This weekend was family weekend at our church. This past year, Lucy has been involved on Wednesday nights in Kids4Truth (or as she calls it, "Kids Club"). It has been such a great experience for her--the kids have been learning doctrine, Bible verses, hymns (and having a lot of fun too!) On Saturday, there was a Kids4Truth training during the day, and then in the evening there was a pizza party for the kids since they had met all their goals for the year. The extra fun part was that Bob Roberts, the founder of Kids4Truth, was going to be there too. I thought he was going to be an older, sort of serious gentleman (because K4T is a pretty in-depth program), so I was surprised to find that he is 35 years old. And hilarious. He describes himself as a "buglight for kids." The kids loved him. He had them learning the Ten Commandments and playing a game called "Sorry, Pig." Some of us parents sitting in the back row were laughing so hard we had to wipe the tears away. He spoke to the adults in Sunday a.m. Sunday School and preached both sermons during the day yesterday too. It is really encouraging especially as a parent to find other people who are on-board in helping us teach our children "the doctrines of our holy faith" as the child dedication service says. If your church is looking for a great kids' program, I highly recommend that one. If your church already has one in place, you should still check out their website because they have wonderful family resources that you can use at home.
Another organization I just heard about for the first time on Friday is Charasia. I was listening to Prime Time America on Moody radio on the way home from work, and the founder, Ralph Borde was speaking. He is an Indian gentleman who was educated in the U.S. and became an engineer for Motorola in Schaumburg, IL. Ralph's uncle still lived in India, and he had started a small Bible institute and a children's home there as well. When he died, Ralph left his job at Motorola, went back to India, and devoted his life to those ministries, which have become Charasia. There are now a larger Bible institute, a youth camp, and at least two orphanages: Grace Children's Home and Faith Children's Home.
Anyone who knows Darren and me knows our two girls are our heart. When I was pregnant with Lucy, I told Darren, "I know this baby is a girl." He said, "That's great. Next time, can you know that it's a boy?" Then when she was about four days old, he was holding her and with tears in his eyes said, "You can always have girls." We also both have always had a heart for international adoption. That is a dream of ours that we hope will one day come true. Right now is not the right time for us, but we're hoping for some day.
Listening to Mr. Borde talk about Charasia's ministry in India really spoke to me. Most places in the world do not place a high value on girls. When I was in grad school, my favorite professor was an Indian woman. One day she came to class but stopped mid-lecture and apologized to us. "I just cannot focus today," she said. "Right before class, my mother called me from India. My cousin, who was pregnant, found out she was having a girl. Her husband requested that she get an abortion. She did, and she died from it."
A colleague of Darren's who was visiting/working here from India for several months visited us last summer. He and his wife have a baby girl and are thrilled, but he said many families there are not. So much so that the government has outlawed sonograms--now you cannot find out the gender of your baby before birth.
This is not just India--this is Africa, China, many, many places in the world. I read an photographic essay several years ago in Marie-Claire magazine. It was taken in a Chinese city. Someone had left a baby girl in the street, and she had died. The photo-essay showed how many hours passed as people walked, rode their bicycles, and drove their cars past that little body without doing anything. Finally someone came along and put her in a trashcan.
I don't know about you, but when I hear things like that, I've got to do something. Charasia has two homes so far for little girls who have been taken out of prostitution--either that, or their mothers who already are prostitutes have placed them their in order to save them from that life. In Asia, little girls as young as 6 are used as prostitutes. (In Africa, even toddlers and sometimes infants are used.) Praise God, there are people and organizations like Charasia who are doing something about it.
The interviewer on PrimeTime America said to Mr. Borde, "The first thing people are going to want to know when they hear you is, 'How can I help?'" He said that the number one help they need is prayer. I encourage everyone to visit their site. They have a wonderful monthly prayer calendar, which has one little girl by name for each day and her specific needs. I'm going to print out that calendar, and Lucy and Elaine and I will be praying for a little girl each night. Of course there are also ways to financially support them--Darren and I are going to be praying about how we can do that. Then, here's something really cool called GoodSearch. You can use this search engine instead of Yahoo or Google, and 50% of the proceeds will go to the charity of your choice--Charasia is one of the choices.
I think every parent spends a good portion of their time thinking about, hoping for, and dreaming dreams for their children. As I said, I'm so thankful for organizations like Kids4Truth that are helping me teach my little girls. But I also want, and I want my daughters to have, a bigger vision for the world. I once heard someone said that the newspaper is "God's global prayer list." I think God gives each of us a burden or a mission--mine is for little girls--that instead of being swept into the gutter like so much garbage, they will know love, and light, and Jesus--that they will be rescued out of darkness and brought into His glorious light.
James 1: 27 "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."
Oh, and one more thing. Ralph Borde? Is a Moody grad student. Did you need another reason to support him?! :-)