(adapted from an email from our friend and missionary here in Swaziland; Danny Quirion)
When I first saw 5-year-old Lungelo he wore a ratty shirt and nothing else even though it was a cool day. He was extremely dirty with urine and faeces on his legs and he was sick with a virus. My heart just went out to him not because of his lack of cleanliness but because he hung his head in embarrassment and shame. To think that a little boy felt this way due to no fault of his own.
That day we made sure he got a bath, gave him new clothes, brushed his teeth, oiled his skin, and gave him a little teddy bear. His countenance began to change. Shame diminished and hope grew. He no longer looked down and to the side but looked straight into my eyes and smiled. I had held him when he was dirty and now I held him when he was clean. He didn't want to be put down but to be held and loved.
King Solomon said it well in a proverb I read recently: "The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous." I had exercised justice and received much joy.
We went back a few weeks later, however, and the hope was gone. It was replaced yet again with shame. My heart was sad, broken and confused. Lungilo was neglected again: neglected physically, emotionally and socially.
I read further in Proverbs that God sees the orphan and injustice. It also says that He is their Redeemer and will plead their case. And He graciously allows us the privilege of being a part of His plan for redemption for the orphans. God doesn't overlook Lungelo and the many, many children living in the same needy situation.
This is why Children's Cup exists. This is why Charlotte and I are here in Swaziland. We are committed to seeing children like Lungelo find hope in Jesus -- the kind of hope that starts with a bath, a good meal, and medical care, but continues through Jesus-centered discipleship, Bible clubs, life-giving church, and Godly leadership development.
Monday, January 2
His name is Lungelo (lou-en-gay-low)