The sun was coming in the kitchen window and I had positioned my coffee cup to the chair next to the kitchen door. I can see the bird feeder there – and the morning light shines just right. The windows were open, the birds were singing and my bagel was toasting in the toaster oven. There was still steam coming from my coffee cup on the table when she walked in. Her hair was rumpled from a night of sleep and dreams and she still had that ‘just awakened’ look in her eyes. (I love looking at my kids in the morning).
She came up and hugged me tightly and I held her close to me for just a minute close. The toaster dinged indicating the bagel was ready; and as soon as she heard it she asked me if she could eat breakfast with me. “Just you and me?” she begged. I told her she could with a nod and she quickly went to the refrigerator and got out a yogurt.
We sat at the table. She was chatting away as we started our breakfast together. My mind was drifting from watching the birds coming to the feeder to my plans for that day. There was laundry that needed to be done, a blog post that needed to be written, school work that needed to be assigned and tomato plants that I needed to water. I was busy planning; when I heard her statement:
“When I get older, I don’t want babies to come out of my tummy – I want to adopt lots and lots of babies.”
I stopped my agenda planning and looked at her. My little adopted one sitting at the table talking about her plans for the future. It just makes sense that she would want to adopt a baby – she understands adoption. It’s part of her story.
“That would be wonderful. I would love to have lots and lots of adopted grand-babies…” I told her and then started thinking some more about the day ahead of me.
“Where do you get babies to adopt?”
“From adoption agencies,” I answer.
“Is that where you got me?”
“Kind of…” I answer. “We got your from the state foster care program; but they used and adoption agency for the adoption.”
“What are those children’s homes called for kids that don’t have parents anymore?” She quizzed. Her yogurt eating had stopped; she was sitting on her knees waiting for my answer.
“Where do you find that babies that are on the streets?”
My mind began to wrap around the fact that she was not just chatting with me over breakfast. Something deeper was going on in her heart. Normally this time of day I hear about her dreams from the night before or what she wants to do for the day; but ‘babies on the streets’? Where did this come from?
I answered her as best I could, “That would probably be in other countries. There are other countries where babies are left on the streets.”
She picked up my cell phone that was sitting beside my coffee cup and asked if I could show her pictures of the countries that have babies that are living on the streets. “Where are they, Mom? Can you show me a picture?”
I quickly racked my brain for how I would Google that? I then remembered the story my friend told me about the child she found on the streets. The little girl who had no one. The little girl who found a missionary to be her Mommy. I started telling her about my dear missionary friend.
“Do you have her picture?”
I pulled up Facebook and search her name. I showed her my missionary friend and told her how her daughter is all grown up now and has started an orphanage for children who live on the streets just like she used to. “Perhaps God will have you go to another country and start an orphanage for babies who are left on the streets. Then you can tell the children about Jesus and how He loves them!”
Her eyes opened wide, “China! Do they have orphanages in China?”
“Yes, I am sure they do; but missionaries cannot go over to China. It is against the government rules.
Perhaps you should pray that God will make the government change its mind and allow missionaries to come and tell the children about Jesus.”
“Does the government ever go on vacation? Then I could sneak in and start an orphanage and tell the children about Jesus.” She stopped and thought for a moment, her look of hopefulness changed to despair.
“But I don’t know how to talk to the children about Jesus in their words.”
“You could learn.”
“But it would be really really hard. What if I couldn’t do it?”
I realized at that moment, that this was going to be the most important conversation I had all day long. “Anna, if God wants you to go to another country and tell the children there about Jesus – He will help you learn to speak their words.”
“Where do you go to learn how to speak their words?”
“Language school. Missionaries go to language school all the time. They teach lots and lots of missionaries how to speak the languages of other countries so that they can tell people about Jesus.”
With the language barrier taken care of she continue talking, “So there are babies that live in the streets?”
“But what if soldiers came and didn’t want me to tell the children about Jesus?”
She was counting the cost. It almost took my breath away. How do you answer this – how do you explain this to a seven year old? “There are lots of counties where the soldiers want you to come and help the babies that live in the streets – because they are good soldiers. They want the children there to be taken care of and know they are loved.”
“I don’t know about China.” I answer.
“Probably not in China,” she said contemplatively, “In China they don’t want missionaries. You know that man and lady that got married and went to China?”
I knew to whom she was referring to because she has mentioned them before - many times before. “Yes, John and Betty Stam.”
“They went to China to tell people about Jesus; and the soldiers came and cut off their heads. They hid their baby from the soldiers. They died when they went to tell people about Jesus.”
“Yes, but when they did they went right to Heaven. Jesus took them right to Heaven.”
“What if go to help the babies in the streets and tell them about Jesus and the soldiers come and cut off my head?” Our eyes locked and I could see tears in hers.
“You would go right to Heaven.” I looked her straight in the eye. I refused to assure her that something like that would not happen. It could. It does. Even as we were having breakfast there that morning – there are people somewhere in this world who are paying a price for the cause.
“I don’t want my head to get cut off.” She sat in silence for a few moments then she said, “But the children need someone to tell them about Jesus.”
She is seven. I don’t know how old I was when I first counted the cost. I am pretty sure I was not in first grade.
If we claim the name of Christ then we must take time to count the cost.
The dilemma: The cross of Christ could cost us all we have on this earth (even our very lives) – but the children need someone to tell them about Jesus.