Today is a milestone for us. It was 9 months ago that we stood in our kitchen, scouring through pictures on the internet of children half a world away in India. I had just finished hanging a new piece of art on the wall, a picture of the 10 lepers, showing the one leper who turned to show gratitude to Jesus for the miracle of healing. I hung it there so we could remember that significant lesson. Little did I realize, our own lives were about to be knit together with the very people we honored through that piece of art.
A phone call from a friend prompted our search into the leper colonies in India and why such a disease still ravages lives, despite miraculous modern medicine. We learned about the remarkable organization, Rising Star Outreach, and decided that we wanted to spend part of Faith’s 7th grade year there to take part in the incredible work they are doing. It would require taking the year off from public school to study and prepare ourselves to serve the sweet children and their families. Once the decision was made, we blasted full steam ahead.
Plans for a fundraiser began. Our idea was to design a bracelet that would capture the hearts of our own friends and family – more than a donation, maybe a new way to look at life. We talked at length about the great needs around the world, but also the simple need for kindness surrounding each of us daily. We issued a challenge to our friends to send us pictures of a time they did something to make a positive change for someone else, or a time when someone made a positive change for them. The response was overwhelming. You can see that on our video.
Preparations have been unexpectedly challenging. Excitement and grand ideas have given way to weariness at times. But now with a website built, bracelets packed and ready to ship, passport in hand, books read, homeschool somewhat figured out, tears shed and prayers said, we are finally able to share our worthwhile message with the world. As a mother, my greatest hope is that my children will see their significance in the world by showing others theirs.
Faith is the face of this journey – all we have done to bring positive changes around us, and ultimately to the people of India. It has been my job to support her and encourage her growing mind to see important things with clarity. In the end, she is still just a 12 year old girl (almost 13, she keeps reminding me!). My first daughter. One of my best friends. A teenager in every sense of the word with a heart that instinctively senses the most minute details, which makes her my teacher every day.