It was an amazing feeling when I finally saw Hope. She walked into church, her bright smile lighting up the entire room. I watched as my sister, Ellen, went running towards her. Hope came running towards Ellen with the same excitement. I knew immediately: THIS must be Hope. The girl I have prayed for. The girl I have longed to meet for such a long time. This must be Hope.
On Sunday, John, Robby and I had the privilege of meeting a young Zambian named Hope. Hope came into our family in 2010 when she befriended my younger sister, Ellen. Since that summer, I have thought and prayed for Hope as though she were already a dear friend, even a family member. Like many children in Zambia, Hope’s life hasn’t been easy. In fact, when Ellen met her in 2010, life seemed hopeless for this child. As Ellen learned her story, she was moved to take action on behalf of a little girl she barely knew. Ellen wanted to fight for Hope.
Hope’s story paints a stunning picture of the gospel and also the Lord’s work through my sister and Arise Africa. After a long journey, Hope now lives under the safety and security of Arise. This ministry has fought for Hope. My sister and Clayton have fought for Hope. Many of you have PRAYED and fought for Hope. I wrote a book based on Hope. And on Sunday, I finally got to meet her. This girl is amazing. I sat next to her at church as she sang and worshipped the Lord. She loves Jesus. She loves people. She adores my sister. A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul. My longing was to meet Hope. How sweet.
Hope is one of many, many children who have been blessed by Arise Africa. Goodson is another one. Ellie Lewis is on our team and she came with a similar longing: she wanted to meet Goodson, the boy she has been sponsoring through Arise. I watched as Ellie got to meet Goodson and his family for the first time. I know what a sweet moment that was for Ellie.
Friends, lives are being changed in Zambia. And it has nothing to do with US…it has everything to do with the Lord. But what a sweet privilege it is to get to play a role. Longings are being fulfilled here this week—and it’s happening through the beautiful lives of children like Hope and Goodson.
It’s so good to be back.