Let me tell you a story….

The setting is Sunday morning worship service in the African church in Ethiopia. We are squeezed together on a bench and I am between the Moms of 2 TLC sponsored children I met earlier in the week. They are both Orthodox Christian but have come to church this morning by our invitation. A small child walks into our row and persistently makes room for herself between me and one of the mothers. We are now REALLY squeezed together! No one makes her go away. I am sure Mama is nearby, but I don’t know where.

I ask the girl, “Samish man new?” “What is your name?”

“Simyra,” she smiles back at me, her little black face glistening in the heat, her ponytail “poofs” proudly crowning her head.

“How old?” I ask.

“Arat.” “Four,” she answers.

She sits with me for the longest time. First she explores my watch. She discovers that if she presses the button, a light comes on. That little button gets pressed about 2,000 times! She eventually tires of this and discovers my fingernails. She presses my fingernails into the tips of her fingers, making indentations, looking up at me with sparkly eyes and a big grin. Soon she begins to play with the veins on the back of my hand. Interesting. Back to the watch and the amazing light.

Then I feel her reach up to this funny little patch of skin that’s begun to grow under my chin in the last couple of years… my “waddle.” She explores it with her fingertips. I have a calm smile on my face.

She is my child. She is my grandchild. She is God’s child. She is the universal child.

She is the next generation half-a-world away from my home.

She is why we reach out with Jesus’ love to the little ones and their Mamas and Papas, and tell them about Jesus. This is a good thing.

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