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The blessing of sponsoring an older child…

This morning I opened up my letter from our 16 year old son in Korah. I say our son–because my heart is beginning to quickly feel like he is. I praise my God that it is HIS work and not mine—that He is changing my heart to feel just a BIT what He feels…and it continues to break even more for the orphan.

My children were sitting at their little kid-size table eating breakfast…my husband was finishing his coffee…my newest son was sitting in his high chair miraculously eating table food–the Lord has been good and is slowly taking away Isaac’s dislike of solids and textures (but let me also add that if He chose not to take that away…He is still SO good!). Everything in my world this morning seems perfect. I opened up the letter and read my 16 year old son’s writing all the way from Korah, Ethiopia…my hand traced down the page memorizing his handwriting—reminding me of how my kindergarden child forms his letters. He is sixteen. He looks like a tough kid as I stare at his picture. And then I read each word of his seven sentence letter…and I am broken.

He is in the 5th grade…he is SIXTEEN…yet he is SOOO happy he says to finally go to school. He loves ball. And the last two sentences break me. “I love you. I love you.” The second ‘i love you’ has been traced over too many times to count. I imagine him writing this letter and how he has longed to say those words to a family. A 16 year old orphan…who deserves a family…who deserves love…who deserves to go to school.

Sixteen and in the 5th grade.

Then I think about 16 year olds in our culture…how different life seems to be here. Many 16 year olds in our culture feel they are being deprived if they don’t get a CAR when they turn 16. They are in the 10th grade. The things that are important to Ashbet are so much different…yet I hope and pray that God will use Ashbet and our growing love for him to change us and what one day is important to our children when they turn 16. And really…the decisions and how we choose to live NOW will be what determines that.

Thank you Lord for not letting me be comfortable here. Thank you Lord for bringing Ashbet into my life. Forgive me Lord that when I signed up to sponsor a Korah child that I was at first a bit bummed it was a 16 year old and not a cute little 6 year old. I am SO thankful Ashbet is who you set aside for us to love. Help us to love him…to serve him…and to even one day visit him. Help me Lord not to get caught up in our culture…to think I ever need to impress those around me by what I say, what I wear, what I do…but instead to love as you love and follow you no matter what that might mean giving up. I believe you Lord. I believe what you say in your Word is true. I choose to live for You. Oh Lord Jesus–love our Ashbet today…let him feel your presence…protect him…fill him with Your joy…bring us to his mind when he longs for his parents reminding him that he has parents across the world who love him and would even bring him home if they’d let us…thank you Lord for our son in Korah…Amen.

I noticed on Wiphan‘s child sponsorship page there are some kids who are older who have been up since the beginning of our sponsorship program started…they are older–and don’t have sponsors yet. I just want to encourage you if you desire to sponsor a child–there is such JOY in loving the older child!!! And from what I hear…there is even greater joy in bringing the older child HOME. Thank you Lord for opening up my heart to the older children…thank you Lord that they are not forgotten!!!

Kristin - October 12, 2010 - 9:53 am

Thank you for this word this morning. Our SS teacher has been teaching us from a book called Holy Subversion by Trevin Wax. He said what’s been on his heart lately is the fact that we think we are being blessed and are blessing our children with “stuff” that may actually be cursing them. It makes me think of the 16 year olds with cars. Is it really a blessing to be able to give them things that their friends will think is cool or are we cursing them? Thank you for your transparency!

Elle J - October 12, 2010 - 10:12 am

This speaks to me at a deep level as I am sponsoring what I consider to be an older child through Wiphan. Her pictures is not only on our fridge with letters posted on there too, making her part of the family, but my children are talking about her to friends. Amazing. We have grown so much as a family in 10-short months. Thankful for God’s direct hand in our learning and sharing and giving … through Wiphan! Sponsorship is so-not a one way street!!! Imagine that!! =)

Lara - October 12, 2010 - 10:12 am

I started sponsoring a 12 year old girl through Compassion when I was in college. Now my family still sponsors her and she is 18! It has been such a blessing to see her grow and I specifically requested an older child because I knew there was more of a need there.

jennifer gniadek - October 12, 2010 - 12:55 pm

thanks for this humbling post~

Kim - October 12, 2010 - 7:45 pm

Would you mind posting a link directly to the children available for sponsorship? I am having a hard time finding it..