Caroline’s Promise is reclaiming joy this Christmas for children in Guyana. People from all over North Carolina have been purchasing Fair Trade items online or face to face at a myriad of shows hosted by Caroline’s Promise volunteers. Those purchases have made giving joy to the children at RCHCC possible this year. Imagine you are giving a fair trade gift to someone and also helping give a brighter Christmas to a child you have never met. The significance of Fair Trade purchases goes so far beyond the price tag. It is an avenue that can generate hope for someone who just wants to be remembered.
In all of our thinking we never realized the impact a child with a chronic illness would have on another child an ocean away. However the thankful hearts of the children in Guyana and their simple Christmas wishes totally impacted the hearts of two boys. The dream God gave to Lisa and David seven years ago is not only alive in their hearts. It is fueling passion and compassion in the lives of their children.
The Christmas plan went into motion as I went by RCHCC to help the children write Christmas letters to a friend. The friend was not a person, but rather Caroline’s Promise, but my goal was to keep it simple. As I walked in the home I saw paper decorations on the walls, done by the children to dress the place up for Christmas. When I told them I came to help them write letters to a friend they got all excited and wanted to know who their friend would be. Had they come on a team to visit them? Did I know them? Were they the same friends that gave them a gift a couple of years ago? Were they coming to see them? I explained that their friend was someone who wanted to make Christmas a little more special for them and detoured all their questions into having them tell me what they were thankful for this year. answers came from all directions as we started writing a letter addressed to a friend.
As I returned home and read through their letters again I smiled. One of the older girls asked for a Christmas tree, knowing they did not have one this year. She has no idea that decorations and a Christmas tree were soon coming to her door secretly bought by Caroline’s Promise and dropped off while they were at school. Another child asked for a glass slipper, like the ones worn by Cinderella. The one that really made me see how little they know about the price of things in the real world was the one who asked for a blackberry. She saw it on a commercial and thought it was cool. Her teenage wish is written, but that one won’t be granted. The innocence of children shines through in the most unusual ways to remind us children are children no matter where they call home.
I was so moved by their letters that I had to share the moment with David and Lisa and the greater Caroline’s Promise community. I scanned my letters and sent the email to Lisa. What I never expected was for a child to be moved by the letters as they were read to them in a living room a few thousand miles away. However as Lisa read handwritten scribbles and letters of children to her boys they were moved to action. She had as many questions to answer on her side of the world as I did on mine. The ideas for helping the children were rolling off the tongue of the younger son as he passionately wanted to help these children have the best life possible. He was going beyond Christmas and thinking about their life. While the older son totally absorbed the meaning of life for each child at RCHCC and the reason they are so thankful to really be alive each and every day.
Here is a peek at the conversation…
"Are you going to help them get those presents Mom? You need to." “I think this is like the coolest thing ever and you need to make sure they get their presents,” says Kendall.
"Angie has it covered" Lisa says.
Kendall says: “I so understand why they are thankful for their life - every day.”
Cameron says "that's so sad. I hope this isn't their last Christmas." Then, “I will do a fundraiser to gain money so that I can help the children that are taking meds so that they can live longer." "I will also send presents."
He wants to know if they can have stuffed animals?
Then in true Cameron style you hear…”Shhhh…Don't tell the children."
Orphans are real. They have names and faces. Their stories are real and all the questions that stir by the fact that they are an orphan do not have the easiest of answers. However, what we sometimes forget is that we have all been orphans at one time in our life. We have all been in need of a deeper connection to bring meaning to our earthly existence. How many of us have simply passed our days just existing, saying to ourselves, “Well, I got through this one.” We miss the simplicity of the real gift that was given to connect us to a life-changing relationship. So, until we connect to Christ, and realize our adoption in Him, we really cannot know a deeper purpose to our story and the reason we are alive today. One reality at RCHCC is that the children have found joy because they have discovered a Heavenly Father that will never leave them or forsake them. He has not left them as orphans; He has come to them. What they can teach us is that He has come to all of us.
In this Christmas season we are celebrating the birth of a babe who had to be legally adopted by his earthly father; taken as his own with his name. Jesus grew up knowing His purpose with a one- of-a- kind connection to His Heavenly Father. He used his time on earth to be a world-changer as He challenged the minds of the religious with a call to true justice and true religion. He challenged the minds of his humble followers to believe in Him and love him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.