The Least of These

  “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of THE LEAST OF THESE my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Mt 25:35-40 AV)
When I think of Africa, I think of lions and hippos, elephants and giraffes, crocodiles and wild dogs. Or I think of the vast deserts and the Nile river with all its perils. I used to take little time to really think of all the people there. Yes, I knew they were there; yes, I may even feel sorry for them; but, I never really thought about what they go through every day of their lives. I never really cared, until now.
Recently, a series of events have occurred, that have brought them to my mind, and brought what they endure every day, to light. What I see, is shocking, and saddening. A few friends of mine went to Africa not long ago, on a missions trip; the stories and pictures they brought back made me both laugh and cry. The people of Africa are both beautiful, and frightening, sweet and fierce. As I watched videos the team brought back, I laughed as I saw little children running next to the cars and boats the team was in, wave their hands and shouting; I saw little orphan children, who had survived the perils of their past few months.
That story was especially gripping. The Christian Africans in Nigeria where the team went, are constantly persecuted for their faith. The villagers are attacked by the Muslims with a three-pronged attack. First, the Muslims sneak into the Christian’s villages and set their houses on fire at night; then, when the villagers run from their homes to escape the fires, the are beaten and hacked with machetes; last, if they are fortunate enough to survive that, as they run from the village, there are men surrounding it with machine guns waiting to shout anyone who tries to escape. Few make it out, and many that do, die soon after from their wounds. The few children for each village that survived are taken to or just go themselves to a nearby orphanage where there are children all the way from four or five to eighteen.
I also saw a documentary about a movie star who in all seriousness, has taken several trips to Africa and continues to go. He traveled to various countries in Africa collecting facts about the state of life there, then came back to the USA to talk to the president about helping them. What he saw there was devastating. The wars between the Christians is brutal and violent. Men are killed or taken as slaves, women and children are raped and either take as slave or burned to death. To protect themselves they have made up their own army, which includes boys as young as twelve or thirteen carrying AK 47s and machine guns, going out with the men to protect their people, and kill the enemy. Their fate is very indefinite, their goal very definite. Life for them all is like a thread, it breaks or it doesn’t break.
At least seventeen times in the Bible God speaks of caring for the widows and orphans in this world! We can do no less than our best to obey. There are many, many orphans in Africa, and in many other parts of the world, with sad stories similar to these. I heard a statistic once that if only SEVEN PERSENT of the families on this earth would adopt just ONE child, the orphan crisis in the world would be gone. Imagine, what would happened if each family adopted two or three. But even if they can’t adopt a child, if they just support a child, or fund someone else to adopt, imagine the impact we could have! Even if we can’t give money, we can most certainly give our time to pray for them, pray for God’s safety for them, pray for their salvation, pray for a family for them. Also we can write a letter to a child in an orphanage, they always love receiving letters for someone in America who cared enough to take time to write to them.