I want to introduce you to a little girl that I met three years ago this month in Kenya. She was about six years old.
Honestly, I don’t even know her name. I do know a little bit of her story, though.
When we arrived at the Lunga village (which translates as “upside down village”), I got out my tiny little “Smile, Jesus Loves You” beach ball and started playing with some of the children. I noticed this little girl came strapped with a baby to her back. She was having fun playing with us. I couldn’t believe it, but some of the kids started hitting the ball like a volleyball. I was very surprised that they had any knowledge of the sport.
While taking a water break by our van, I saw these large sticks poking out of the ground. I could tell that it obviously used to be some sort of structure and I was curious as to what it was. I asked Christopher, the local pastor that we were partnering with, what it was. He explained that it was a place where the village had prepared a body for burial 6 months prior. I glanced over just about 10 feet away and there was a grave marked by a cross. I asked him who had passed away. He explained to me that it was the father of that young girl with the baby strapped to her back. She also had another small sibling. Her mother was around, but was so ill that she could not care for her children. So, the girl was taking care of them.
Last month, I shared the story of Lynda, a young orphan girl about 11 or 12 years old with HIV. When the organization I was with had first met her on a previous trip, they discovered that she was raising her two younger siblings while her aunt prostituted herself by the coast to financially support the family . Local Pastor, Christopher, and Church Missions Network had stepped in to help rescue Linda and her siblings.
There are so many children in Africa that share similar or even worse stories. There are a good number of organizations that are doing something to help bring restoration to lives that have been broken by the atrocities of war, genocide, famine, and poverty across the continent of Africa. With so many needs throughout the land, there are many hands needed to bring help.
This month, I want to tell you about a marvelous opportunity to support the rescue of children like Lynda, the 6 year old girl I met, their siblings, and others. It’s called Operation Baby Rescue.
As I sit here in the comfort of my own home, blogging for World Help, there is a team of Bloggers that will start their mission TODAY in Uganda. The boarder of Uganda was just steps away from where I met Lynda and this other little girl.
Sources from World Help say that…
Approximately 11 million children reside in the dirty, dangerous streets of the Ugandan slums near Kampala, Uganda. They are desperate for help and have little hope for survival. The destitute nation is consumed by poverty and has little to offer these orphaned and abandoned children. Left alone to fight for survival, their situation is desperate and urgent.
Uganda is home to 2.5 million orphans—half of them abandoned as a direct results of AIDS. Today, nearly 50 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 14.
The AIDS epidemic in Uganda has left behind thousands of child-headed households. Over the last few years, World Help has witnessed a growing tragedy—a generation of young women and girls resorting to prostitution just to survive. Many of these women are barely able to provide for themselves, let alone for any children or families they may have. Not surprisingly, the rate of abandoned children is growing—particularly in the slums regions.
With so many terrible statistics, those of us that are removed from the situation can feel so overwhelmed about how many needs there are in Uganda and for that matter, the rest of the world, that we can be paralyzed into inaction for lack of discernment about how to really help make things better.
I’ll never forget what Phil Johnsey, the founder of the Church Missions Network said to me, “We can’t change the world, but we can change a village.”
Noel Yeatts of World Help so poignantly says,
Our commitment is to impact the next generation and help them to become the future leaders of their countries. But we have to save their lives first. That is why the rescue program is such an integral part of the holistic approach that World Help is taking in our African programs. We are committed to providing physical help and spiritual hope—help for today and hope for tomorrow. It is this kind of help that leads to transformed lives.
When we think of Africa, we cannot be overwhelmed by the massive needs of this continent. We must be inspired by the one child whose life we can change.
An African proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.”
We have the opportunity to help bring change for the better one child at a time through partnering with Operation Baby Rescue. Lives have already been rescued to place abandoned children in Rescue Homes that World Help has facilitated in Uganda. But you read the statistics, over a MILLION children are abandoned in the streets of Uganda. Each home accommodates TEN children with round the clock care from house moms. More houses need to be built, folks! These homes help restore these children to health and provide a platform for adoption placement.
So what do I want YOU to do about this?
1. Pray. Pray for the children that have been abandoned not just in Uganda, but all over the world. Pray that God would place His hand of protection on them. Pray that He would send rescuers and that He would provide the rescuers with the resources they need to help them. Pray that He would use these opportunities as platforms to share His love and gospel with these children. Pray that these children would know that though everyone else may have abandoned them, God has not.
2. Follow. Follow the LIVE journey as some of my fellow World Help Bloggers post about their experiences working with Operation Baby Rescue in Uganda from January 17th-January 22nd. Through their eyes, you’ll be able to see the power of this ministry firsthand from the field.
3. Give. If you’re able to contribute, give to help fund the building of more Rescue Homes in Uganda. There are some pretty cool gifts that you can get also that will help serve as a platform to tell others about how they can help as well.
We have an opportunity with Operation Baby Rescue to be the hands and feet of the body of Christ.
This is what God says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” John 14:18-21 NIV
How are we going to put flesh on this? Here’s one opportunity…