When Lahash International traveled to Grace & Healing Ministry in October, it was our job to figure that out. It helped a great deal that the children listened and followed instructions extremely well. It also helped that we had three photographers on the team. I was not one of them, but I still had a job to do.
I had the printed list of every child’s name, and they had to come to me before getting their photo taken. They had to tell me their name so I could find it on the list and say it back to them to verify. I then wrote their name on a slip of paper and handed it to them as they proceeded to the photographer.
I admit I may be slightly biased, but my job was the best. I got to look into every pair of eyes. I got to listen to each voice and repeat each unique name. Some spoke out with confidence. Some could barely squeak out a whisper, feeling quite shy in the presence of an unfamiliar American lady. Some flashed big grins as I fumbled for the correct pronunciation. Some remained stoic, very determined to correctly complete such an important task.
As this parade of beauty passed before me, I was struck by the profound honor of acknowledging the children one by one. My only regret was that I couldn’t possibly remember them all.
You are unique. You are important. You are known. We are happy you are here today. You are loved.
These are the messages the children continually receive at Grace & Healing Ministry. The staff and volunteers there brilliantly reflect the boundless love of a God who beams with joy at the sight of his children. As a visitor, I couldn’t possibly get to know each child. But those who serve there faithfully don’t need to find names on a printed list because they hold each one in their hearts.
Our names are a symbol of our one-of-a-kind-ness. They set us apart as distinct individuals. They are a starting point for others to learn who we are and to remember us. For these reasons, on January 8, the Lahash staff in Portland will spend some time saying the names of each child in the Sponsorship Program aloud to God. Every child. Every name. Each precious life will be lifted in prayer to its loving Creator.
I was keenly aware of my limitations in pronouncing the names, much less remembering the precious face that matched each one. How wonderful to trust that the God who created them knows every detail of their lives and is limitless in love and compassion toward them. And how privileged we are, even in the briefest of moments, to express that love to them, one by one.
Across East Africa, voiceless and vulnerable people are struggling to find hope. Lahash is the Hebrew word for whispered prayer – a reminder that God is answering the prayers of many lonely and forgotten children through the compassionate care of our global community. Lahash International partners with local ministries like Grace & Healing Ministry across East Africa to bring good news and holistic care to children in need. Our vision is that all children in Africa know Jesus and thrive as they are loved by a flourishing global church. For only $30 a month, you can transform a child’s life and play a critical part in confronting the effects of AIDS, war, and extreme poverty at the grassroots level. Learn about sponsorship and meet more kids who are waiting for sponsors here.
On MissionFinder, we have over 1,000 ministries offering opportunities like this to serve at home and around the world. Does your church or organization need help organizing mission trips? Check out our partner site, MissionMinder.com. Their easy to use software will help you manage all the details for your short-term mission trips and team members online. Unlimited Trips. Unlimited team members. Easy online fundraising for your team members. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.
© Jen Johnson, Writer/Editor at Lahash International