I’ve heard that statement five times! Thanks to the magic of ultrasound technology I alway new the sex of my unborn child. After four boys and four girls our ultrasounds were batting a thousand. Only the last time was I suprised. I fact I was completely caught off guard. But there was no ultrasound. I wasn’t even at the hospital. I was at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville Kentucky.
Six thousand teenagers converged on Louisville last summer for a week long convention put on by the Church of the Nazarene. As an adult sponsor, I was able to attend with my two oldest children. Various musicians, speakers and organizations were also in attendance throughout the week. In response to a message about child sponsorship, I left my seat in the arena and headed to the floor.
It was a young lady from an organization called Nazarene Compassion Ministries that informed me that ‘It’s A Girl.’ My eyes immediately filled with tears as she handed me a packet representing a 7-year-old little girl from Bangladesh. Her name is Shompa, and that was all I was able to read before my vision was so blurred from tears I could barely find my way back to my seat.
As a father, I recognize that emotion when I look at my own children, and know they depend on my contribution to their lives; not a monetary contribution, but a love contribution. It wasn’t an abundance of cash that led me to sponsor a child. In fact, I had every financial reason not to accept such a responsibility.
I took that packet because it represented a human life. A life that needed to be changed. It represented a child in need. It represented a little girl whose parents could not do for her the most basic of things. I took that packet because I would want someone to take the one with my childs picture on it if I couldn’t give her food, water, and shelter.
That packet represented something bigger than me. It represented a cause. It represented a movement of humanity. But most of all, it represented a connection to Shompa’s father, who I imagine nodding at me with tears in his eyes as I took that packet. As I accept what is such an insurmountable burden to him, yet such a small one to me.
That packet also represents the lesson to my own children: that life is bigger than what is inside our four walls, and that our family can be as big as we want to make it. All we have to do is open our hearts and reach out our hands.