Anna, 22, has been sponsoring a child with African Vision of Hope since she was 13 years old. Even at a young age, she recognized the amazing, life-changing impact that child sponsorship has on the life and the future of a Zambian child living in extreme poverty. Hear from her today and be encouraged by her journey.
“When a little boy became my shadow for over a week in Zambia, Africa, I knew I had to get to know him and his story. He didn’t have a uniform on, and he seemed much younger than the other students. He would crack a smile when I looked at him; a smile that exposed his missing two front teeth. There were no words ever exchanged because he could not understand or speak English. He wanted to be known by me, and it seemed like up until that point in his life, he hadn’t been noticed by anyone. I soon found out that he was the groundskeeper’s son. He wasn’t even enrolled in school yet, which is why he did not sport the blue button-up uniform that the other kids were wearing. As the week went on, the boy, who I came to know as Lameck, clung to me more and more.
Throughout my time in Zambia, I learned that Lameck was a child of two illiterate parents who had never been to school. They had recently lost two of their own children, Lameck’s siblings, due to preventable and treatable illnesses. My heart sank as I realized the inevitable reality that his life could end in the same way. I began to think to myself: ‘What if I really could be a part of his life, even after my time on the ground is finished?’ Looking at him, I could imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with him, watch him pass from grade to grade, see him come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior, watch him graduate high school and maybe even have a family of his own one day. I returned to the United States knowing that I would not spend 365 days a year in Zambia to see all of these milestones take place. While I knew for a fact that the Lord certainly did not need me to complete these works in Lameck, I couldn’t help but go back to the scriptures that commanded me to look after such people.
“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13
I was 13 years old, and I knew that I did not have the money to cover the sponsorship for Lameck. But, I wanted this to be an offering to the Lord from my own heart, not from my mom’s or dad’s. For the first 6 years of sponsoring Lameck, I spent my summers earning money doing odd jobs and selling African art pieces that I had purchased while in Zambia. I would raise enough funds to complete the annual sponsorship fee that would allow me to sponsor Lameck without the help of my mom or dad. Once I began to earn money for myself, I was able to switch to the monthly sponsorship contributions. When I was just starting to support Lameck, $30 dollars a month was a lot for a 13-year-old to consider. Now that I earn an income, it seems more manageable. The cost of sponsorship recently rose to $37, and I happily opted to accept the increased monthly amount because I know how much other kids, like Lameck, desperately need all of the help African Vision of Hope provides them.
When I receive a new picture of Lameck and see how he has grown or receive update emails from African Vision of Hope about the many projects they have to improve the compound, I remember that the $37 dollars I give isn’t really what it is about. My $37 provides Lameck with a full month of education and food, a uniform, books, electricity, running water for clean hands, medical care, access to Godly men and women mentors, hope for tomorrow, and a bright future. But, more importantly, it connects me to a little boy halfway across the world who calls me sister. It’s fun, as the years go by, to see him grow not only in stature but spiritually and mentally. The next time I went to Zambia he was able to say, “Hi Anna, how are you?”, and the next year, he could answer my questions with short answers in English. My heart is full of joy knowing that, by the Lord’s grace, I will one day see Lameck become the man God has always intended Him to be.
We are all called to take care of the Lord’s people, and there are no exceptions or escape clauses. Giving does not start with the accumulation of wealth – it starts with an obedient heart. Matthew 25:30 tells us that God will say to those who have looked after the needy of the earth. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
For me, $37 a month means being connected to what God is doing and to who God is loving around the world. Would you consider what $37 a month means to you? What could it mean to a child who is waiting for an opportunity to be known, educated and loved?”
Follow in Anna’s footsteps and sponsor a child like Lameck today.