I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with friends and families. Christmas is a wonderful time of year that is filled with lights, trees, wreaths, festively ugly red and green sweaters, egg nog, and time with family. And the holiday season also brings a familiar arrangement of Christmas carols. We all have a favorite. What’s yours? One of my favorites is a song I learned from my sixth grade teacher: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid. Some of you, if not most of you, have never heard this song. It was a song created by a group of superstar musicians in the 1980’s to raise funds for those who were hit hard by the famine in Ethiopia at that time. You may have heard of some of them: U2, Duran Duran, The Police, Paul McCartney, and David Bowie. Here are some of the lyrics from that song:
But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time, it’s hard
But while you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dreaded fear
Where the only water flowing is
The bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
Well, tonight, thank God, it’s them
Instead of you
And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
Where nothing ever flows, no rain or river flows
Do they know its Christmas time at all?
The Band Aid, 1984.
This song was released in 1984, sold one million copies in its first week, and sold over three million copies overall. The song raised over $6 million and every penny was donated to those suffering in Ethiopia. The money went a long way in alleviating some of the immediate suffering by many people, especially young children.
And yet, children in Ethiopia are still starving today. Children in Kenya and Russia are orphaned and abandoned, and children in China are aborted and unwanted. This Christmas, as millions of households are celebrating family and presents, there are several dozen families that are still mourning the loss of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. Thinking about that tragedy reminded me of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. Oftentimes, it takes such a massive tragedy for many of us to look beyond ourselves and look to others. Sometimes, it takes the death of a few for us to realize the preciousness of life for all.
Fortunately, there are efforts in place to bring some sort of relief to the families affected by the Sandy Hook killings. Some are raising funds for these families, and others are providing moral support through prayers. Some believe that the only way to make lasting change is to reform gun laws or to reform the way we treat the mentally ill. These things may help… but they won’t last.
Similarly, I understand that the work I do at Beloved International to find families for orphaned children in Kenya will do some good, but will leave thousand and millions more in the streets. That is why Beloved is committed to the idea that the greatest change we can make in the lives of our children and the children in Kenya is to bring them the love of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Beloved was to feed thousands of children and to have hundreds of children hear the words “son” and “daughter” from loving parents, I would be happy and ecstatic. However, if through the work of Beloved, one or two dozen children come to repent of their sins, turn in faith to Christ, and have a relationship with God the Father… that would be the greatest blessing of all. And I have hope that affecting these dozens of lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ will make a greater impact in the society at large. I believe that God can raise up a future generation of adopted Beloved children who will, in turn, open their hearts and their lives to others who are orphaned and unloved.
However, I cannot make these children believe. I cannot force their hearts to change so that they love Jesus. However, what I can do is ensure that these children live longer and live better, so that they might have more and more opportunities to hear about the greatness of God, who provides for all their needs and who forgives all their sins and who will never forsake them.
This is what Beloved is trying to do this Christmas season. Many of you have been inundated with emails and blog entries and Facebook posts about Candlelight Kitchen and Beloved Aunts & Uncles. Through those campaigns, we have raised over $9,000 to build a kitchen and dining hall to provide a better life for the 18 children of Beloved Rehoboth. Through these campaigns, are also trying to teach these children about the great love of God. We want them to be fed and we want them to be warm.
However, even more than that, we want these children to know Jesus Christ. And we want others to know Christ through their lives and testimonies. Therefore, even as Christmas has passed, we ask that you support us in one additional way: pray. Please pray for us and our ministry. Please pray for the children of our home. Please pray that all eighteen of our children will one day love and savor Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Mitchell J. Kim
Public Relations Manager, Beloved Intl.