I used to think that I could help the poor.
When my husband and I took our five children on a mission trip to Kapsowar, Kenya, I expected to see poverty. I thought we would visit poor people in the hospital, speak to local school children, pass out a few gifts, feel good about our visit and fly home.
I was wrong.
I thought we would help the poor, until I realized that we were the ones living in poverty. What I witnessed in the lives of the people we met in Kenya was joy not based in possessions, contentment unhindered by want, faith freely expressed, and generosity graciously poured out. I realized that poverty and wealth are not defined by the possessions we have, the clothes we wear, the houses we live in, or the cars we drive. And while I thought we went to Kenya to help the poor, the Lord intended for us to learn from the poor.
The Marvelous Mud House
James 2:5 tells us that God has chosen the poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith. The rich faith of one beautiful Kenyan mother, Mama George, was the inspiration for my children’s book, The Marvelous Mud House.
When we met Mama George, we learned that she walked every day through rugged mountain trails to town in order to provide for her children. But we did not know that George was worried about money for school. We did not know that she was praying every day for the Lord to provide. We had no idea. But the God who sees looked down into that little house in the mountains of Kenya and saw her. He heard her prayer. After we left Kenya, our kids worked to earn money to send to Mama George. We were told that upon receiving their gift, Mama George jumped up and down with joy and tears, thanking God for answering her prayers. I vividly imagined how that day’s trip through the mountains went as she anticipated telling George, and a children’s book was born.
The Marvelous Mud House is a whimsical true story written for parents to share the meaning of true fullness and joy with their children, as well as God’s heart for the poor. The story represents countless mothers and fathers who are currently crying out in faith to the Lord for provision for their children. I believe sometimes God calls us to help be an answer to those prayers. The materially rich are told in Scripture to not put hope in wealth, but to put their hope in God, to be rich in good deeds, generous, and willing to share. (1 Timothy 6: 17-19) There are many great organizations making a difference in the lives of children and families living in poverty, including Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse, to name a few. I invite readers to partner with one of these organizations and make a tremendous difference in the life of a child.
About the Author
April Graney is a rescued child of the Father attempting to herd her own five children toward the grace of God. A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, she is a wife, mother, friend, mentor, Bible study leader, and camp speaker. A city girl living at a summer camp in the woods with her man and the kids, she often marvels at God’s design. Her passion is to pass along God’s heart for the world to her children.