Her name is Alivia, pictured here with her brother, Aidan. She is eleven years old, and she is an inspiration. Here’s her story. Last spring, Alivia met our mission teammate, Josephine Mburgu when Josephine was enlisted to help care for Alivia’s great grandmother. Josephine and Alivia saw each other regularly, and soon became fast friends. Alivia, a bright and inquisitive young woman, was eager to hear about Josephine’s childhood in rural Kenya. Each week, her mother told me, Alivia came home bursting with stories about Kenya, including stories about our ministry to families there. She was especially interested in the fact that Mrs. Mburugu and her UPPC team would be traveling to Meru later that summer. As Josephine explained some of the ways people here have helped the kids back home, many of whom have very little, a seed of inspiration was planted in Alivia’s heart and mind.
What if, she thought, I collected some clothes and toys for Josephine to take to the kids in Meru?
After spending time with Alivia recently, I realized something that sets her apart from others. Many of us, when we hear about the needs of people in developing countries, feel inspired to do something. But then, somewhere along the way, it seems impossible to do anything significant, and alas, we let the seed fall on rocky ground. Not so with Alivia; her seed fell into the fertile soil of her imagination where she fed and watered it until it burst open and bore fruit.
With the support and love of her parents and grandparents, she forged ahead with a plan. She went to her principal and her classroom teacher and got permission to ask her classmates to donate toys, shoes and clothing for the UPPC team to take to Kenya. There wasn’t much time, and at first, the donations were coming in rather slowly, until one day when she went to check and found the box she had provided for collecting items full and spilling over. In addition there were garbage bags filled with donations of every sort. There was so much stuff, she told me with bright eyes twinkling, that she had to get lots of help carrying it all to the car!
Once collected, she carefully sorted the items. When I asked her if she had help from classmates, she said, “Not really…my grandma helped me a lot though!” In fact, before it was all said and done, they even went on a shopping excursion to pick up some items they wanted to include. What began as a simple idea in Alivia’s mind (and both Mom and Grandma assured me, the entire idea was Alivia’s!) eventually filled several suitcases which the UPPC team happily carried on their trip in August.
When asked what the most exciting part of all this was to Alivia, she said it was knowing that she could help someone who lived clear on the other side of the world. Indeed, it was like Christmas in August for many, many Meru children. The smiles on their faces spoke of their joy in being remembered by someone “ clear on the other side of the world! “
On behalf of all the kids who received these gifts, Alivia, I want to thank you so much. The Bible says that one of the “fruits of the Spirit” is kindness, and you r kindness gave boys and girls hope and happiness last summer!
--Sharon Moffitt, Dec. 28, 2014