Dirty, desolate Benji sat outside the gates and watched.
That malnourished, un-held little boy body did not have enough health or hope to think about what could happen if he went inside those gates.
He watched cooking mamas, smiling and singing.
He watched the other dirty kids skipping inside the gates to have their hands washed by those smiling, singing mamas.
He watched cheeks and tummies filling with healthy food and unlimited affection.
He watched those full tummies and happy faces laugh, play and dance like children were made to do.
Dirty, desolate Benji has probably never had a smiling mama to wash away the dirt or to sing away the desolation. He lives with relatives, but he has no parents. He shares a living space inside a culture that feels no obligation to reach for you, touch you or sing over you if you are not their own. No matter how many baths he takes or how many people are around him, without being seen, reached for, touched, he will always be dirty, desolate Benji.
One day, somebody saw Benji and didn’t skip past him. He saw that, past the thick layer of dust on his skin, Benji was physically breaking from not being touched. He stopped at that gate entrance and looked inside of those desolate eyes and found almost nothing.
|Meet Benji. Sweet, sweet Benji.|
My husband’s voice still trembles when he tells the story of seeing Benji and knowing – knowing in that way where you know, know, know – in that way you wish you couldn’t know so well…
Benji was going to die.
Chris knew that was probably the last week that dirty, desolate Benji would sit outside the gates and watch. Benji was not starving to death, but he was dying the devastating death of being untouched and unreached for.
We are made to be held. To be touched. To need each other.
More than we need food and water, we need each other.
We need hope to fill us and hope to touch us.
Chris knew that Benji needed Hope’s hold to save his life, and Hope had sent a whole bunch of hands and holders from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to save Benji’s life. Chris asked… no, Chris told the team from Fellowship Church to make sure someone was always holding Benji.
No longer allowed to sit outside the gates and watch, dirty Benji was scooped up and held tight for a solid week by outrageous Louisiana love, covered in life-giving prayer, and his desolation was shamelessly smothered out by endless affection.
Benji no longer sits outside of the gate and watches. Doting and delighted Benji dashes inside, does his sweet, momentarily shy Benji thing, and just waits for love to scoop him up.
|THIS IS BENJI!|
Hope grabbed a hold of Benji. Hope’s name is Jesus.
Hope came from a husband and father who could see, and from a church in Lousiana armed with compassion and Truth .
Hope put on skin and stretched it out vulnerably on a cross.
He did the worst and promised we would do more than He could.
Hope overcome dirty desolation with skin that reached and stretched, and Hope told us to do that too.
Hope gives us eyes to see, hearts that know, and hands that reach. Hope makes our skin stretch further than we understand.
Hope asked my husband and Louisiana to reach out their skin so heaven could hold Benji. The dirty work has already been done, and in this world full of desolation, all we have to do is stretch out our skin and let Hope hold.
As Chris and I pack up to go back to South Africa on Sunday, we want to thank you for reaching for us, holding us and hoping with us.
If you have Jesus, you bear Hope in your hold, and there’s great power and reach if we join hands, hearts and resources to do it together. We believe God is asking us to reach a little further and stretch a little wider this year.
Would you pray about extending Hope’s reach by becoming a monthly supporter to join in the work with us this year as we head back to South Africa?
Please email me for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or click here to make a tax-deductible one-time donation or automated monthly giving. Just click "Support".