Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Best Birthday Present Ever: Deflated Soccer Balls

I’d like to introduce you to St. Andrew’s youngest missionary (at least in spirit) – Emma Angilan, who just turned 6.

A month or so before her birthday, Emma came up with an idea that never would have crossed my mind at her age: For her birthday party, she wanted her friends to bring presents not for her but for “the kids in Haiti.” (Our congregation has a partnership with a school in Maniche, Haiti, which serves about 150 students.)

The challenge is how to get anything to the kids at our partner school. There is no parcel-delivery service in rural Haiti – not even mail (not even roads, in the sense we’d understand that word). But a group of missionaries from St. Andrew’s will be going to Haiti on Nov. 12; so Emma’s parents, Jason and Courtney, came to me to see what the students might need that we also could carry with us.

Finally, we found the answer: deflated soccer balls and an air pump.

Kids in rural Haiti don’t have toys other than what they make for themselves, usually from trash. And the school in Maniche certainly doesn’t have any athletic equipment. But they do have a yard. And now, thanks to Emma’s bountiful generosity, the kids at this school will have 12 new soccer balls to kick around.

It will likely be several years before Emma goes off on a mission trip. But in a sense, she’s already long gone. At 6 years old, Emma understands at a deep level that God is sending her somewhere – for now, in her heart – to “seek and serve Christ in all people.”

We don’t have to fly to a distant location like Haiti to be missionaries. Any of us – all of us – can be missionaries like Emma, being sent by God into relationships with people we’ve never even met. All it takes is a heart filled with love, a touch of creativity, and a willingness to follow where God leads.

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