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Change injustice one life at a time

Many of us are motivated to fight injustice. We hear about human trafficking, AIDS, or orphans and we want to change the situation. But usually that change will not happen at a governmental or a policy level. Jesus’ example shows us that it takes place one life at a time.   Jessica Smi…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Many of us are motivated to fight injustice. We hear about human trafficking, AIDS, or orphans and we want to change the situation. But usually that change will not happen at a governmental or a policy level. Jesus’ example shows us that it takes place one life at a time.
 
Jessica Smith was outraged by the conditions she saw in an orphanage in China, but she was totally unprepared for what she found inside. One little girl named Harmony changed the equation for her from hopelessness to conviction. Here’s her story.
We worked with an organization called International China Concern, who took in and cared for special needs children.

Let me take you through a typical day at the welfare center. As soon as your foot hit the last step, the smell hits you. The smell of urine and feces smacks you like a bus. It takes about 30 minutes before you are able to stop scrunching your nose at the unbearable smell, and then you have to register what you are seeing.

There were 14 children in the room I was working in, each one of them desperate for attention. They were sitting or lying down; moaning or crying.

The ailments of the room include cerebral palsy, autism, trauma, and Down’s syndrome. There was no light in the room. The caregivers work 24/7, live there with the children, and only get three days off a month. They are burnt out. The month before we arrived, eight children died in that very room. A baby died while we were there.
 

The children were starving. Twelve of the children shared four bowls of food twice a day, and the other two got bottles. The Welfare Center is vastly over crowded, and they do not have the sufficient funds to provide decent food or comfortable bedding.

Every morning I would walk in the sour-smelling room, I would walk straight over to my favorite little girl, Harmony. Harmony was about ten years old, and had cerebral palsy. She had very little control of her limbs. Her arms were like tree limbs, stiff and inflexible.

She would give me a sweet, slobbery kiss and wrap her awkwardly formed arms around my neck for a hug. I would crouch down to her level and she would whisper in my ear ‘baby,’ as she pointed to the next room.
 
Now, this is where I get a little teary-eyed when I tell this story. I would take her arms and assist her like a marionette as we walked to the baby room. She would go to the first crib and peer through the wood bars and look lovingly at the baby. She would stretch out her hand and gently stroke the baby’s face. If he was crying, she would softly whisper ‘baby’ as she held his hand. I’ve never seen Jesus played out in such a pure and vivid form, and it was through a ten-year-old orphan with cerebral palsy. She was living in this prison of an existence and still choosing to love others before herself.

That little girl changed my life, and changed my heart in spite of the terrible things I witnessed that month. She reminded me that these children are still God’s own flesh and blood, and there still is hope. During our month, we found out that she would be transferred over to the girl’s dorms. She would receive health care, schooling, and a house full of girls who could support and love her. She is the individual that we are fighting for. She is my reason for continuing to fight against the injustices of today.
Want to fight injustice? Maybe you’ll be a William Wilberforce and fight to change legal system, but it’s far more practical to begin in the life of one person. There may be situations like Harmony’s right in your own community. Or consider joining with a ministry to touch one life overseas. God doesn’t want us powerless on the sidelines – he wants us reaching out and making a difference.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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