See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. – 1 John 3:1
Lydia is a woman born in Uganda to a dying widow. One of the only things Lydia received from her mother was HIV/AIDS. Lydia spent the early years of her life lying in the corner of her hut, being shown almost no affection, and teetering on the brink of starvation. If it were not for the concern of a neighbor who brought her food, Lydia would not have survived the early years of her life.
Her mother died when she was only 9 years old, leaving her to be cared for by her 17 year old brother. Sadly, he was ashamed of his sister’s condition and refused to feed or medicate her, telling her she was dying anyway. She was rejected by the other children in the village and all she could do was pray that God saw her differently.
One day, the same neighbor who had provided food delivered the news of a home in town for children with HIV/AIDS. She paid for transportation to bring Lydia to the home and told the caretakers her story. Ms. Sara, the “mother” of the home, told Lydia that she wanted her to be a part of the family, and immediately loved as her own daughter. Ms. Sara opened her arms and drew Lydia in for a hug; this was foreign to Lydia, who had never received affection in this way. She collapsed into Ms. Sara’s arms and cried with joy.
This was the care that Lydia had prayed for. She was loved. Lydia grew up to be an extraordinarily compassionate woman whose smile now beams as she takes care of children who come from a situation similar to hers. With unshaken faith, she holds the children when they are scared, hurt, or sick, knowing that the embrace she received changed the course of her life. It told her that she was valued and worthy of affection. She gives out more hugs than most people because she understands the unspeakable power of touch.
Research: Ready, Set…
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Plan out the time you want to volunteer or the donation you want to make. If you’re volunteering, call the organization (or contact them through email or their website––whatever works best!) and set up your volunteer day. It’s okay if your day is next week or even next month, just make sure you get everything set up! Fill out any paperwork you need to and schedule a separate orientation time if they need you to do that. If you’re donating, set aside the money you’re going to give and spend some time praying over the people it will help.
Activity: Christ in Me
Today’s activity is going to include a little more reading. Find Rankin Wilbourne’s book Union With Christ at your local library, through Kindle, Amazon, or at a local bookstore. The whole book is about finding your identity in Christ, but we specifically want you to read “Chapter 8 – A New Horizon: Where Am I Headed?” Wilbourne writes beautifully about how Christ has come to make us more ourselves, rather than to replace who we are. He writes about us as damaged masterpieces, and tells us that Jesus came to restore us to our original beauty. Think about how this chapter applies specifically to you, then think about how it applies to everyone in the world. If you thought of everyone as a beautiful human being created in the image of God, how would that change the way you live?