On Christmas Eve, we spent an unforgettable night at The Orchard Children’s Home. The children from the home were all dressed up for an elegant dinner. Games and fun-filled dancing followed. For a calming break to the festivities, the children performed a skit they practiced all week depicting the story of Jesus’ birth. I (Mark) received a gift from “heaven” on this night. It began when one of the girls, usually pretty shy, greeted me and asked me to read the Bible to her. When I sat down, she brought over her Bible and first asked that I read the story of Jesus’ birth. Her favorite part was when Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Next, she took me to Luke 9, where we read in verse 48 where Jesus settled an argument over greatness by taking a child to His side and declaring, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all – he is the greatest.”
Following these verses, this little girl next directed my attention to Luke 11:37-42, where we read Jesus’ promise of cleansing through giving to the poor, along with admonishment not to neglect justice and God’s love in keeping the law. Then she opened to Luke 15 and the story of search, rescue, and celebration over one lost and then found sheep out of a flock of 100. After this, she wanted to hear the story of Jesus’ last supper with His followers, and she proceeded to explain to me the meaning of the cross pictured on that page.
Throughout this time of reading together, the hope of this rescued-child’s story and the words she directed me to in Luke’s story of the good news deeply moved me. I closed our time by taking her to John 6 and Jesus’ identification as the bread from “heaven.” This little girl filled with delight to see her name in the story, because her name in Spanish means “heaven.” Truly, we had just received afresh through our reading together the good news from “heaven!”
Grateful for the good news from heaven,
Mark, Kristin, Caleb, Jacob, and Rachel Coté
Missionaries of Discipleship and Development based in Pucallpa, Peru
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