I just sent this email out to almost everyone I know but I thought I’d put the contents here as well in case I missed someone or somehow someone finds this and wants to help.
Dear family and friends,
I’m not sure how to start this without sounding like a commercial that you’ve seen so many times before on tv so I’ll just do this the best way I can – rhonda style!
As many of you probably know, most of Earl’s family has just returned from spending 3 weeks in Zambia, Africa.
His family went there to serve in an orphanage that is part of Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry
You can read more about them on their website, if you are interested, but basically the orphanage was started in Zambia as the first and currently only home in Zambia specifically for HIV/AIDS affected or infected children.
While there they had opportunities to serve in many ways but today I just want to tell you about one particular event that God has so laid on my heart that I couldn’t help but become involved and help in – even if my only way of helping is raising awareness for Seeds of Hope and trusting that God will stir in the hearts of people to help where they can.
While at the orphanage Earl’s step sister, Luanne, became aware of the story of one little boy in the nursery. His name is Joseph. (pictured below)
Joseph had just come to the orphanage in January and though he is 2 years old he has developed only to the size and developmental stage of a 10 month old due to malnourishment. However, in his 3 months at the orphanage he has grown and is thriving through proper nutrition and medication that he needs. In his time there they have also done tests and thankfully Joseph does not have HIV.
What is so special about Joseph’s story is that he is a twin! What is heartbreaking is that his twin brother, Bennet, was not at the orphanage.
While in Zambia God laid a burden on Luanne’s heart for Bennet – the twin who wasn’t in the orphanage and she pleaded that they go and get him.
Now don’t get me wrong, Seeds of Hope would love to help every child like Joseph and Bennet that are in Zambia but the hard truth is that they can’t. They need a certain amount of funding for each child that comes and there just isn’t always the money to go on “rescue missions” if you will.
Finally, after much persuading the people who run the orphanage gave in and said to Luanne that they would go and look for Bennet – but she had to come along.
So, they headed off into the village taking a local woman who could speak the native language with them. When they arrived the women of the village rushed to them (they all know the people from the orphanage) and the women said that they needed to go and get Bennet, the twin, from his mother. This was a confirmation to them that, in fact, they did need to look for him. At Seeds of Hope they pray fiercely that God would bring children to them and this was one of those moments.
When they located the mother she was already nursing a new little infant and Bennet was sitting unattended, malnourished and had a rash all over his body. The mother spoke as they entered her hut, “Take him. I don’t want him. I have no need for him.” So, they did.
Bennet is currently at Seeds of Hope getting the care, the food and the medication that he needs. However, Bennet doesn’t have enough sponsors.
Each child at the orphanage needs 8 sponsors at $30 / month to pay for their care. Part of this is because of the high medical costs but also because of the high quality of care that they receive. Seeds of Hope has a mission to not simply raise peasant children but to raise the future leaders of Africa. To love them, nurture them, to meet their emotional, physical and spiritual needs and also to provide them with the best education to enable them to succeed. Part of the money each month is also put away so that they are able to attend post-secondary education when they are at that age.
Now I know many of you already have sponsor children. I know you give to many other things and I know that we are in a recession. So I don’t want anybody to feel guilty for not being able to or deciding not to sponsor little Bennet. As Christians we need not operate out of guilt but rather out of a conviction. What I do know is that the Holy Spirit lays things on individuals hearts in various seasons of their life. Bennet has been laid on my heart along with the simple task of getting this message out. So I’m doing that.
Already Bennet has 3 sponsors so 5 more are needed. His brother Joseph also needs a few more though I’m not sure of the exact number.
If God has stirred in your heart through this story and challenges you to sponsor Bennet – that would be amazing!
If the Holy Spirit brings Seeds of Hope to your mind throughout the day so that you can pray for them – amazing!
I just have this overwhelming feeling that God will provide sponsors for this little one and yet it will take us opening our mouths and making people aware of the need in order to help accomplish this! What a privilege it is to be a part of God’s work!
If you would like any more information please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you would like to sponsor Bennet (or Joseph or any of the other children!) simply let me know and I will show you how you can do that.
Thanks so much for reading this.