Undefiled Religion

Saturday night Scott and I had the unbelievable honor to share with at a fundraiser banquet our experience with supporting a child through Grace International Children’s Foundation (GICF). We had the privilege to see our African friends Morris and Aida as well as two children who were able to come over to the United States with them for the first time. Scott and I sat in the audience laughing, crying, and reminiscing as we awaited our turn to share the impact that our Sarah Nasike has had on our lives and in our family. Please take a moment to hear what was shared from my point of view Saturday night and allow your heart to be open toward pure and undefiled religion…

“It will be eight years ago this March when we had our fourth child. Like all the others we did not find out what we were having until the birth. Our oldest is a daughter and at the time she had two younger brothers and was praying desperately for a sister. However, God had other plans for our family. In March of 2004 Peter was born. Now Hannah was none too happy about this as her heart was set on a sister. For two days straight if someone even mentioned her new brother to her, our 4 ½ year old would close her mouth and retreat. She quickly adjusted to being the only girl in the family, but did not give up the desire for a sister. She begged us for a sister and even convinced her brothers that they needed another sister too. After some prayer Scott and I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to “adopt” a sister for them.

It was about this same time in early 2006 when Scott’s parents gave us some information about GICF. We sent in a request for a girl that was around Hannah’s age at the time (six) and were sent a picture of a sweet precious little girl named Sarah Nasike who we immediately knew was the one. We “adopted” Sarah into the family and her picture has hung on our refrigerator everyday reminding us to pray for her. It is such a blessing and so humbling to hear the prayers of a then six, five, four, and three year old for another child who is their peer and for one they have never met.

As if it were not enough to be so blessed through sponsoring Sarah at Lulwanda, God allowed Scott and I the opportunity to go and visit her in person a year later. After much prayer and seeking if this is what the Lord wanted for us, Scott and I headed to Africa for the first time in the summer of 2007. It was then we met Sarah in person. Words cannot describe all the emotions of placing your eyes on a child you have prayed for over a year and being able to hug and sing and read to her. We played, visited, threw water balloons, and tried to savor and cherish as much as we could with our short time with her and the other children at Lulwanda.

When we came home the kids wanted to know everything about their sister. After the jet lag was over Scott and I tried to relate every conversation we had had with Sarah, where she leaves, the other children, what she ate, and on and on. It was a special time as the kids were able to draw closer to their sister in Christ through our experience. As we continued to pray for Sarah, write letters, and watch her grow older through pictures and the GICF updates, we were pleasantly surprised when God gave us another opportunity to visit Sarah in the summer of 2010. Time had passed, but to see her again was like we had never left. She was still shy, but not as shy as before. She sang songs to us, played net ball (which she is really good at), read books, and ate jelly bellies. It was such a sweet time. Of course all of our kids wanted to go with us and as the last year has passed by and we have received more updates and personal letters from Sarah, the kids are wanting more and more to meet her. Their heart, as is ours, is with her even if it is separated by many miles.

The most amazing thing I feel that has happened to our family since we sponsored Sarah, is the change in all our hearts for those less fortunate and to see how God takes care of them. James 1:27 clearly states: “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” As all my children love Sarah, the most challenging and touching part of our sponsorship of Sarah has been watching my daughter love someone whom she has never seen or met. Giving part of her prayer time every night for Sarah, writing her letters, and sharing who her sister is with her friends, reminds me of the story of Thomas and Jesus. After Jesus’ death and appearance to the disciples, Thomas said he would not believe until he saw with his own eyes the nail scars. Listen to the account in John 20:27-29.

“After eight days His disciples were in doors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

Just as one must trust in Christ without physically being able to touch His scars, it takes a step of faith to sponsor a child whom you have never met and maybe even support an organization that you knew nothing about until tonight. But I stand here and testify tonight that adopting Sarah into our family more than six years ago has had an impact on our family that just reading the bible and attending church could ever make. Scott, Hannah, Dawson, Nathan, Peter, and I have been so blessed and have come to know the Lord’s heart for the orphans in a special way because of our willingness to believe without seeing and His faithfulness to reveal it to us. Please prayerfully listen now as my husband helps you to “see” what we were able to experience and how the Lord might be calling you to look after the widows and orphans.” (Scott went on to share more personally how it had impacted his life and he hopes to have his portion available to view on his blog soon.)

For more information about the children at Lulwanda please visit www.ugandaorphans.org. Uganda has over 2 million orphans in a country of roughly 27 million. Please consider how God desires for you to support the widows and orphans in this world. My sister also works with an organization called Back to Life. For more information about the orphans in Haiti you can visit the Back to Life Haiti Project on Facebook.

My Heart’s Prayer: Lord, you have such a large heart filled with love for your children. Sometimes I can only see past the love that you have for me and my family and friends. Sometimes I cannot even see that love. Please continue to open up my eyes so that my heart can see and feel your love for all your children. Help me to move past the feeling of love to the action of showing your love to those around me, especially the widows and orphans. To God Be the Glory for the work you have done and are continuing to do around the world through organizations like GICF and Back2Life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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  1. Thank you for your love for Sarah and for sharing your story. She also loves all of you. We at LCH will be watching the video taken of that night this Friday and I hope that many hearts here are blessed just as they were in Texas.

  2. Natalie,Thanks so much for all the love and work you do with LCH! I know the children are so blessed having you there. We will be praying on Friday for all those that will be in attendance. Give our Sarah a hug for us! Alicia

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