”

And Hannah says “YES!!! Me get my toof money now.”

Hannah recently had a tooth pulled at the dentist. She was given a $1 gift from the Daddy Tooth Fairy which she proudly placed in her treasure box. She often opens the box just to look at the money and will remind me or Madeline or whoever happens by, “look, my money!”

This is the only bit of money this child has ever had. And without a moment’s hesitation, she’s ready to part with it if it’ll give another child a better life.

Hannah gets it. She’s only been in America for three months, but she’s fed and clothed and healthy. And to her, it’s pretty obvious that the little boy in Uganda needs that dollar way more than she does. She didn’t stop and run through a mental checklist of the things she can’t have if she does give her money away.

Amy Carmichael said this: “Satan is so much more in earnest than we are–he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.”

I know Jesus calls us to count the costs -- but while we sit around and consider whether or not it's "worth it" for us to get involved, children suffer and die.

Today there are 163 million orphans in the world. Today 30,000 children will die of preventable causes.
 I'm pretty sure this is not what Jesus meant when He said "count the costs."

We are commanded to care for the orphan. When the Lord puts a need on our hearts and in front of our eyes, let us respond quickly and in earnest. We are our brother's keeper.

The Owens are just one family. We can't fix Africa, solve the orphan crisis or change the world. But with the Lord working through us, we can change one little corner of it.

Hannah & Joseph, spring 2010:

Hannah & Joseph today:

Where can you make a difference?


Nancy said...

I love how Hannah gets it! She knows she will be taken care of. Her needs will be met. So she now wants to use whatever she has to help others. I wish all of us (including me!) could get it as clearly and completely as she does!!

Courtney said...

Love their sweet hearts! Thanks for sharing.

Lara said...

Love this.

stephanie garcia said...

This is such a beautiful post. "From the mouths of babes," indeed.

Heather said...

I stumbled across your blog just recently, and I have to say that God has blessed me through it. Your family is truly beautiful. Your spirit is beautiful.

The Fruitful Family said...

Oh girl. You never stop, do you? Good. Please don't. EVER.

Precious Hannah. Thank you, sweet girl. You are storing up treasures in heaven. I can't wait to see you walking on those streets of gold praising your mighty Lord. Laying your jewel-encrusted crown at His feet. Oh, glory!

Love you, crazy Owen's family!

Chasity said...

Shelly O! You are making me cry. Oh, sweet Hannah! She gets it. She so gets it. May we ALL get it!

Alison said...

Oh Shelly, I have tears in my eyes...what precious hearts! And we have had an amazing weekend with some children from Uganda...they took a piece of my heart with them when they left today!!!

jkseevers said...

amazing. I am continually amazed at how God is breaking my heart for the things that break His... why did I never see any of this before? This journey of adoption has totally changed both my hubby and my heart for what is really important, what really matters. I'm humbled that the Lord is choosing us to be the ones that make a difference. May He continue to break our hearts, and open sooo many others eyes to the lost and hurting in the world.

Joshua and Hilary said...

LOVE this! Oh if we could all have hearts like Hannah's!

Audrey @ The Brown Brigade said...

That is beautiful!

Counting it all JOY! said...

Love, Love, Love this!!! Praising God for how he is speaking so Loudly to me through you, Shelly!!! Love you my dear sister!!!

ASH said...

Beautiful and challenging. Thanks for sharing this.

Kim said...

Tears were streaming down my face reading this post....love,love,love their hearts!