Today I had the great opportunity to speak to a group of 200 5th-12th graders about how they could help orphans in Africa this Christmas. The experience was a blessing for so many reasons. One being that I love getting to advocate for little ones who are forgotten by the world and need to be spoken for. Another is because today brought two continents together thanks to one brave young man named Gheorghe who wasn't afraid to share about his life in front of his peers.
Four years ago I met Gheorge for the first time. He was a young boy with four siblings, all growing up in a remote orphanage in the countryside of Moldova. In 2006, EMI CMG partnered with Sweet Sleep to give winter coats to 1,000 children in two orphanages, one of which was Gheorghe's (there's a picture of me giving Gheorge his coat in this post). The lives of Gheorghe and his siblings radically changed later that year when they were adopted by a family here in Nashville who met the children while on a Sweet Sleep mission journey.
Here's the letter Gheorge wrote to share with his classmates today so that they could help children he'll probably never meet, but can easily relate with.
My name is Gheorghe Meyer and I am in 8th grade at BCA. I am writing this hoping that you will help me raise money for beds for orphans in Gulu, Uganda. I really want to help raise money for these orphans because I was an orphan for three years, and got a bed from Sweet Sleep.
Before I was adopted from Moldova, I received a bed from Sweet Sleep. Before I received the new bed the old one was very horrible to sleep in because it was barely standing. The springs were broken and sagging to the ground, and the mattress was dirty and smelly. I was very happy and excited after I got the new bed because it was a lot more comfortable to sleep in. That bed was the most comfortable bed that I had ever slept in during my orphanage life. Getting a new bed can very much change your life. I did not only get a new bed but I also got a new winter coat through Sweet Sleep. Even though I had been in the orphanage two years, that was the first time I got a coat. That summer when another Sweet Sleep team came to see us, I accepted Jesus in my life. At the same time I also met my future father.
My friend Jen Gash is in the picture below. She started Sweet Sleep. She is going to spend Christmas with orphans in Gulu, a region in Uganda, Africa. These are orphans who are not in an orphanage, but over 750,000 kids who are being raised by teenagers. Most sleep on the ground, with no bed, and many die from malaria. Jen wants to give everyone of them a mosquito net, which costs $8, and wants to give a bed to as many as possible. A bed is $80. So, it would cost $88 for the bed and the mosquito net. If you want to donate, you can donate at www.sweetsleep.org, or bring a check to BCA made out to Sweet Sleep and I’ll get the money to her before she leaves for Uganda.
Gheorge on his old bed in 2005
Me getting to zip Gheorghe up in his new coat
Pretty great...pretty great. Gheorghe brought tears and blessings to my life today. Soon, thanks to the funds he's helping raise for mosquito nets, he'll be helping provide blessings to children in Gulu.
I just love kids helping kids.
See you in the next blog,