One of the absolute joys of living here in Colorado has been getting to know Jody and Andy Landers. They are some of the most authentic people I know. I knew about Jody because of her work for charity water, and it has just been the biggest blessing that both our families moved to Colorado about the same time. Not long ago they adopted two precious children from Sierra Leone and I wanted to share Jody's blog post from yesterday. Enjoy. Be moved. Throw your pebble...
On our March trip to Sierra Leone, we had the profound privilege of spending some time in the Kroo Bay slums with Word Made Flesh staff. They focus much of their lives and their ministry connecting with the people who make up one of the poorest areas in the world. On Saturday mornings, they run a program for the kids of Kroo Bay. We participated while we were there and it quickly became a highlight for all of us.
We watched them dance and sing.
We watched them pray to ‘Papa God’.
David lead them in a memory verse. A story was told. Each child was prayed over individually as they left the building.
Many of the children are sick and hungry and exhausted. We were given the job of watching for the kids who would fall asleep in their seats….and grabbing them quickly before they fell to the cement floor:
We had to do it several times in the hour we were there.
Each Saturday at the Good News Club, the kids are given an egg. Probably the only protein they have all week. The adults watch to make sure the egg is eaten by the child and not put in a pocket to be taken home to their family.
This precious boy fell asleep in the seats and was gently placed on on of our backpacks…next to the Bible and bread. You don’t have to look very hard to see the Kingdom of God at work here. I’m not sure that I have sensed it anywhere as intensely as I did that day in heat of a crowded room in the center of Kroo Bay slums.
When we went in March, you helped us to bring a number of supplies. One thing we did was deliver these vitamins:
The staff took these and the past several months have given each child one vitamin with their egg on Saturday. We recently received an email that said: “We need more vitamins. Can you help?”
Um, yes. Yes, we can. Because we love this. We love any opportunity to think outside of our own picket fences. An opportunity to do something. An opportunity to keep our eyes open, hearts soft.
Now I currently have what I would consider a strict grocery budget. But I still browse the aisles at the supermarket and put oranges and apples and carrots and granola bars and pancake mix into my cart.
And I’m thankful for the opportunity to stop….to stop and pick up a couple jars of vitamins. Not to supplement my already full cart for my own kids. But to pause to think about mothers across the world who struggle every day to provide any semblance of food for their children.
This is simply one of those chances we look for ‘to do something’. Something that will no doubt provide a tiny bit of nourishment to the weak bodies of children in Sierra Leone. And something that will no doubt ensure that our heart stays aware and our hands remain open.
We all win. And that’s why I love it. So here’s the plan: Join us if you want.
Collect vitamins. Do it with your own family. With your small group. MOPS group. Whatever. And then we are going to stock the suitcases of the next person that travels to Freetown with WMF. For now, we will make my house here the central location. You can order them online if that’s easier and have them sent here.
Or once your collection is done, you can mail them to me. Or if you want to forego shipping all together, you can paypal (jodylanders @ gmail . com) me and I will shop for the vitamins. We will collect until Sept. 29..so if you can have them in the mail by then.
And to wrap this up I’m quoting in full here Jaime, a missionary in Costa Rica. She describes this incident where she delivers food to some desperate kids:
“I’m gonna go fight poverty for two and a half hours. Two and a half hours on a Tuesday morning to solve the biggest problem in the world. What a joke. We will show up with a bag full of bread and an armload of bananas, and the children will clamber around us like ducks at a pond. A bunch of little ducklings, falling all over each other for a bit of bread and a soft pat on the head.
And for 2 and a half hours we will laugh and play and eat, and we will talk about Jesus. And when we leave, they will be just as poor as when we arrived. Poverty taunts us as we drive away. It’s overwhelming. The problem is so big, and we are so small. It feels ridiculous… showing up to war wielding a loaf of bread.
Of course that’s how David showed up. Just a shepherd boy with some bread for his brothers, a kid who was quick with a sling shot. He chose for battle against a giant, not a sword, or the kings armor, but five smooth stones. And he won.
He said to the giant:”You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” ~1 Samuel 17
I kind of love that. I’m going to feed the ducks, now. And then, with all my might, I will hurl a tiny pebble at their giant enemy. And I hope it hurts like hell.“
And I love that.
So pick up your pebbles, people. Here we go…Thanks for joining us.