“Tutawatoa chini!” She said after handing me a white envelope that had “All For One Choir” inscribed on it. On the lower right hand corner was the word LOVE with a hand drawn heptagon (seven sided polygon) around it. It was hours later when I became emotionally comfortable to open that envelope. In it was one of the most memorable donations I have ever received for any of the charitable organizations I have raised funds for.
The value of the bills, totaling $20, who gave it, and the way it was given and her words made me feel as if I had been given millions of dollars.
The Congolese children, all refugees, attending the Collister United Methodist church in Boise, Idaho, watched slides of the orphans, children of widows and those from poverty-stricken families in Kenya who are sponsored through Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope. I showed the girls who were in danger of either being forced into early marriage, child labor or prostitution because they couldn’t afford high school tuition of $500/year.
They saw how soon the face of a child with torn clothes, poor body condition and a defeated unhappy expression, could be transformed by people who care. The transformed child, wearing school uniform, kempt hair and a smile common to those with hope, stood in school in Kenya next to her sponsor from Boise.
What creates a lump in my throat are the vivid images of new Americans and families as they settle in their new homeland. I have had to take some of them boxed lunches from the Boise Rescue Mission. The Idaho Foodbank, knowing that most of these children may not have lunch when schools are closed, started a humanitarian program — taking food and distributing it to children at the public parks in the Treasure Valley area.
These are the children who heard that I needed to raise $1.3 million to purchase a high school facility for girls. The girls will have food, study without interruptions, receive counseling and guidance as well as other youth development programs in a safe environment and vocational training. With Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope operating the school, we could double the number of students we serve with today’s current sponsorship.
It was about a month after I gave the presentation when I went back to the church, to celebrate its 100th anniversary. On my way to the car, I heard, “Baba Kituku!” When I turned, I saw two young girls from the choir following me. One of them handed me the envelope and said, “This is for the children you help in Kenya” in Swahili. They explained that it was specifically contributed by the All For One Choir (the name they call their amazing children’s singing group).
As they left, one of them turned and said, “Tutawatoa chini!” We will get them from the ground!” I was speechless. I just cried. They had saved whatever they could for over a month to help children from the continent they had left behind. They gave it with love.
I immediately entered their group’s name and the amount they contributed in the database — and naturally registered in my heart that they are among the major donors of this project.
From that moment, I knew God, who touched the hearts of those children to give out of the abundance of their need, has the remaining funds for the project somewhere.
If you want to experience fulfillment and make each day a Thanksgiving Day, try getting someone from “their ground.” You won’t have to worry about the trivial matters that keep us down.