Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Little Starfish

I recently attended a seminar in Kampala about what Uganda calls OVC children (orphaned and vulnerable children). Statistically, there are over 2.5 million orphans in Uganda (yep- I said Uganda, not Africa). Half of Uganda’s population is under 15 years old.

Sometimes this work can be overwhelming when you just look at the numbers. You want to do more. Make a bigger impact. 108 is lost in the sea of 2.5 million. Am I really making a difference at all?

But in these moments the Lord is always so kind to remind me of a poem I read in one of those email forwards (the ones you usually delete without even opening them).  This was the poem:

One day an old man was walking down the beach just before dawn.  In the distance he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.  As the old man approached the young man, he asked, "Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?"  The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.  The old man exclaimed, "But there must be thousands of starfish.  How can your efforts make any difference?"  The young man looked down at the starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said," It makes a difference to this one!"


 And to THIS ONE!

And to THIS ONE!

And I could continue posting 108 photos. And with each of those beautiful faces I look at I can tell a story of how far the Lord has brought them. And how our Heavenly Father is has and continues to restore HOPE in the lives of the hopeless. I am reminded that these are not just photos taken from “that one time I went to Africa” but these are my sisters and brothers. These are children who I love dearly. These are friends who I have watched grow up, who I have helped to counsel and guide in the ways of the Lord, and who I get to wrap my arms around each day and tell them that they are loved.

I pray that my life examples that of Christ. I pray that as I greet them by name, they would know that their Father knows their name and has good plans for their life. I pray that as I spend hours planning local activities and preparing for summer teams that their minds would be open to the grandness and uniqueness of our Creator. And I am humbled that the Lord would allow me to be part of their everyday lives and make a difference to this one.