Asia and the kids and I went this afternoon to a great exhibit put on by World Vision called Step into Africa.
It's an very well done interactive experience where you take on the story of a child affected by the aids crisis in Africa. If it's coming anywhere near you, I'd recommend it wholeheartedly. If you're in Spokane, it is at First Presbyterian through Monday night. You should go if you can...
All the kids chose to go through on their own - and each of them 'became' a different African child. As we got to the end, we were all brought back together in an aids clinic, where we were each waiting for the results of our aids test. Three of us were negative - two were positive.
It was a great chance to talk through yet another way that Africa should be in our prayers... we've talked so much about war in Africa, but because Tejan wasn't impacted directly by aids, we haven't discussed it as much as a family.
Personally, I was most impacted by the part of my 'childs' experience when they addressed the issue of child-headed households in Africa. My child was from Uganda, and because of war and aids, hundreds of thousands of children are raising themselves and younger siblings. Tejan himself had a period of time when he was on his own and had to find food wherever he could.
Think of your child. Alone. Hungry.
It's hard to know how best to address all the needs presented by something like this... of course, World Vision had a place to sponser a child. And I appreciate SO much what these organizations do... I've recently spent a lot of time on Compassion International's blogs, and am SO impressed by their vision and the way they allocate the funds provided by their sponsers. But with my heart torn between here and Africa - and specifically with Tejan in my heart, I wonder how I can use my $$$ best.
It does challenge my perspective though, to consider how little money it takes to provide food and education for a child. Should I be sponsering a child in addition to my efforts to stay in touch with Tejan and save for our family trip to Sierra Leone?
We had a great sermon at church this morning about the Good Samaritan - and how we should respond to our 'neighbors.' In today's world - with the internet and the ability to be so informed, the hungry and destitute around the world really qualify as our neighbors, don't they?
And yet, how does one decide how much to do? And through whom? It's a dilema.
One I will pray about. And wrestle with. And perhaps, as God answered my prayers for Africa in a way I could have never imagined, he will make clear to me the way to respond to the emotions presented to me today. It took the movie Invisible Children in 2006 to begin to open my heart to Africa, and look where that took us!
I know one thing - my heart is capable of stretching even more.
And so today I will begin by praying that I can continue to trust God to do just that...