And it begs the question, "Why?" Why are there so many orphans--so many children without a home? Ugh, the answer to that is unfathomably complicated...death, illness, mismanaged governments, famines, droughts, floods, wars, cycles of poverty...
It also prompts the question, "So what am I going to do about it?" I have read about poverty and starvation and just plain lack of basic resources (water, clothing, homes, food, safety). This stuff is hard for me to fully understand because I have never been in need of ANYTHING.
But here's the deal, I see the faces of little children and in their eyes I do see my kids. I see pictures and videos of children so far from here playing and you know what? I see them playing just like my kids. I see them thin and hungry and I say, "Thank you, God, that I do not have to know what it is like to have children with empty bellies."
And then there is the deep and really so hard for me to put into words because there is so much pain behind it--there are the mothers and widows of orphaned children. How do I even begin to understand what it must be like to lose your husband...? Or to give up your child to an orphanage (for so many reasons)...? To not be able to give your children all that you ever dreamed of for them--even the basics...?
One thing that I'm totally loving in this process is the connection with other people who want to have more than ordinary lives. And blogs are such an amazing way to hear their stories. Which leads me to Andrea's blog. Andrea is a part of Wiphan Care Ministries--an organization reaching out to the widows and orphans in Zambia. She recently had a post that completely touched my heart for the widow. (Click here to read the complete post--"What about me?".)
Here's an excerpt...
"Looking into her eyes--even with a language barrier I could clearly read her heart. "I want to love these children like you do," she said. "But I can't. My children can't be attached to me because I don't know what tomorrow brings. I will spend my day begging for food, and at night I'll come back to them and hope to bring something to fill their bellies. I love them like you do. I love them more than you do. You come and love on our children, but what about me?"
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
"What IF...you poured into me? What if you invested into me? Your hugs and games and laughter are good--but when you leave--we are still here. And so are they. What if you taught me to sew? And I was able to earn money instead of beg...and I could teach them..and they too could have a future and a hope? What if I was able to make enough money to feed more--and feed the other 6 children I have opened my home to? What if by pouring your hearts and resources into the widows, we could be the ones to care for the orphans and minister to the poor around us?"
Okay, so I read this and I look at the pictures and I see...me. I am a mom. They are each a mom. I know what it feels like to hold your baby, to watch them laugh, to watch them hurt. What I don't know is how it feels when there is little hope of help when it is desperately (life and death) needed. I am thankful for organizations like Wiphan that are making a huge difference in the lives of mothers and children half a world away. And I'm thankful that they are opening my eyes.
Here's a new video that tells their story.
Wiphan...The Story from Wiphan Care Ministries on Vimeo.