“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.“-–James 1:27
Two years ago, I met this little girl at our staff retreat in Uganda…she was there with our Child Welfare Officer, Alice. Hiding behind the security of her Aunt Alice, she feared any interaction with adults, let alone Americans. Her story of tragedy and despair broke my heart.
Her parents separated when she was young, her mother leaving her to be cared for by her father. It was quickly evident that he would not be able to provide for the child as he continued to fight a life-threatening illness. Alice and her husband had their first baby girl to raise, but saw the plight of their niece and offered to take her as their own.
After a few days together, the girl warmed up to us, gaining confidence and knowing that she would be safe with us. Hearing her laughter and watching her play freely brought great joy to my heart. It wasn’t long after I returned from my visit to Uganda that she was sponsored by loving, faithful sponsors.
In May of 2021, I walked a couple miles through the garden plots of potatoes and cabbage in the hills around Mt. Elgon to visit Alice’s home. As I rounded the corner, Alice’s niece was waiting, a tall, lanky ten year-old with a huge smile. The transformation in her life was dramatic. Alice took her from her hopeless state and gave her a beautiful, loving home. Her sponsor gave her the opportunity to grow into the person she was designed to be.
It turns out that this little girl is an excellent student, quickly catching up where she was behind. It was fun to ask her many questions about school and life and hear her respond with extraordinary articulation. Remember that these children often learn at least two different languages in their early years, adding more as they get older. It comes easily to them as it has become necessary in order for them to have opportunities in the world.
Our staff in Uganda all consistently demonstrate our Heavenly Father’s heart of compassion for the orphan and widow, taking in children in their greatest time of need. Alice and her husband saw how desperately their niece needed the hope of God in her life and did something instead of standing by.
We are humbled by this example Alice and her husband and the little girl’s sponsor set before us. They give generously of their time and resources to give her the best chance in life. Today, she is vibrant, full of joy showing what love and faithfulness can do in a child’s life!