Our heart ached as we scanned photos of children needing sponsors. I was drawn to one who shared my name. Nine-year old Karen from LaCeiba, Honduras. Birthed in our hearts in a moment of time. I was forever attached to a little girl across the sea. We began exchanging letters and pictures. Perhaps we could help change her destiny.
From the beginning God CHOSE you to be saved through the sanctifying
work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thes. 2:13
Several months later, we joined a mission team heading to Honduras. We’d get to meet our little girl face to face. Rarely does a sponsor get to do that.
I remember the moment we met. She wrapped her arms around me and my husband as if we were her lifeline. Her rescuers from both physical and spiritual poverty. She had a chance now. Her monthly support wouldn’t break us. But she looked at us as if we were the wealthiest people on earth. To her, we represented hope for the future. And our dollars wouldn’t only help with food and schooling, they would help introduce her to Jesus Christ.
We had the wonderful privilege of visiting LaCeiba on two more occasions. Karen would run to us with open arms every time we met, melting our hearts as we embraced. She led us down a dusty road to her humble home on one of our visits. We met her mother busy in their outdoor kitchen. Chickens scurried out of reach. Perhaps their next meal. Her mom pleaded with us to take care of Karen if something ever happened to her. What do you say to a mom offering you her child?
Karen showed us her room where she opened a cardboard box of treasures. Inside were all of the letters we had sent her, along with pictures she had saved. I was overwhelmed at the value she placed on our correspondence. I silently pledged to write more often.
The next year we got disappointing news. Karen was withdrawn from the program. Our dollars would be transferred to another child. We never discovered what happened but feared the perils of her gang-infested community. No more letters. No more visits. We grieved the loss of our four-year relationship.
Her picture is still displayed on our refrigerator. Eternally engraved on our hearts. I think of her often and wonder where she is. All I can do is put her in God’s hands and pray…
… that what Karen heard from the beginning will remain in her. I John 2:24
…that He who began a good work in Karen carry it on to completion. Phil. 1:6
…that Karen continue in what she learned because she knows those from whom she learned it. 2 Tim. 3:14
God put her in our lives for a season. To love her into the Kingdom of God. While I’m sad to have lost her, I’m positive God hasn’t. He knows exactly where she is. I’ve released Karen into His care, trusting HE is still at work in her heart.
Have you poured yourself out for others, only to later lose them to their old way of life? You might feel like your efforts were in vain. That what you did didn’t matter. But there is hope! God’s Word tells us He will not forget our work and the love shown to those in need. Let’s not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest. In due season, fruit will come.
I believe that the seeds planted in Karen’s life were not in vain. That some day our loss will become heaven’s gain.