There's a fantastic non-profit we've been involved in for the last few years called AHOPE for Children. AHOPE is an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that cares for HIV+ kids who have lost their parents. Can you imagine having a condition like HIV, then watching your mom and dad die, leaving you an orphan??? I can't, except that I've spent time with these kids...so many of their sweet faces permanently etched in my mind.
One of the most pivotal moments in my journey over the last few years came while watching the AAI waiting child video back in 2005. One of the first sibling sets on there was an adorable little girl and her older brother. They stood side by side, the boy with his arm protectively around his sister, smiling eagerly at the camera. The narrator informed us that this little girl was HIV+, her brother was not, but that he insisted on her being adopted with him. He didn't want to leave her, or be split up. My heart about broke into a million pieces. I've thought about those kids often over the last three years. Surely they must have found a family by now. Yes she had HIV but it's a totally treatable disease. People are becoming educated, and these kids are being adopted. And what an amazing young man he must be if he's wanting to stay with her.
Well, that little girl died a few weeks ago. In Ethiopia. Those two kids were still waiting for a family. I can picture their sweet faces, and I feel so sad because had she been in the US with access to all the medicine and medical care in the world, she would most likely be alive today. With her brother who loves her so much, and who's sacrificed a family to stay with his sister and make sure she was not left behind. Maybe now the boy will be adopted, now that he doesn't have an HIV+ sister. Ugh.
My heart cries out at the injustices found within this story, but mostly I find myself struggling through my own conviction. Why don't I pray like I should? Advocate like I should? Give like I should? I knew when we visited AHOPE that day back in 2006 that God wanted me to remember these children, in an obscure part of His world that most people never see. And ever since I have prayed and wondered about this. How might God use me to help and to serve these little ones?
Well last week I was asked by AHOPE to head up an exciting new sponsorship project. I'm pretty nervous as I've never done anything like this before (I so don't want to mess up!), but I'm really excited to see where it goes. I have a couple of things in the works that I'll share more about later. For now, I'm thrilled to be working with a great organization that is doing such vital, beautiful, difficult things.
"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6.8 NRSV)