I was sharing with a group of pastors this morning. These men (and one lady) live in a different world from me. I wanted to be an encouragement to them, and to let them know that people are praying for them, and want to know more about them so that they can pray. But I did not know how to connect with them. I spoke of a young mother in Georgia (for example). I described how she has very little money, and very little time, but she wants to spend some of that time praying for them.
I asked them if they were parents, and most raised their hands confirming that they were. I told them that parenthood is an opportunity that God gives us to display his kind of love – a selfless, sacrificing love, where the needs of children are put before those of the parents. I shared from John 15:17 that Jesus commands us to have that kind of love for each other. I could tell from their eyes that the message was getting through. It is a challenge to love people like that, but that is what Jesus wants of us.
Later this afternoon, Ernie and I got to see God’s kind of love demonstrated to kids who had no parents. We visited the Shelter Trust orphanage where over 30 young children are cared for. These kids have lost their parents to AIDS, and are HIV positive themselves. Solomon, the manager of Shelter Trust says that the team of workers seek to provide these children with three things: love, laughter, and life.
The success can be seen in the smiles of these wonderful kids, and their drive to succeed in whatever they do. These kids are living the miracle of a life with a purpose. They are not letting their problems keep them from enjoying life, and that joy is actually prolonging their lives. Solomon shared that one of the needs of Shelter Trust is a new place to house their older boys, who, at age 17 will no longer be allowed by the Indian government to live with the other orphans. When Shelter Trust originally began the orphanage, they didn’t imagine that any of the children would live that long. Now they have four or five boys who will soon be 17.
Solomon gave us a tour of the orphanage, including the rooms for the kids. They were small rooms with no furniture, except for shelves where the kids’ belongings were stored. We saw none of the high-priced toys that kids in some parts of the world think they need to be happy. But what we did see is that the staff and volunteers selflessly sacrificed to give these kids parents who love them. The kids have quality life, and have been introduced to Christ so that they can have the hope of eternal life. Kids need that – and so do their parents.