Jeremy (lovingly) mentioned that I should have commented on my FOURTH member of my board, who, really, was my FIRST member. This person's spirit is so, so strong and we are SO blessed to have in on our board for Small Stones.
From the beginning, this has been "Taiger's and my" project. For years he has listened to me talk about China. Since before he could speak, I was telling him stories of my old home, and he was being prepared to serve the people in China. From the time he was a new born, I would rock him in my arms and sing Chinese lullabies to him. As a toddler, he would ask how soon we could move to China. Taiger knows there are people there, waiting for us to help them.
When the idea came to mind to move to Ghana, I spoke with Taiger about it, making sure it would be okay with him if we moved. He was confused at first about why we were going to Africa and not to China, seeing as how he had been waiting his entire life for that move. I reassured him that we WOULD still be moving to China, just to Africa first. It took him a while to process this other place about which he knew so little at the time. We started having lessons about Africa in our little school we do together. Soon, he was anxious to go to Africa. Before long, on a world map, he could point out Africa and also Ghana...and Madigascar, actually.
It was a sad day when I had to tell him we couldn't go to Africa. He is still upset about it. I can tell he felt the loss as deeply as I, if not more. At first he was confused, then angry, then acted like he had had something very special stollen from him. It has been hard to watch him deal with not being able to go to Africa, but I am happy he seems to be less hurt by it. I think that finding ways to serve the children of Ghana has helped him through his sorrow and anger. In some ways, I think he felt connected to Ghana and Africa, as I had talked to him about how he was half from that land and half from America.
Taiger is the only child on the Small Stones board. Him being a child brings so many blessings to the board of Small Stones. Because he is a child, he brings to the table child-like love, child-like faith, child-like hope, Child-like joy and child-like acceptance of others.
Child-like love is the purest love. It is not selfish, does not have another agenda, and does not bennifit oneself. It loves everyone and never discriminates in who recieves it.
Child-like faith is faith unwavaring. It is a beliefe in all things good, pure, wholesome and joyful. It is beliefe without doubt.
Child-like hope is the hope for all things good and beautiful. It is a hope for love and joy and it never ceases.
Child-like joy is a joy in all things good! It is joy for joy's sake! It needs no coercing, and holds back nothing. It is easily gained and easily expressed.
Child-like acceptance of others reaches to EVERYONE! It never judges, it never discriminates. It never wonders what it will gain in return.
Can you see the many, many things we can learn from children? Can you see the things Small Stones board members can learn from Taiger? Just think, if each member of our board and each person participating in Small Stones could learn to be child-like in all things, imagine the difference we could make in the world!!
I read this story some time ago when I was first considering Small Stones. It touched my heart then, and it still does today. It reminds me of the things I have just mentioned, about child-like faith and hope.
This story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa.
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies, and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). And ‘it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon. While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there?The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her? 'Of course,' I replied!
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'
I am so thankful to have Taiger on our board! He is such an amazing little boy! He is always happy and so full of LOVE. I love him so much and am so thankful he is my son.