I keep a photo of my sponsored child, Rani, by my desk. It helps me remember to pray for her.
Rani is from Bangladesh. When I decided to sponsor a child I asked our staff to find a child who had languished in the system without a sponsor. Rani was 12 at the time; sponsors are more likely to pick younger children when they peruse photos on the web site or at a concert. The first picture I received showed her dressed in what seemed to be a formal dance costume, with a fancy headdress. She was not smiling. In fact she looked as if that darned hat gave her a headache. I felt a connection to her since I don’t care for fussy headgear either. At the end of the day, my noggin aches even when I wear “hair toys” like the head band I’m donning in the photo.
I started writing Rani and she wrote back in proper and formal language. I knew that school isn’t her “thing” from some reports coming back from the field. She was passing but it was touch and go. She mentioned school and exams often in her letters and so I prayed that she’d stay in school. I know that each year she stays in school means there’s more chance she’ll avoid becoming an underage bride. And if she stays in school, there’s a better chance she won’t die in childbirth, that her kids will go to school, that her income will be high enough to have some leftovers for emergencies and better food….I dream and pray.
One day I wrote a letter and mentioned that my dad was recovering from pneumonia. A few months later I got a letter back with the simple phrase: “I am praying for your father.”
I wept. It was the first time she had directly commented on something I’d written. I wept because she at least thought there is someone at the other end of her prayer. I am comforted that she has faith in someone who can help. I told my dad and he was touched that a girl on the other side of the world would pray for him.
Rani has stayed in school and in her last letter said she was preparing for some important exams. I also learned in an update from FH that her mom is participating in one of our women’s groups. They learn about health, hygiene, nutrition, household budgeting….and they do hear about what the Bible says about being a woman in today’s world. Rani mentioned in the letter I’m holding in the photo (with a drawing from her) that’s she’s learning lessons in “adolescent class” about honesty, patriotism and friendship.
And at the end of the letter, she asked me to pray for her family. I have and I will.