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Elijah's Prayer
by Rey Diaz
Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2016
One of the greatest joys of my life is hearing my son, Elijah, pray. You can hear his deep compassion and concern for orphans and vulnerable children in his voice. He ends every prayer with a plea to God “please help the kids with no mommy or daddy.  Feed them.  Love them.  Give them toys.”  He is only 8, thus toys are a priority.

Elijah’s care for the least of these is not accidental.  My wife and I made an intentional effort to cultivate his heart for orphans.  Our story is unique since we lived in Honduras for several years but at the core is the same principal that child sponsorship is based on - Love for your neighbor.  I believe Jesus asks us the same question he asked the ‘expert in religious law’ after telling him the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Who was a neighbor to that man?"

Today there are orphans and vulnerable children that are beaten up and laying by the road. They have been beaten up by abuse, neglect, poverty, sickness and natural disaster. They are laying in ditches, slums, and orphanages around the globe.  And the church is walking by. Some churches are too busy with other more important issues to stop and help these kids. But some churches stop. They serve. They bandage. They sacrifice. They love these kids because they realize they are our neighbors.

 

Forgive my generalization, but I wanted my family to have a clear answer to that question. While living in Honduras it was easy because our literal neighbors were orphans and vulnerable children. I didn't have to tell Elijah to eat his food because "kids in Africa are starving.” Instead, I could say "Elijah, your friend Yoli doesn't get to eat dinner everyday.”  Orphans were not statistics or numbers.  They were our friends.  Our neighbors.  We had real friendships with them.

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On returning to the states I wanted to continue this tradition.  Child sponsorship allows my family the privilege of knowing these children.  We learn their names.  We hear about their families.  We pray about their struggles and challenges.  We see their pictures everyday.  In a very real way, the kids we sponsor are our neighbors.  And we love them.  My children love them and pray for them.  It creates a perfect opportunity to embody the gospel - We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

In Radical, David Platt has a quote we have put up in our home - "We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…”

I strongly recommend you to consider child sponsorship.  I promise you it will change everything.  Learn more now and invite a child to be part of your family. 


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