Four years ago, I graduated from college and quickly got a job teaching 1st grade in Los Angeles. My love for helping children is what sparked my interest in teaching. I knew that God had given me the opportunity to become a teacher so I could help young children and encourage them to discover a love for learning. While my first year of teaching gave me a sense of fulfillment, I knew that there was more out in the world for me to get involved in. Growing up an avid Dodger fan, I always admired the work and service that Clayton and Ellen Kershaw have done in Zambia and other countries around the world. When I read Clayton’s book, “Arise”, I knew that the organization in Zambia was exactly what I wanted to be part of.
Arise Africa provided an opportunity for me to sponsor a child and I immediately knew that it was a way for me to serve others and work through the Lord. I decided to sponsor Miracle, an 8-year-old boy in the second grade. After reading his short bio, I saw that Miracle and I shared a love for family, school, and soccer.
In February of 2017, we began writing letters to each other. I would tell him about my family and my students. I would write about what I was teaching my students and he would write about his friends at school and tell me what they were learning. Through writing these letters, I began to feel a bond between the two of us. We wrote about how we would pray for each other and we expressed that one day we’d like to meet and play soccer together. At the time, the thought of going around the world to Africa and being away from my family was quite terrifying.
Each year, when the Arise’s mission trips to Africa would take place, I felt this urge inside of me to go on the next one. But, for nearly three years, I opted out of going and often regretted it after. That wasn’t the case this year. In Miracle’s letter to me in early 2019, he told me that he “asks God every night for me to come to Zambia and meet his friends”. The image of this young boy praying for me to come to visit him made me pull the trigger. I committed to going to Zambia and spent the next five months preparing for it.
In the coming weeks of leaving for Zambia, I highly anticipated meeting Miracle for the first time. I was extremely emotional and nervous but overall, I was just excited. My mission trip to Zambia involved leading a Vacation Bible School at Arise Christian School which is the school that Miracle attends. I’d have Miracle in my group all week and we’d be able to grow in the word of God and experience his culture together. The morning that camp started, I walked into the school and anxiously awaited meeting him.
As the staff stood in a circle and prayed together, I could hear all the kids singing and laughing down the hill. As we walked down towards the kids, I was overwhelmed with emotions. There, standing by the stairs was this eleven-year-old boy, wearing a red jacket, and a huge smile beaming across his face. I knew immediately that was my boy, Miracle. We walked to each other and embraced one another in a tearful hug. Tears quickly fell down my face as his arms tightly wrapped around me. This moment alone is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. I couldn’t actually get words out of my mouth for a few minutes, but once I did, our conversation never stopped. He introduced me to all of his friends and was telling everyone “My sponsor is here! My sponsor is here!” My heart was so full and I still had an entire week to spend with him.
Throughout the week we shared the word of God, played soccer, ate lunch, walked home together, and even went to see the movie The Lion King. I was able to visit his home and meet his beautiful family. His sweet mother was so grateful for Miracle’s sponsorship over the years. What his mother didn’t know was how truly grateful I am for her son and the impact he has had on my life. This young boy that I had gotten to know through letters over the last few years was right here in front of me and I’ve never felt more connected to him. The relationship we were able to build during this short amount of time will bring me back to Zambia many more times in the upcoming years. I felt the hands of God during my time with Miracle and I felt so blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet and love such a remarkable boy.
The work that Arise Africa has done in Zambia is truly incredible. These children are part of an organization that loves and cares for them immensely. While I was able to see the impact I am having on Miracle, I want others to see the impact that Miracle has left on me. This boy is special, this organization is special, and I will forever thank the Lord for bringing him into my life and for bringing me to Zambia.
-Kendall Moskal, Arise Africa Sponsor
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.