The day I turned sixteen I woke up beneath a pile of covers on a soft bed. I walked across the room–a room I had all to myself–and turned the wand of the blinds to let the sun shine in. Just outside my window was a quiet, tree-lined street. Beyond that, an elementary school where children sat in tidy rows in air-conditioned classrooms, learning their ABC’s and drinking clean water from a fountain. Beyond that, there was industry. Infrastructure. Budding technology. A thriving economy. Safe borders. The right to go and to do and to be. Hope for a future bright.
There is a boy halfway across the world. His name is Karamuka Japeth and today he turned 16. His home is in a small village in Rwanda. He is one of six children–orphans all. He lives not with his siblings, but with someone who plays music in his small church. Given the circumstances, it’s a good fit for him; his passion for playing musical instruments runs deep. In his first letter, he asked me if I had crops. It made me smile. When I wrote back, I tried to explain that we keep a small garden, but I felt almost ashamed at the haphazardness of it. For Christmas, we sent a monetary gift that he tells me is equivalent to F-14962. Your guess as to what that might mean is as good as mine. I can tell you that with it, he purchased a pig to keep. But in his most recent letter he reported that the pig died and silly though it might be, my heart grieved that pig.
He asked two things of me:
- That I might pray that he would get another pig.
- That I might pray that his life would improve.
That his life would improve.
He doesn’t know it, but I do indeed. Every night when I tuck my children safely into their beds we close our eyes tight and pray for “our boy” Karamuka.
Today is his birthday. Maybe tonight, you could too?