Giving up everythingRich Stigall
An excerpt from recent Vision Trip goer’s blog…
Some of the older children and some of the children with a background where they received an education spoke some English. One of those children latched on to me from the first night. His name is Beoda. Each day when we went to visit the orphans, Beoda would seek me out. We didn’t ever do much, he was seemingly content to stand by or sit next to me. We did play some soccer and toss around a football now and then but mostly we just spent time sitting or standing with each other.
Beoda is 11. I have a son who is 10 and another who turns 12 in a week. My children have a warm home where they are loved, a mom who is home with them all day to care for them and educate them as best we can. They have a father who in spite of my flaws comes home every night. I can’t imagine how they would respond to losing their comfortable existence and finding themselves living on rickety bunk beds with 90 other children, no Xbox, no DVDs, no toys, not even clothes of their own. As a Christian parent I don’t think I have done a very good job of preparing my kids to live without while I proclaim to them a Christ who calls on us to give up everything. I have to wonder if the Christians among these orphans are not far better prepared to be witnesses to the world than my own children. Have I, in my eminently American quest to provide for my children by fulfilling their every whim, actually made sacrificial discipleship more difficult for those I am tasked with raising?
I found very few answers and even fewer solutions in Haiti. Quite the contrary, I am finding that the time I spent among the least of these has raised many troubling questions for me. One thing I know for certain. I promised Beoda that I would come visit him again and unless God calls one of us home before I can fulfill that promise, I will see him again.
I asked Beoda and another young boy, Stevenson, to write their names in the small Bible I brought with me on the page facing the first chapter of James to remind me that James is not speaking of theological concepts to be debated in the ivy-covered halls of academia. He was speaking of real people, real orphans who had their lives turned upside down. Real widows who lost their husband and often had children to care for in a very different, very difficult world. James was writing about Beoda and Selene, about Stevenson, about Kimberly. I don’t know the story of most of the orphans I met last week but I do know what God has called us to do, each and every one of us. Visit and care for the widow and the orphan in their affliction. If we aren’t willing to do that most simple of callings, what is all of our religion and piety and learning good for?
– Arthur Sido