Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Prayer Mat
Pictured along the lower right hand column of photos is Eseza. Eseza was the first child we sponsored through Blessings for Joy. Aids took her mother and father at an early age. We would write letters and send photos and receive mail in return. When we first took on the financial responsibility of this little girl, I never realized what it really meant to her (and me for that matter) until she died.
An email came in from Blessings for Joy, delivering the news of her death. I remember sitting there stunned. It had never occurred to me our sponsored child could die. But why not? She was in fact orphaned do to aids. She very well could have it herself. She was of course living in Uganda, a third world country, known for poverty and disease. Why had that thought never entered my mind? When the email came, tears burned my eyes. But the part that literally took the wind out of my sails was this:
"Eseza's last request was this: once she is gone, she would like her prayer mat to be delivered to her mum and dad."
At that moment, I realized the difference you can make in a child's life, half way around the world, without ever even holding their hand, tucking them in at night or teaching them the ways of the world. Eseza cherished the thought of us. She prayed for us...on that mat. A little girl, with nothing to her name but a school uniform, a crib mattress to sleep on (provided by us) and prayer mat; prayed for US.
It is humbling.
I eventually got to visit her country. I attended a Bible study with several Ugandan women working to get out of prostitution and told them of Eseza. Tears ran down these ladies dark, soft cheeks as they listened. They cried for this little girl, even though they all know ten more like her. Each one of these orphans matter. Their stories matter.
Eseza's mat finally found it's way to us this week. I will always look at it and remember her, and remind myself to pray for others, even when I need all the prayers I can get.
Here is the first letter she sent us...
In loving memory of Eseza~