Proud (but increasingly poor) Dad
Over the years our family has had the opportunity to support various children around the world through organizations like Compassion International, World Vision and Children’s Hunger Fund. More recently our family has partnered with Gospel Link to sponsor a few pastors in Southern Africa to support their ministries and allowing them the funds needed to house orphans in their homes.
We have always worked to have our kids be a part of the process and know what we are doing with Gods money. It’s been extremely fun and encouraging to watch how they respond, and we are excited to know that our kids will hopefully understand from a young age what took us decades to figure out – that as followers of Jesus we are supposed to do just that – follow Jesus – and love the “least of these” (orphans and widows, the oppressed and poor)
Our boys have recently “sponsored” a young boy named Faradidi from Mozambique. Ultimately this just meant mom and dad paying the sponsorship and Caeden and Ashton claiming him as their friend in Africa.
But as we have been speaking with the boys about our work in Uganda and how God has called us to love his children there, our eldest son Caeden (now 5) has become increasingly interested in being a part of what we are doing. He has been saving all of his money for his Trip to Uganda with Dad in his large Crayola piggy bank. He knows it will be a couple years before he is old enough, but he is pretty adamant about coming with to meet his African friends.
A couple of weeks ago, Caeden decided that he would like to save up and “sponsor” a child in Ogoloi (the Care Point in Uganda that currently provides basic needs for about 120 orphans in the village) by himself. He decided that he would do odd jobs around the house and sell lemonade at his lemonade stand in front of our home. He would need to find $34 a month to pay for the sponsorship which is a lot of lemonade sales and quite a commitment for a 5 year old. (Click here to read a recent blog about the CarePoint in Ogoloi)
So dad, proud of his entrepreneurial boy, and eager to support his desire to take an active role in loving these kids who have nothing…came up with a bright idea (at least he thought so at the time)
Jen and I sat Caeden down and told him that we would match every dollar of profit he made (we had to explain what the word “profit” meant). He had to pay for the lemonade and cups, and paid mom $1 to bake cookies for him to sell (deal of the century!). Whatever profit he made, would be matched by us – 50% towards his monthly sponsorship commitment, and 50% towards his personal savings so long as he agreed that 100% of what he made at the lemonade stand would go towards monthly sponsorship. (this way he could honestly tell customers he was selling lemonade for his friend in Africa).
I took the opportunity to try and teach Caeden that this was a large commitment (we also had to explain what the word “commitment” meant) and that he would have to commit to finding the money every month moving forward even if he grew tired or wanted the money for something else. So, we even had some fun and drew up a little contract (signatures and all) and got Ashton (3yrs old) involved in the discussion.
Of course I was figuring that he would make a few dollars, and it would be a lot of fun to add to his hard work with a few more.
So anyway, as luck would have it (you may freely substitute the word “God” for the word “luck”), although I was intending to teach my son a lesson about “commitment” and smart business decisions, I was in for a lesson myself.
Instead of the $2 to $5 I had anticipated the boys would earn, Caeden (with occasional support from his brother) earned $16 the first day, $26 the second, and $48 the third and about $10 so far today (its 117 degrees outside with the heat index and we told him to come inside till later on in the evening)
After repaying mom for the cookies, lemonade, and plastic cups…and after the promised 50% match on profit for sponsorship funds, Caeden has amassed a little over $150 dollars for monthly sponsorship – in 4 days. (And a decent amount of personal savings too)
Now granted, it was a perfect week for lemonade sales with baseball games at the park just down the road and 90 degree weather… but still, that’s a lot of lemonade sales. So we don’t expect that Caeden will earn this much every day, but if he can keep this up for just a few more days he will have enough money saved up for an entire years worth of support for one of the kids in Ogoloi. – He already has enough to cover almost 5 months worth and has every intention to be outside again tomorrow.
I think there are a lot of lessons to learn from this…
2. The Lord will provide. If we are willing to commit to do the things we know that he asks us to do, he will provide the means.
3. Be careful before you make others commit to things (particularly in writing), because you might be the one making the commitment 🙂
Caeden has shown me (and hopefully everyone else) that there simply is no excuse for allowing a child to die from hunger when we have more than enough for the whole world to be well fed. – and by the way, one of these kids dies every 3 seconds in Sub Saharan Africa from hunger.
So anyway, I am incredibly proud of Caeden, both his work ethic and his heart.
I can’t wait to see the man he becomes.
I trust he will be a great guy, and will loan me enough money to go with him to Africa, because at this rate he’s gonna have it, and I’m gonna need it…