If you had one wish what would it be?
The holiday season is at hand; the lights, trees and the cheers are all over. Christmas is in the air! We often hear this trending for the month. When something is in the air, it seems to be everywhere as if everyone is thinking and talking about it. People around the world get excited with the countdown for Christmas, they are filled with joy as they get into the holiday spirit. The children, of course, are the most excited ones. For them, it is supposed to be a magical season with lots of wonderful things to anticipate. The festive foods, parties, games, trips, special gifts and fun, fill their thoughts and imaginations. How can any child not look forward to unwrapping special gifts? They have a long Christmas wish list of the things they wanted to receive as gifts.
While most children around the world are wishing for expensive gifts, the children at the Christian Prison Ministry Foundation are deeply wishing for one special gift. A kind of gift money cannot buy and a gift they hold so dearly in their hearts. Being a little child, imagine what life looks like without your mother and father? You wake up one day and your family is gone. They’re all gone and you’re left alone on your own. There is no one whom you can truly call as yours. No family to remind you that you are loved. In short, you’ve got no place to go.
This is the exact feeling, pain and actual anguish they are trying to overcome. Too young and innocent to understand everything, yet their wish is just fair and honest. For them, material things mean nothing compared to having an intact family. They desire not for anything monetary that won’t bring love and lasting joy. Deep in their hearts, their only wish is for their parents to come and bring them home. This is the best gift they’ve been waiting for so long!
Where are their parents?
This particular orphanage we visited on the 1st of December 2018 is quite different from the other orphanages we know. We visited it Saturday afternoon after the church service. This is somewhat special and the children housed there are not for adoption. Usually, orphans whose natural parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them are brought to stay in the orphanage homes until they can be placed in homes or adopted. However, the orphans we visited were not put up there for adoption. They will stay there waiting until their parents returned to bring them home.
But where are their parents? These children’s parents are in prison. In a sad twist of life, their parents turned into law offenders and were imprisoned, leaving their children behind with no one to care or look after them. These poor incarcerated parents decided to bring and entrust their children to this orphanage with a future plan that one day they shall come back and take them home.
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Through a personal interview with the staff of the orphanage and subsequent research was made, we came to know that this foundation was organized by a couple from the United States. As missionaries, they started teaching English in the prisons with their goal to reach out to the inmates. They actively visited them and gave appropriate training of which many inmates benefited. The ministry grew rapidly and expanded into different prisons, even reaching the provincial prisons throughout the whole country. Aside from the moral values imparted to the inmates, various programs and projects have been set up to support and prepare them for a new life. A place for restoration is awaiting those released prisoners and young offenders and this serves as the right place where they can adjust themselves in preparation for their re-integration to society.
These prisoners don’t have other trusted families to look after their children, so they entrusted their kids in this orphanage with the earnest hope that one day when life is kind and they shall be pardoned and released from the prison, they will come back and bring them home.
A heart touching moments with the orphans
With the joint effort of our group “S.E.E.K. Outreach Group” and “NLAC Alumni Thailand”, we proceeded to the orphanage home and were greeted by a group of curious young children equally eager like we were for that visit. At an open wide hall where the children gathered, we started a short program involving every child in singing action songs which they joyfully participated. Initially, the children were just timid and curious as to why a bunch of visitors were coming there to visit them. But within a few minutes of us being there, we got to experience a very close encounter with this group of children, longing for as much as love and attention as we can give them. The program was filled with cuddles and laughter as we emotionally joined them and kept them energized with more action songs. It was really an eye opener as to how something as simple as a set of storybooks can make so many children beam with joy. Such an incredible experience we had with them. Seeing these children, who have next to nothing, smile as if they have the whole world, is truly a marvelous sight. We shared our quality moments with them and were deeply moved too by the full cooperation they showed us.
We brought some items which we thought useful for them and some groceries too that they need for sure. These orphans are really in need of support, whatever we can give and share, do it with a cheerful heart. Their ages range from 1 year old up to 73 years old. Curious as we thought this orphanage is only for children but they too have adults. They have elders housed here because, after many years of being in prison, when they were finally released there were no families to take care of them.
An appeal for all
When you genuinely share your happiness with those innocent children who don’t even know what love is and have never experienced their parents’ care, it’s not only them who reap the benefits of those precious moments, but it’s us and our souls that will be fully enriched by it. Surely, it doubles our happiness and halves their pain, sorrows and boredom. Life without parents at a tender age is unbearable, painful and it’s such a pity. Even as adults, we still need our parents, we are still longing for their comforting love and care. How much more, then, for this group of innocent children, who are helpless and destitute?
As we lovingly mingled with them, we have witnessed the joyful moods which they exhibited before us. Despite the bright smiles they wore on their beautiful faces, still, fears were hidden behind it. What will the future hold for them? Each of them may have tragic stories through which they have come. None could ever measure the pain their tender ages had gone through. If these little children could face such adverse circumstances with little to very low monetary support and minimal emotional support, but still come out strong enough to smile through life, then how can we call this? Is this not the finest innocency ever displayed?
It is an act of humanity to share what we have with those who are in need and suffering, especially with these little angels who really need our prayers, let us continue praying for them that amidst these unfair and painful experiences they are going through in life, they still can see the sunshine of the day and the colorful rainbows of their lives and that they still should not be deprived of a normal childhood. Although they did not get the equal opportunity of experiencing full support from their parents, still, they should not be deprived of the love, affection and care which every child deserves.
“Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.” Matthew 18:5. Every little child is precious in the eyes of the Lord, for a child is characterized by humility. The Lord identifies Himself fully with them because they are tender and innocent. The love, care and support we showed them pleases the Lord Himself. For whatever good things we do for these little ones, we also did it to God. If we receive them with open hearts, it is equivalent to receiving Christ Himself. Be always gentle with them and be warned not to offend any of them for if you do, God will surely judge you for this.
Let’s pray without ceasing for these little angels. Pray that they will remain strong in life and not to give up until the happy moment that they will be reunited with their families and be back home.