Hannah brought home two small packs of sweets from her afternoon out with friend Sary. The sweets were wrapped in colored transparent cellophane obviously made by a small-scale backyard business. I asked where she got them and she told me this story:
After spending crazy time at Worlds of Fun, they went to eat at McDonalds. Near the entrance, they were met by a girl (Hannah said she looked like a college girl) who offered them the sweets. She was selling them to raise money for tuition fee. Hannah said the girl showed them her college ID, she looked nice and Hannah believed she was genuine, that she was as she claimed herself to be. She and Sary at once bought two packs each. She said there were others also who readily bought her merchandise. (The sweets looked like they were priced 10x their expected price, but then I understand that if she didn’t put a considerable profit, it would take her ages to save up for tuition fee. And that is why also, the girls bought only two packs each ).
I bit my lip upon hearing this. I know, yes, I KNOW, how it is to be so desperate to finish college amid financial hardship. I had been there: 5 gruelling years of struggle and tears, at times with hunger, at other times with the fear of not being able to take the Final Exams because I hadn’t paid my tuition yet.
I admire the girl who braved selling not-too-attractive sweets in the mall just to finish college. My eyes well up for such a heart for education and the unrelenting dream for a bright future. I can see a part of myself in her.
And since we want the underprivileged but bright kids have a chance to education, our family has been sending a few to school the past years. I am telling this not to brag about what we do. I am always reminded by the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 6:3 regarding our charitable acts: “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” I want to tell our story to inspire others to do the same. That is all.
There are lots of families in our Church, especially in the far provinces, who are rich in faith but poor in material wealth. Most of the kids from these families sing in the Children’s Choir and love the Lord with all their young hearts and minds. We choose those who are fatherless or orphans and who really love to go to school.
It has been a rewarding journey of love for us. This year, by the abundant grace of the Lord, we are expecting to add one or two more children to our sponsorship. I pray the Lord will give them to us.
These words from Psalm 18:25 and Matthew 5:7 compel me:
With the merciful you show yourself merciful…
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
For I so need His mercy. But I know that these stirrings of love for the other person take their roots from God.
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 ESV)
I know so well that my heart is imperfect. I still struggle with envy, jealousy over God’s love, comparison, self-pity, bitterness, selfishness (these mainly emanate from my prolonged sickness and suffering). And if I’m downright honest, I must also add a little of covetousness, materialism, and just plain worldliness. But it is God who sanctifies and transforms me. What I can do is to cling to Him like a branch clinging to the Vine and do my best to obey His commands.
And in these small acts of love, I hope and pray that I am doing just that.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 ESV)
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Journey with Jesus,