This summer, my women's Bible study is reading Nehemiah: A Heart that can Break by Kelly Minter. I've loved watching the videos for this study because Kelly is asking us to have our hearts broken like Nehemiah for the people of this world. Our dare is to live more compassionately, not so selfishly. How, we, as Americans, shouldn't just dream about white picket fences that protect our safe homes but we should open our eyes to how the rest of the world lives in poverty.
Ann says, "You could have been the one outside of the gate. You could have been the one with the Lord’s Resistance Army slitting your child’s throat in the middle of the night, you could been the one born into a slum, raped without a hope, you could be the one born into AIDS, into starvation, into lives of wild Christ-less desperation. The reason you are inside the gate for such a time as this – is to risk your life for those outside the gate. If I perish, I perish.
Are you and I willing to risk our safe American lives? What if we were on the other side of the gate...wouldn't we pray that someone like us would show a little more compassion?
I've wrestled with this, just like many of you. I look at Adeline and Maralee and am abundantly grateful that they were born in a country that could save their little premature lives. That they didn't have to share an incubator with other babies and catch even worse infection or not have a mother to hold them in Kangaroo Care. If God is asking for my heart to break like his, this is what breaks me.
It's not fair for babies to not have the same medical support that mine had just because they were born in Nicaragua instead of the U.S. I know playing the "fair" game gets us nowhere so what can I do?
For starters, I could donate to Compassion's Child Survival Program. The Child Survival Program helps save the lives of babies and mothers in poverty utilizing local churches to assist mothers of at-risk infants and toddlers.
Or, I could sponsor a child, like Christy from Southern Plate. She's in Nicaragua as a Compassion blogger right now and says this as she's about to meet her sponsored child, "As I looked down the road, I was thinking to our two kids and how I was raised in a family of five. Due to several factors beyond our control, we are resolutely a family of four. As I watched the end of the dirt road for Wilbert to approach though, I felt like an empty spot in my heart was about to be filled."
Johnny Carr, author of Orphan Justice says that we don't really want to know what happens if we don't show compassion. We can't handle the truth about human trafficking, forced labor, and the ugly side of adoption (did you know that some orphanages are scandals that steal children for adoption and then pocket the cash?!).
These problems seem to big, too much for me to do something about. But, if I just sit here at my borrowed home in Alabama - that has a roof, hot water, and food in the pantry - and just dream about the house I wish I lived in; how is that helping anyone but myself? I am part of the 8%: the wealthiest people in the world...I have to do something. Not just out of compassion but because if *I choose to stand by and do nothing where we see injustice, suffering, and evil then I am sinning.
I still don't know if I'm ready to adopt. Johnny Carr quotes an adoption saying in his book, "Adoption is not for everyone, but caring for orphans is for everyone."
We can care for orphans by sponsoring children through Compassion and helping a child live in their Child Survival Program. It can start with a donation and then a letter and then maybe even a visit one day. It can start with you, and it can start with me.
Till next time, let your light shine!