Would you do it for just one?
I was posed this very question just before I ventured to Uganda a couple months back. It turned out to be the single most important question I carried with me.
50 hours of travel, 10 days without the conveniences of home, I learned just who would be at the center of that very question.
Our faces locked eyes on my very first day back in the community of Kaihura, a place I had fallen in love with the year prior.
She and I were already well acquainted.
I learned she had been waiting for me to arrive.
For the last year, her sweet little face has had a prominent place in my kitchen; I’ve told countless friends over for a meal about her.
Her name is Teddy. We met on my first trip to Uganda, as she beat off every child who dared to pry her hand from mine. All the while, she used her other hand to suck her thumb. How’s that for double-fisting?
I decided that day to begin sponsoring Teddy through the 410 Bridge Sponsorship Program. (It’s the best $35 I’ve spent every month ever sense.)
This trip, Teddy was part of the children’s choir who welcomed us to the community. Mind you, she performed to her own little beat all by herself (every video I took proved it); I was beaming, “That’s my girl.”
She came over after the performance. I knelt down to meet her eye to eye. The look on her face was just priceless.
Later in the week, the 410 Bridge set aside a morning for me to hang out with Teddy at her school. She attends a primary school with over 100 kids in a single school room the size of a small American classroom. With one teacher to that many students, I can only imagine how hard it is to receive much individualized attention.
Her teacher announced to the class, “Today is Teddy’s day, her sponsor is here to visit her.” To be singled out like that, what a special moment for this precious 7 year old.
She grabbed my hand and looked up at me. She was beaming.
Joy, pure joy. Unforgettable joy.
We sat and colored; we played tic tac toe. We took lots of selfies on my phone (her classmates joined in too.) I brought her a picture book to keep of photos of us and photos of my family. She loved the picture of my dog Ralphy the best, of course. She pointed and laughed and laughed.
These were simple moments, yet so very profound.
Before I left, I reminded her that she was dearly loved by the God of the Universe who delighted greatly in her. I told her how special and beautiful she was to me, but more importantly to Jesus.
I left nothing unsaid.
Sure, she’s only 7 but I’ve learned over time that it’s never too early to remind girls of their invaluable worth. I wanted to make the most of this precious time. Honestly, I wanted to freeze frame it.
Would you do it for just one?
My trip back to Uganda had so many significant moments, it was jam-packed with them. But strip all that away and leave me with Teddy in a red-dirt school yard, and I would tell you over and over again that the joy on her face was worth the entire trip across the world.
The power of doing for one.
Sure, there are noble opportunities to impact more than one, to influence many, to serve the masses. Yet, we just never know who or what hangs in the balance of just one. I don’t want to miss the one.
Dearly loved, for Teddy,