My 7-year-old daughter and I have an ongoing discussion about what she’s going to do when she grows up. She changes her mind often, but the other day the conversation took a different turn.
“I want to do what you do, Mummy,” she said, all wide-eyed innocence, “because you help poor people. Don’t you, Mummy?”
I hesitated before I replied.
Sitting in an office chair, in front of a computer screen, tapping out work on a keyboard, it’s easy to feel somewhat removed from what goes on in the field – the projects that help families who struggle, every day, because of crippling poverty. But this comment from my daughter reminded me that, while the bulk of my job might be about encouraging Australian Christians to be generous, the people who are most impacted are the ones supported by your donations.
On the day I meet Rith, she is busy preparing food that she sells at the local school. She is shy at first. She places steamed sweet potato in front of us and walks back to cut up vegetables and cook rice over an open fire on the dirt. Later, I watch as Rith strains to pull the cart she takes to the school her young son attends, where she sells the food she has prepared. I see her daughter come home from school to feed the cows and walk them down to the rice paddy to drink.
As the day goes on, Rith shares her story with me. About her achievements she chatted happily. It is harder for her to talk about her past – having to drop out of school to care for her siblings as a young girl; the nights she lay awake hungry, wondering if she’d have enough to feed her family, or pay for a doctor for her sick husband; the days spent in back-breaking labour in the rice paddy, only to watch floods wipe out her crop.
Rith’s life was sad, lonely, and frightening. She wondered what on earth she would do for her children’s future. She had no way to make a better life for them. There was fear in her heart.
Reflecting on this today, even as a mum myself, I struggle to understand what Rith must have gone through. But what I can understand is Rith’s immeasurable, enduring, and fierce love for her children… and how it must have broken her heart when she was unable to give them every chance to succeed.
Next week, my daughter will probably move on to dreaming of becoming a teacher or a hairdresser. But whatever her next dream might be, I have no fear… because I can provide for my children’s future.
And now, thanks to your generosity, Rith can do the same!
Because of your gifts to the Matching Grant Appeal, Rith received all kinds of training, from fish farming to cattle raising. And, as it turns out, Rith is a brilliant entrepreneur! She has now built up six income streams – enough to give all her children an education… something she could scarcely have imagined a few short years ago.
Today, Rith has a new peace. The fear in her heart has been wiped out. It’s gone. And you can do the same for other mums like her.
I believe that the love I feel for my children, and the love Rith has for hers, comes from God. It is a shadow of what God feels for all people created in His image and it binds us to her story. It should drive us to see Rith, and others like her, as God does… and pour out our love in response.
Help stop the fear in a poor mother’s heart. Go to: www.baptistworldaid.org.au/matching-grant or call 1300 789 991 by the June 30 deadline.