HOPE. It’s what we search for. It’s what we cling to. It’s what we found on the streets of Molo on Sunday, December 18. We prayed for hope through so many situations. Situations where we saw desperation and despair, situations where we could not comprehend or understand. God said “Hold on. The Hope that I have promised you is coming soon for you to see.” On that Sunday night, our God fulfilled that promise. It came in the form of three young boys: Issac, 10, Paul, 8, and Willy, 7. We could have never imagined how God could use these three to prove His faithfulness, and I’m sure they could have never imagined how much love and grace He could pour onto them.
Imagine being ten years old. You have been kicked out of the home that you had with your family, beaten out of the home that was supposed to have rescued you, and you are tired and dirty and hungry and scared. And so, when you see a group of people who look like they might be able to help, you find it in you to walk up. You make a simple request, “I want to go to school,” never imagining how much your life is about to change. This is what God allowed us to be a part of on that Sunday.
And so when Issac said he wanted school, we knew God was calling us to get him there. And when he said there were two others with him, we knew God was saying “Find them too”.
Thus began the whirlwind of the next 24 hours.
After the immediate needs of Issac were met, after he had been fed and could see that the intentions to help him were pure, he was able to lead the way to find the other two boys.
Again, God proved how faithful and just He is. As we were crying and calling out to HIm in the darkness of our bus, praying and begging for Him to bring the boys to us, the doors opened and Paul and Willie walked onto the bus and into our hearts.
There is no better word than FAMILY to describe what we were in the hours that followed. As we found clothes and tried dozens of different shoes on the boys and laughed and cried as they began to open up to us, we were family. When the boys got showers for the first time and we carted them up and down the halls of our hotel to find the rooms that had hot water, we were family. When we sat down for a meal and watched our three precious boys pile up the food and grin into their plates, we were family. And when we prayed to our God and thanked Him over and over and over again for the faithfulness and love and hope that we saw in each of them, we were family.
That first night, we all talked to God so much. He was with us through it all, he led us through each step. As we got to tuck the boys into warm beds (something they hadn’t had in months, if not years), we knew that it was just the beginning of their story.
All night we prayed, asking God what was next. And then sweet Phoebe knew exactly what to do. Through the grace of open and accepting hearts, and through the blessing of those who are willing to follow the Lord and open their hearts and homes, Phoebe’s parents excitedly welcomed the boys into their home.
Less than 24 hours after being on the street, the three boys and our team were en route to Phoebe’s parents’ home and to a new and brighter future. There are not words to describe the JOY of that bus ride. And there are even less words to describe the JOY of watching a new family come together for the first time.
God is GOOD, He is PERFECT and His plan is MIGHTY.
HOPE—we saw it in the transformation of three dirty, hungry boys as their former lives were washed away and they were made new by the grace of God. We saw it in the faces of a mom and dad whose family became three hearts bigger in a matter of minutes. We heard it when we received news that the boys passed interviews to attend school! But most importantly, we have this hope BECAUSE God gave it to us.
There is no better Christmas present than HOPE. Hope came to the world when a baby was born in a manger. Hope appeared in the world as that baby grew into a man who would live a perfect life. Hope remained in the world because that man died on a cross for our sins. And Hope is the story we can profess because our Lord and Savior conquered death on that cross and broke every chain so that we might live forever with Him.
We rejoice in that because He is good. We find that Hope and we cling to it even tighter, for we KNOW that our God is bigger and stronger and greater than we could ever imagine. We cling tight to that promise because we know even still that this is only the beginning of a beautiful story that He has written.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”