One Million Arrows Christian Parenting Blog
Posted in: Arrow Stories
- Continuing A Cycle of Love
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Jennie knows nothing about her south India parents except that, as a newborn, they threw her away and left her for dead in a city dumpster. Some college boys happened by and heard her crying, so they picked her up out of the garbage and took her to a nearby orphanage.
Jennie was so bright that she graduated from Bible college at sixteen. Her instructors noticed how mature and responsible she was at such a young age and how she had a heart for helping children, so they sent her to help out at an orphanage for younger children for one year of on-the-job training. When the main caregiver at that orphanage was called to another location to help out during a time of need, seventeen-year-old Jennie took over. For two years, she took care of an entire orphanage of eight younger children with the help of an assistant, sixteen-year-old Mary, also a previous orphan.
This position was a good fit for Jennie, who loved the kids and felt privileged to serve them. "You don't have to give up everything you love to make a difference," she says. "It starts by thinking about others, then showing them the love that God has shown you. In this way He will use you to transform lives."[i]
God definitely used Jennie's love, experiences, and training to do just that for the little ones under her care. "When the children got sad and started crying for their parents, I could understand their pain and comfort them better than anyone else because I've been in their shoes. I was able to give the love and care that they wanted and needed, just like my caretakers showed me God's love when I was a child. I felt like a mother to them."
Understandably, Jennie got tired and discouraged with so much responsibility on her young shoulders. Some of the kids were mischievous, and sometimes food for the kids was in short supply during periods of financial hardship or persecution on the ministry. At those times, she wondered if she was doing the right thing. But then she remembered that, when she came to work at the orphanage, she committed herself to serving the orphans with her best efforts. So instead of fretting, Jennie prayed, asking God to give her strength to continue taking care of them. She relied on Him to be her protector and provider, her Father and Mother-her everything.
Her faith grew immensely as a result of relying on God's provision and care. Once, when her cupboards were bare, God miraculously supplied food from neighbors. Another time, when one of the children missed the school bus, a man stopped by unexpectedly to see if she needed anything, so he was able to take the girl to school.
Once an orphan who has used her gifts and experiences to care for other orphans, does Jennie have any regrets? "If I didn't know Jesus...I'd be out living on the streets—if I was even alive." She believes that she had a part in raising these kids to grow up and take care of others in the same way.
Imagine that. Young Jennie-an arrow who has helped raise more arrows. It's exciting to think how far reaching your influence could be on a young life like Jennie's by spiritually parenting her through financial support.
[i] Jennie (one of Papa's adopted daughters), all quotes taken from an interview in Kota, India, November 2008. This story is adapted from One Million Arrows.
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