Thursday, October 06, 2005

Beyond the Rituals:Letting God Reign in Our Lives

...true stories intended to touch your heart and change your life....

LUKIRO--Africa has a huge orphan problem. This is the story of one rescue attempt…

I saw them coming, a herd of Pigpens -- a cloud of rags, dirt, matted hair, and smiles. Gaunt, covered with more dirt than cloth -- little boys at heart, men in experience, beggars by trade. Lukiro and his orphan buddies slept on cardboard or concrete, played in the alleys, dreamed of living in the world of wealth. Yet, leaving the streets would be difficult--if possible at all.

Donna and I decided to launch a rescue effort. I handed Lukiro and his four friends a bar of soap each. Leading them to a cafe. I instructed the owner: "Each evening, if they have clean bodies, feed them whatever they want. Deliver the bill to me." If they managed this modest change, we’d advance to more substantial ones. My plan seemed fool proof -- but it wasn't.

Two weeks later I found the boys, as dirty as ever.

"Why did you stop batheing?" They shrugged and stared at the pavement. Musa, Lukiro's big brother, mumbled, "The big boys stole our soap."

I bought more soap. A shop owner agreed to collect it for safe keeping. Satisfied that the cracks in the dike were plugged, I left my little friends with smiles on their faces.

Still, new leaks sprouted. Obviously, a new approach was necessary. We focused on the candidate most-likely-to-succeed -- Lukiro.

"Lukiro, hop in the car. I want to take you somewhere." His eyes swelled in proportion to his grin. He couldn’t have dreamed what I was up to. He didn't care. It didn't matter. The thrill of a ride through town was more fascinating than where it lead.

We entered the restaurant. I ordered fried rice, green grams, wheat chapatis, potatoes and cabbage in curry, and a mug of fresh cold milk. Lukiro never said a word. He couldn't -- his mouth stayed too full.

Our plates empty and our stomachs bulging, we sipped our milk together. I leaned forward, my heart throbbing. "Lukiro, listen to me. I want to be your father. I want to take care of you. I want to feed you, buy you new clothes, send you to school, get you medicine when you are sick, and protect you from the mean boys on the street."

He sat silently.

"Lukiro, all I ask you to do is come with me. I have already made arrangements. There is room for you. Lukiro, I will take care of you as if you were my own son. Will you come with me and follow my instruction?"

I gave the words time to settle. He silently drank his milk. My mind leapt ahead dreaming of blessing him with a regular allowance, taking him on vacations, telling him of Christ. My heart raced in anticipation of all we would do as a family, but Lukiro's eyes searched the floor. He did not answer.

"It is too much too quick," I supposed. So I gave him time to think. We would meet at the market in two days. The days passed. I waited, but Lukiro never came.

Sometimes, in the night, in the quiet, in my bed I think, "O Lukiro! How warmly would you have rested last night had you only come to me. Never again would you have known hunger, or fear, or meanness, or poverty. I would have shown you goodness, prosperity, kindness, honesty, and love. Lukiro, I had in mind to do so much for you. You break my heart foolish little boy. You break my heart. What can I do now? You will never know all I’d planned for you."

Sometimes, in the night, in the quiet, in my heart, I consider the things God wants to do for me. "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Incredible isn't it? To imagine that The Father of all that is wonderful and delightful lies awake at night thinking and dreaming of what He can do for me. All I must do is what He says.

P.S. If you are interested in an orphan success story and possibly helping it to continue, I recommend “Made in the Streets Ministry” in Nairobi, Kenya. Learn more at or write them directly at

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