Kids say the cutest things. Living with a 2 ½ year old is never dull. Oh how often I wonder what is going through her thought process. There is no greater reward than returning home after a long day to the welcoming arms of a child, especially after a long trip. Earlier this week I returned home from a long-weekend trip to Honduras. As she always does, my daughter greeted me at the door with a hug and a kiss and an immediate request of “hold you.” Whenever she wants me to hold her she asks in a sweet, innocent voice, “Hold you.” As if she could actually hold me! None-the-less I always comply.
My daughter and son are both lucky. Not because they have me as a father, but rather because they have someone to hold them. I was reminded of this blessing during my time in Honduras. It was our first stop at Nueva Esperanza that we were introduced to 20 plus infants (0-4) with two caregivers. All ten of us did our best to comply with the cries to be held. Many of us held two at a time. Unfortunately this was only temporary. After 20 minutes we had to place the kids back in their cribs and leave. There was not a dry eye in the group, including the children.
There are 150 million orphans in the world, each with a name, each with a longing to be held. For those of you that are parents and grandparents, the thought of a child with anyone to hold them is heartbreaking. My love and passion for the orphans of the world came long before I was a parent. However, my broken heart came on my first trip after becoming a father. On that very day your perception is completely changed. We’ve had a rough year in the Hogg home. My daughter had tubes put in her ears and my son had RSV and spent a week in the hospital. The doctors and nurses provided excellent care, but the greatest medicine seemed to be the love of a mother or father as we held them tight and kissed them on the head.
Don’t you think every child has the right to be held? I do. And I think Jesus did as well. In the book of Matthew he actually placed his hands on a child and mandated "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (19:14)
I’m reminded of a week I spent in Latvia. This trip was especially special because we actually stayed in the orphanage. Each night we would read a book to the kids and join them in prayer time before tucking them into bed. One would think a child would grow out of wanting to be held. But for one that has never been held that desire never goes away. Every night for a week I actually held a 15 year old boy by the name of Janis and rocked him to sleep as we told stories and sang songs.
So how do we fulfill this desire? One child at a time. At Nueva Esperanza Buckner is attempting to raise support to pay women from the local church to spend a few hours a day in the orphanage holding children. We already have a similar ministry in Russia. What an amazing ministry. Not only are you providing supplemental income for women in need, but you are providing loving arms to hold a child. Father Buckner would be proud. If you have any interest in supporting this program or personally going to hold a child, shoot me an email at email@example.com. As a former colleague of mine once said, “All you need to go on a mission trip is two arms to hold.”
Holding on for Him. JH
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