His excitement was palpable. “In March, I will be 11 years old and I’m going to get a chocolate cake.” Israel lives in Peru and shared his chocolate news with me 3,500 miles away.Yay for birthdays celebrated with chocolate cake!
His sentence contained two of my favorite things: chocolate and cake. My fingers flew across the keys in response. I live close to a chocolate factory called Hershey’s, where visitors learn about chocolate. He told me his birthday cake preference and I shared mine: chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.
A wealth of words to celebrate and connect with Israel, thanks to chocolate sweetness. A young man waiting for the calendar to flip because of chocolate cake. Sweet anticipation.
Then, a sobering email arrived from Compassion International.
Because I know you care about Israel, I want to keep you informed about an urgent situation. In mid-January, there was a flood due to the collapse of wastewater pipes in Lima, Peru, which impacted the area where your sponsored child lives, and we have learned that Israel has been affected by this crisis.
Highs with lows; a fast and furious descent. From the mountain top of chocolate cake to valleys flooded with questions. Was Israel safe and healthy? How was his family? How could I help?
I dialed the number listed for Compassion International to gather additional information. Israel was well but his home suffered damage. No other news available at this time.
Blessings abound when we celebrate joyful events with children living in poverty. Birthdays, learning to read, a new pet, good grades at school, and chocolate cake. But we are also called to help carry their burdens as well. Pray, give, write, and love lots. A humbling privilege to be invited to share the highs with the lows.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6: 2 (NIV)
When I turn my calendar from February to March, I will think of chocolate cake and say extra prayers for the birthday boy in Peru.
Throughout 2019, I’ll share how a child encouraged or challenged me. Each one is a blessing.
March 2019: Celebrate the highs and help carry the lows. But be present for both. Happy Birthday, Israel.
February 2019: Pray so others will know Jesus like Rosmeiry’s father.
January 2019: Joy, thanks to a handsome charro.