Wednesday, July 21, 2010


We were at a project today that was about a 30 minute drive outside of Arusha. Very poor. I noticed this little girl lingering around corners everywhere I went and I drew her over to me. I held her hand and didn't let go for 2 hours. Through a translator I learned that she is not in the Compassion program but her younger brother is. Because of Compassion's desire to rescue as many children from poverty as they possibly can, there is a rule that there can be only one child per family. So, she was feeling painfully left out of our little party.
This sweet child is desperately poor. She was dirty. Her hair is matted and her head flattened from carrying buckets of water on her head daily. Her shoes were broken flip flops. Her only set of clothes is a torn skirt and an old Winnie The Pooh shirt. Her teeth are stained brown from bad water. Her parents are separated and her mother doesn't live at home. She lives and works in Arusha. Lucy lives with her father and he works at the airport but is an alchoholic and the pastor said he has other mental problems.

After learning that she was not part of the program, I told her that today I will love on her and for today I am her "sponsor". I sat down and wrote her a letter immediately and asked the translator to write the translation on the back of it. I wrote -

My Lucy,

You are a beautiful little girl. I will keep your picture forever and I will pray for you. I pray that you grow up into a beautiful woman of God. I love you.

Our attachment drew some attention of the pastor and other project workers.  The pastor shared the concerns he has for this child and through many conversations, they started to discuss making a special acception to bring her into the Compassion program.  This was not my intention at all in how I loved on Lucy today and I assured the program director that I understood that this was not my expectation.  But today, they have decided to investigate the possibility to bring her into the Program.  I leave it up to God.

I did not let go of Lucy all day except to do what I needed to do. She was "My Lucy" all day. I had to go to the meal prepared for us, eat quickly because we were late to leave to come back to our guesthouse and when I came out, she was gone. I asked all the children "My Lucy"?

I turned to walk towards our bus and saw Lucy coming back from her home. I dropped my stuff and held my arms wide and she ran to me. I picked her up and swung her around. Kissed her head, let her go with some candy and she ran off and as I got on the bus, I called out to her and she waved.

The last thing I saw was her smiling face as she ran home.


Vicki Small said...

Oh, Andrea. You are an amazing vessel of God's love for these kids! This is a beautiful, wonderful story!

On my first sponsor tour, a boy of 12 latched onto me. He also was not sponsored, and was too old to be sponsored, by then. I didn't think to ask whether he had siblings who were in the program, but I had to make sure that he knew about Jesus and that Jesus loves him and has a plan for his life. I wish I had had the presence of mind to do as you did, leaving him with a translated note to keep!

Celia said...

Alright, from now on I need to have the Kleenex box handy when I'm about to open your blog posts. That little girl will love you the rest of her life! And your timeless note she will cherish forever, I'm sure, and it will be like a touchstone for her. I pray that God does allow her to be in the program. I think we definitely have not heard the last about Lucy Praise God for your chance to have this day with her!! Wow.....

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story, Lucy (I'm a friend of Vicki's). I went to TZ a few years ago to meet my 2 kids and I know exactly what you are feeling.

I did want to tell you that in some countries, more than one child is able to be in the program. It is all depending on the sponsoring rules in each country.

Enjoy the rest of your visit! You will come back a changed person, I promise!

Paulette said...

Andrea, thank you for sharing these wonderful stories. God is certainly at work in Tanzania, and working mightily through all of you! I am Jessica's mother... your travel buddy in Nairobi. How is she?

Dawn said...

Today you made a difference in that little girl's life. She'll treasure that letter forever.

Dawn said...

Today Lucy felt special. I doubt she has ever had as much attention as you gave her today. I love the letter. I bet she treasures that forever.