Wednesday, July 15, 2009

STORY.OF.EPHANTUS

MY NAME IS EPHANTUS, AND I AM HERE TODAY AS A TESTIMONY THAT THE LABOR OF COMPASSION AND THE MANY SPONSORS WHO COMMIT MONEY AND WRITE LETTERS IS NOT IN VAIN. I WAS BORN INTO A FAMILY OF FOUR. MY DAD WAS A DRUNKARD, BUT MY MOM WAS A COMMITTED CHRISTIAN. SHE WOULD TAKE US TO CHURCH WHILE MY DAD WENT TO THE BAR TO DOWN A DRINK OR TWO. AT CHURCH, WE WERE TOLD THAT GOD LOVES US, BUT WE COULDN'T CONNECT WITH WHAT LOVE WAS. WE DIDN'T EXPERIENCE LOVE IN OUR HOME.

THEN ONE DAY AN OPPORTUNITY CAME, COMPASSION CAME. I GOT A SPONSOR, A MAN CALLED JACK MAC DONALD, A MAN WHO WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART. FOR 11 YEARS HE WAS COMMITTED TO WRITING ME AND SENDING MONEY TO SPONSOR ME--A PERSON I'VE NEVER MET. TO SEE THAT SOMEBODY 8,000 MILES AWAY WOULD COMMIT TO MAKE SURE THAT I WENT TO SCHOOL AND DRESSED NICELY AND HAS MY HOSPITAL BILLS PAID--THAT IS WHERE I FIRST SAW LOVE. MY HEART STARTED UNDERSTANDING WHAT MY SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER TOLD ME ABOUT LOVE, AND I HAVE MY LIFE TO THE LORD.

WHEN I WAS 15, I GOT MY FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD. MR. JACK MAC DONALD WISHED ME A MERRY CHRISTMAS. IT BLEW ME AWAY THAT SOMEBODY CARED SO MUCH TO SEND ME A CARD. THAT WAS OVER 10 YEARS AGO, AND I STILL KEEP THAT CARD WITH ME. TODAY I UNDERSTAND WHAT LOVE IS. I'VE NEVER SEEN GOD, BUT I KNOW LOVE BECAUSE MY SPONSOR, WHOM I HAVE NEVER SEEN, HAS SHOWN ME LOVE.

MY DADDY WAS STILL DRINKING. HE WOULD COME HOME WITH A HANGOVER AND SIT, WONDERING "WHO ARE THESE GOOD PEOPLE WHO WOULD BUY MY SON CLOTHES AND GIFTS? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE SO GOOD?" THAT KEPT PRICKING HIS CONSCIENCE. ONE SATURDAY HE GOT VERY DRUNK AND WENT TO BED. ON SUNDAY MORNING HE WORK UP AND SAID, "TODAY I WANT TO GO TO CHURCH." FROM THAT DAY, MY DAD HAS NEVER MISSED CHURCH A SINGLE SUNDAY. TODAY HE IS A PREACHER AND IS DRUNK BY THE HOLY SPIRIT--BECAUSE SOMEBODY FROM THE U.S. CARED ENOUGH TO SPONSOR A CHILD. BECAUSE OF MY SPONSOR'S LOVE, MY ENTIRE FAMILY WAS TRANSFORMED.

THERE ARE MILLIONS OF CHILDREN IN AFRICA WHO NEVER GET AN OPPORTUNITY. BUT EVE THOUGH THE STATISTICS ARE LIKE THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS, I THANK GOD BECAUSE THERE IS ANOTHER STORY. LIVES ARE BEING TRANSFORMED BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE GIVING US ENCOURAGEMENT, COMMITTING TO SEE US ACHIEVE SOMETHING IN LIFE.

KNOW THAT YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN. I AM JUST ON IN A MULTITUDE. THIS PROJECT IS LIFE FOR US. FOR OUR FAMILY IT MEANT MY SALVATION, MY EDUCATION, MY HEALTH, AND MY FATHER'S SALVATION. WE HAVE HOPE BECAUSE OF COMPASSION.

I HAVE NO COMMITTED MY LIFE TO MINISTER TO YOUNG PEOPLE. IT'S MY JOY TO CARE FOR THEM, TO SHOW THEM LOVE, TO PRAY WITH THEM. THE HARVEST OUT HERE IS TRULY PLENTY, AND WE ARE SEEING LIVES TRANSFORMED. IF YOUR MISSION IS JUST FOR A YEAR, PLANT CORN; IF IT IS FOR FIVE YEARS, PLANT SOMETHING THAT WILL GROW FOR FIVE YEARS; BUT IF IT IS FOR A LIFETIME, PLANT PEOPLE.
[TAKEN FROM 'HOPE LIVES' BY AMBER VAN SCHOOENVELD]

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