20 Children. 20 Families. One Month.
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Read below as one of Show Hope’s newest employees, Palmer Williams, describes her little brother Aphiwe’s big heart for serving orphans in distress! We can all learn so much from this young man’s humble and generous spirit.
In August of 2008, I embarked on a journey that irrevocably changed the heartbeat of my family. It was then that I boarded an airplane in Nashville bound for a rural village in Africa. I would be living and working at a village for children orphaned by AIDS. I was leaving a few months after graduating from Vanderbilt to live at Lily of the Valley for a year. Fully realizing the idealism with which I traveled, I hoped that somehow my naiveté would be transformed into what James talked about in Chapter 1, Verse 27 of his epistle: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
While at Lily, I met a small malnourished boy named Aphiwe. Aphiwe was a sweet five year old little boy who was very sick. He had come to Lily only several months earlier and was a virtual loner. Every morning he would sit outside the window of my room, tending the dirt in my flower bed.
There was just something about his gaptooth smile and his old soul that captured my heart. I could not get him off my mind. If you need more evidence as to why, watch this video.
Several years and many tears, prayers, and fundraisers later, Aphiwe became Aphiwe Campbell Harston when my parents adopted him in November 2011. Since his arrival in our family, he has been a beacon of light to everyone he meets. He loves whole-heartedly and without pretense those the rest of us have struggled to love. He prays steadfastly everyday for each of us when we are sick or hurting. He constantly reminds us to be thankful for each meal we have and every blessing we’ve been given. He lives with a child-like faith and a joy that surpasses all understanding, whether it is with schoolwork, on the soccer field, or at a WrestleMania sleepover at one of our houses.
This year for his birthday, instead of asking for gifts, Aphiwe is asking his friends and family to give a gift to Show Hope! Funds raised will be used by Show Hope to help provide orphans with families through Adoption Aid grants and medical care at Show Hope’s Special Care Centers in China.
This weekend following a family birthday celebration, I felt a small tap on my shoulder. I turned around to find my sweet brother holding a bag of change and petty cash. “One hundred and ten dollars,” he exclaimed grinning ear to ear. I assumed it was money he had collected from his party guests, and was thankful for their contribution. It was not until the next day when Aphiwe asked me, “Will all my money really go to help those kids get a family?” that it clicked. The $110 Aphiwe had handed me wasn’t from his guests, it was from him. It was every penny he had saved since coming to America two years before. Every odd job, every gift, every penny he had ever earned, it was all in this bag. He had been saving it for such a moment when he could help other kiddos find what he has found – his second family. He gets it. He is the widow who gave the mite (Mark 12:41-44).
If Aphiwe can empty his pockets and his piggybank and give so boldly, I think we can rally around him and sacrifice small amounts of our own comfort to help him reach his goal. His goal is $1000. More money than my brother has ever imagined in his life. Help us multiply his $110 gift to reach his $1,000 goal!