Sunday, July 19, 2015

sponsoring a child through {wiphan}

gosh, i know it seems overwhelming.

i realize we can’t help all the children all around the world ... all at once.

and, honestly, for years i’ve struggled with that very thought.
heck, sometimes i feel like i can’t help the five under my own roof.

sometimes i feel like, flat out, not enough.

and i’m quickly reminded that that is exactly right. i'm not. we aren’t.

we aren’t enough.
but, in a strange way, it's also the very beautiful part of anything we offer, give, provide … or do!

Jesus takes what little we bring and He multiplies. the story of the feeding of the five thousand? you know, the 2 loaves of bread and the 5 fish … or was it the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish?

makes no difference --- because whatever it is we think we are bringing, our Heavenly Father makes it more.

i’ve seen it in my own house in america.
and now, i’ve seen it across the ocean in africa.

sponsoring a child with wiphan … 

many of you have asked what that is all about.
and many of you have wanted to ask what that is all about.

this weekend as i return home (and try to stay awake) i am eager to tell you a few stories about a few kids who are in need of someone exactly like you.
yes, you.

meet anna and grace.
they are 2nd grade girls who attend the westbourne school in koloko, zambia. neither of these precious girls currently has a sponsor.

when i met them for the first time out in the play yard, they both curtsied upon telling me their name. anna and i giggled that we carried our messenger bags across our body the same way. we couldn’t communicate too much, but their little faces lit up in the tiny bit of attention given.

later on, with the help of a translator, they both told me how much they love school and how thankful they are to attend.  anna wants to be a nurse and grace, a teacher.

these sweet girls are learning not only math and english and science at the westbourne school, but more importantly, they are learning how much their Heavenly Father loves them.

after leaving koloko, we traveled to the school in mapalo. the mapalo school is not quite so polished and precise a student body, but it has a passion about it hard to ignore. energy and excitement were oozing from this building.

our vehicle had barely come to a stop and the children were already shouting their greetings.

these students could not have been more delighted to have visitors. i’m pretty sure at one point i had at least a dozen little ones hanging off my arms … holding my hands … touching my clothes. at the end of our visit, april and pastor aaron arranged a rousing, wild game of red rover. you haven't played red rover until you've played it with 100 zambian children out under the african afternoon sun. so fun!
sweet doesn’t begin to describe the children at mapalo.

and james was among the very sweetest.

i mean, seriously,  just look at that smile!

with the help of pastor aaron translating, james told me his story ---

james is in 2nd grade and lives nearby with his mama and 4 brothers. he comes every day to school because he loves to learn --- especially loves writing! (oh.stop.already)!

james told me he’d like to someday be a journalist.

after dragging myself away from james (seriously. that. smile) ... i sat with two 7th grade girls. the older kids in wiphan are sometimes harder to sponsor. i’m going to challenge you to consider them. i know those little 6 and 7 year olds are hard to resist, but imagine trading letters with boys and girls old enough to write and at an age in terrific need of encouragement.

agnes and pascalina are two of these girls.

though shy when our conversation began, by the time i pulled out my camera, they were both giggling and posing and asking to see their photos --- like any teenage girl, anywhere.

pascalina, 16,  lives with her older sister and when she’s not at school she helps at home with the cooking, cleaning, dishes and sweeping.

agnes is 15, loves social studies, science and food!  she lives with her grandma and siblings.

i wish you could have been with me to meet evaristo besa! his personality is just like his name sounds -- EVARISTO!
and everywhere i went, each day, evaristo would show up at my elbow. one day with his soccer ball another day with an animal he'd carved from clay. always with a big smile and bright eyes. evaristo is in 2nd grade, he is 10 and his birthday is september 1st.  he loves math, Jesus, running and rice! evaristo lives with his grandparents, his three brothers and one sister. evaristo attends the nkwazi wiphan school.

evaristo showing me his futbol skills!

these are just six of the 500 kids in wiphan schools still without a sponsor.

is there a need?
can you help?

please go to {wiphan} and click on the tab “sponsor.” this will direct you to a page (brightpoint) where you can look over the pictures and profiles of available children.

while we were in africa, several of the women i traveled with spent time with their sponsored child. i know packing a bag and heading to africa might seem a little far fetched at the moment (i thought so, too). and that's okay. that might not be realistic, but, i assure you, what your sponsorship and letters mean to these children is incredibly real.

with 85% of the nation falling below the poverty line, zambia is one of the world's poorest countries --- ranked 165th out of 177.  in zambia, it is common for most children to live with only one parent or, even more common, to live with an extended family member --- a grandparent, aunt or sister. this is mostly due to the the aids/HIV epidemic which hit zambia especially hard. the aftermath has lowered life expectancy in zambia to age 33.  more than one in every seven adults in the country is living with HIV.  do you see why so many of these families are missing moms and dads or both parents? with education and better medical assistance, the average life expectancy is rising, but there remains a deep hole in zambia full of orphaned children born in the past couple of decades.

i know those facts and figures are hard to process. i'm not sure i understand them any better or even have them 100% accurate. but i have to tell you, after spending just a few days with these friends at the three wiphan schools, i was blown away by the hope and joy i found in abundance. hope and joy, despite some of the hardest circumstances imaginable. 

and, when asked, i was told, "it is because of Jesus. of His love. of God's love." 
one young man said to me, "with Him, i have everything, without Him, what is there? nothing."

"religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress ..."  ~ james 1:27
sponsoring a child helps provide Christian education, uniforms, a daily meal and basic medical care.  you will also have to opportunity to write back and forth with your child. the cost is $39  per month.

go to and click on sponsor.
the steps are pretty clear. if you'd like to sponsor one of the kids i mentioned above, and cannot find them on the website, please write me at and i'll make sure that connection is made. (james has already been spoken for)!

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