Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Fourth Girl...

   I know many of you are waiting for Naomy's story as I left you hanging on my last post. So here goes.....

   It was at the end of an incredibly busy day, Christmas Day in fact, that I sat down at the computer to check my mail and relax a bit. I had only recently decided to travel with Compassion International to Kenya, and so I wandered over to the Compassion website to just look at the Kenyan children up for sponsorship. Knowing that I would soon be setting foot in Africa and running, playing, dancing and singing with those beautiful children in the projects, I simply wanted to see some of their faces. I don't go to this site very often because I am at my personal limit for sponsorship. But I am also an Advocate for Compassion and once in a while I will see a child that I feel compelled to share. Sometimes I share on "Our Compassion", a website for sponsors similar to Facebook, sometimes on Facebook itself and other times directly with a friend who I know might be interested.
   To me, the faces of waiting children are all so precious. Some of them appear shy, or sad and sometimes even angry. Others are beaming, with their white teeth glowing from their dark-skinned faces. All of them are living in poverty and all of them are waiting for someone to choose them.
   I have had the immense privilege of matching close to thirty kids with their new sponsor. God is so generous to allow me to be a part of something so close to my heart. And bringing together a child so far away with their new hero is almost magical. Maybe you can't picture it because it is not your cup of tea. But I'm telling you, for me it is equivalent to finding a hundred dollar bill you thought you lost, or having your favorite team score the winning goal. Or waking up and realizing it's not Monday but Saturday and you have all morning to sleep in! Yesss!
   As I scrolled through the Kenyan children, one little face immobilized me. My heart did a bungee jump and my eyes refused to move forward to the next waiting child.

A six year-old girl named Naomy.

 I can't emphasize enough how quickly and completely I fell in love with this child while at the same time knowing she did not belong to me. There wasn't anything particularly noteworthy about her information: She lived with her mom, had six siblings, she liked to run.  Her face was sad and her belly seemed swollen and she wore a blue dress. No socks. But she did have shoes. I tried to go to the next page of kids but was continually reeled straight back to Naomy.

 I had to share her. There was no way around this one. And I loved her completely. Without reserve. It wasn't even a choice.

I resisted the idea of posting her on Facebook. I mean, after all, it's Christmas DAY and I was sure that no one would be looking for ways to spend even MORE money. But I could not deny the intense prompting to share Naomy. I hoped that if someone did take her, it would be a friend who wouldn't mind sharing her letters and updated photos with me. This is how much this girl meant to me.

As I continued to check on her throughout the evening, Naomy disappeared from the Compassion website. This most likely meant that she was gone...chosen by someone out there in the big wide world. I would never know what happened to her and never see that face again. I eventually went to bed and wrestled all night long with an indescribable burden for this child. I kept seeing her face and her name was being whispered into my thoughts over and over again. What was going on?

The next morning I went straight to the computer to check and see if she was indeed gone. But my screen opened first to Facebook where I had last left it. I had a message. From a friend. She said, "Hi Julie.....God has spoken. I am now Naomy's  sponsor."

It was Arlene. And I immediately knew the perfect match had been made by a God who so obviously had set us all up. This was right and I felt a release in my spirit from that heavy burden. I know Arlene has her own story to tell of how she found Naomy and how sponsorship has changed her life.

I am taking a backpack filled with presents to Naomy from her new sponsor. With Compassion, if you can get the gifts into the country, they will make sure they are delivered to the child. It has been a blast comparing notes with Arlene, shopping for all the things little girls love and packing and repacking our bags. As I was looking at a map of Kenya and trying to see where our team was headed, I was stunned to see that Naomy's village location was just above Nairobi! My mind contemplated the possibilities....would it be possible to make an individual visit to her home and deliver Arlene's gifts in person? Is there time? And would it ruin any already well-laid plans?

With a flurry of phone calls and emails the impossible had happened. In the beginning it was enough just to have found Naomy a sponsor. And then for that sponsor to turn into someone who had a heart like I did for her new little friend. The biggest gift of all was to find out that I could indeed meet this girl face to face, take pictures of her and her family and personally tell her how much she is loved by Arlene. 

But the best part was yet to come. After checking and rechecking times and dates and schedules, we discovered that my visit would fall on a very special day.....Naomy's seventh birthday. I do believe Someone has this kid's number.