Following His Example
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year..." ~ Charles Dickens
This time last year, I was spending Christmas in Myanmar (Burma) at a children's home with 18 children. Four were the children of the pastor and his wife who run the home, and 14 were there because they had been abandoned or their families were too poor to care for them.
None of the children knew a word of English, so we danced and laughed for hours to Feliz Navidid playing on my phone, and they sang me their own Christmas carols.
Those are some of the most precious memories I have – seeing these little ones who were so fully loved by the pastor, Paul*, and his wife Mariam*, who had taken them in. Pastor Paul also oversees much of Harvest Bridge's ministry in Myanmar.
I visited three children's homes in different regions of Myanmar. All three homes were started because local Christian couples saw the despair and pain that orphaned, abandoned, and impoverished children were living in, and they decided together that it didn't matter that they were themselves very poor, or that they were already busy with other ministries.
They would give whatever they could to care for these children, to love them like Jesus would, regardless of the complexity and sacrifice it would take.
In their poor communities, these couples had no one to rely on but the Lord in taking in children who not only had physical, educational, and spiritual needs, but also deep emotional scars from losing parents to war, or being abandoned, or being forced to grow up much too quickly.
God built on these acts of faith, and now there are dozens of children in these homes who have received education, food on their plates, spiritual discipleship, hope and opportunity for the future, and a family's love.
The work of running these children’s homes continues to be messy, joyful, hard, and rewarding. And it’s all done by faith. As one of the pastors, who has 14 adopted children, said to me,
"I often do not know where I will get food for the day for my family, but so far, God has never made me fast longer than a day!”
This love is reflective of the greatest act of sacrificial love: The Lord Himself entering our world as a humble child.
Jesus not only came to save a world from sin and separation from God; His coming meant that He would know and share in human pain, temptation, and joy.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin."
~ Hebrews 4:15
His example of entering into a broken world is one that we are called to follow.
The willingness of the barefoot pastors we support to enter into the lives of the people around them is a direct result of what Jesus did for all of us.
"We love because He first loved us." ~1 John 4:19
Because of His humble birth, sacrificial death, and miraculous resurrection, these men and women choose to care for the helpless when they have little themselves, to love their enemies when they're persecuted, to share the Gospel when it's unpopular.
I cannot imagine a better way to “honour Christmas in my heart" all year round than to follow their example in my own life, and to support them in their work!
You can come alongside these faithful men and women this Christmas season by giving below!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Director of Mobilization
*Names changed for security