Not really knowing the importance of it all, but wanting to please my new bride; that is what we did. The result was that I became friends with a group of the finest people you would ever want to meet. Ranchers—most of them, or in businesses very closely associated with ranches. These are the high prairies and it is cattle country.
When Vivian was a little girl, her dad was the pastor of what is now known as the Union Center Community Church. That church and the people of the area have remained in our lives for all of these years, being a very significant part of our work all through the different countries where we have lived and the capacities in which we have worked.
Earlier this spring, one of the women of the church wrote to Vivian and told her that the church would like to use the offerings of the children in their Bible School this year for the orphanage of the Log Church of Kenya. I was very happy to hear this, but since we received that news some time ago, it had kind of slipped my mind.
Now I want to fast-forward again to last week and earlier this week. Last Friday, Pastor Joel wrote to me to tell me that the orphanage was out of food, and would I please pray that the Lord would send them food. I asked God if he would open the windows of heaven itself and send manna for these children of his.
On Sunday afternoon I sent Joel a text asking if they had received any food from any source. He replied that after the offering taken at their church, they were able to buy a little so each of the children had a little to eat, but that there was nothing for the following day.
That was last Sunday. On Monday I walked to our mailbox, and in the box was a letter from that same woman in Union Center. I thought not much of it, since she and Vivian are close friends and they often exchange letters. I am also glad when those letters come, since I also like to hear the news from South Dakota. Vivian reads the letter and tells me how the people and crops are doing.
But when I picked up the letter from the mailbox, the thought of the Bible School offering did not enter into my thinking, since it had been some time ago when I first heard of the possibility, but I had heard nothing since then. I had largely discounted it long ago and thought something else must have come up.
In the letter that came, the local news from our friend was a little shorter than normal, because the real purpose of the letter was to send the offering from the Bible School kids—a very generous and giving offering.
That was on Monday. On Tuesday I went to town to send the money to Joel. On Wednesday morning there was a text on my phone saying that the money had been received in Kisii, they had been to the market, and the children were eating and very joyful.
I love this story because it is a story of kids: Vivian as a kid making friendships with other kids, all now grown up. But now the kids of these childhood friends (or mostly the grandkids of these friends), gave their monies in the Bible School offering so other kids a half a world away could have something to eat after several days of going almost without any food. These kids a half a world away are kids who have no parents. Their only family is the people of the Log Church and Orphanage of Kisii, Kenya.
This is a story of kids helping kids. Children helping children.
Jesus said, “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I know this kids helping kids story is not the sort of thing that Jesus had in mind when he spoke those words, but don’t you see what a great honor it was for me to be involved to make this happen—the kids from Union Center, South Dakota helping kids from Kisii, Kenya, East Africa?
I feel like I just saw a little glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven!