Sure, I can do that. I can thank God for my two sponsor girls, I can thank God for giving me the opportunity to have a relationships with them and, thus, with God, Himself. And so I sat down to write. And things just came out...well, plain.
And then, days later, I had a dream about Daniela.
I've never dreamed about Daniela before. She's the sponsor child I've had for 8 years and who I visited this past May.
The dream I had last night was more vivid and more real than what I actually remember from our visit. Isn't that weird? Yet, without that time of us meeting face-to-face, despite our shyness and nervousness, this dream couldn't have impacted me as much as it did.
All I remember from the dream was talking with her (we spoke the same language, which was strange) and looking into those deep, intensely dark eyes, her ebony hair flowing behind her, that gorgeous smile. And I remember the hug. I remember hugging her so tightly that when I awoke I literally ached for her.
Tonight, I sat outside on my back porch at twilight and cried.
I missed Daniela.
I ached for her.
And, so, I write my letter to God now. Here.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I can see her so clearly in my head, Lord. Wearing that yellow shirt which starkly contrasted with her Latin American complexion and dark eyes and hair. She looked like a supermodel. In real life, Lord, not just in my dream. Daniela was more beautiful than I can ever imagine and I thank You so much for giving me the opportunity to meet her.
Not many sponsors can say they got to meet their sponsor child. I feel so very fortunate. And yet my heart aches because that dream...I felt so close to her in my dream...and yet, tonight, I cry because I feel so far away.
I miss her, Lord. I wish I could return to Central America and do all the things I would have done in hindsight. I wish I could have been less shy, less nervous. Funny, in a recent letter, she wrote the same thing to me. She's 13, Lord, and she wrote to her 34-year-old "Madrina" (which means Godmother in Spanish) that she wished she was less self-conscious and could have been more outgoing during our visit.
A teenager wishes this, a teenager who, by hormonal nature, is usually shy and unsure. A teenager told this to a 34-year-old who, by most understanding, ought to be confident and well-spoken. Well, I was just as nervous and unsure as she was.
I couldn't stop smiling when I saw her in person, and I tried to strike up questions, but I just felt too nervous.
Not so in this dream. In my dream, we were laughing and sharing stories and loving each other.
And I awoke with such a clear picture of how I now want to visit her.
So on my back porch, Lord, I pray:
Thank you for the gift of Daniela and my other sponsor child in Indonesia, an 8 year old spirited girl who has the most intriguing eyes.
Thank you that my letters, prayers, and my monthly giving can impact a child so deeply.
And thank you, Lord, that these children's letters and prayers for me can impact me so deeply. I never expected it to be such a reciprocal road.
Thank you, Lord, for You - who connect these children and myself across miles and miles, across mountains and oceans, across political strife and poverty. You are the common link, Lord. You are our bridge. You are our common language.
I write that to Daniela a lot - I even told her when we all met in her church building - I said how amazed I was that God could connect one girl in Central America to one woman in the United States (I held one arm out to one side and the other arm out to the other side and then closed the gap to illustrate).
|L-R, My stepdaughter, our translator, and myself (copyright Lisa Auter 2012)|
What an amazing God we have!
For these children, Lord, I pray that You would give them Your Holy Spirit to guide them. Help their parents raise them in Your Ways. Guide these young girls to womanhood knowing their value in Your eyes. Teach them how good it is to be a Christ-follower.
Of course, I pray for their daily needs, Lord. That is a given. That is what people mostly think of when they think of monthly giving to a sponsor child: how the money will give them more food, better water, a chance at education, and better medical guidance. And that is all true - Compassion International does all that.
But Compassion does so much more.
Children don't just need food in their bellies; they need God's kiss on their foreheads. Mosquito netting is vital - as vital as knowing God is everything.
Lord, give them Your Everything.
This I pray in Your Precious and Life-Saving Name,
Will you consider helping a child get their Everything?
The road is not one-way.
In return, you will get more than you ever could dream of.
I know; I dreamed it. And it was real.
You will get your Everything, too.
Pray about sponsoring a child. There are so many waiting, wondering, and dreaming their own dreams.
God bless you in your prayerful consideration.
|village girls praying before the meal (copyright Lisa Auter 2012)|