so... what happened?
well over the last few days (and really for years)...but hitting me smack over the head these last few days god has been putting the suffering and oppression of young girls on my heart. right... a big thing. something that moves us all. but seriously - hitting me in a big way!
i believe this started back when i was a counselor all those summers at a camp for under-privileged, inner-city kids...a "big sister" to a few girls in college...definitely when i had my own children...with our sponsorship of little girls in africa....from all the stories i've heard the last 2 years at some amazing women's conferences...an incredible step into africa outreach our church did last year. god's way of saying - "pay attention - i gave you a heart for this!" and this week alone - he made it quite clear!
last sunday i was invited to tea at a friend's house to meet for the second time, princess kusane zulu. princess is her first name, not a title, but it might as well be. she is amazing (read more about her here). over tea she shared her story. of being orphaned by aids at 14. at 14 being the head of her household having to take care of her 5 siblings and grandparents. of being hiv-positive. of starting a school for orphaned children...many schools. of being a mom. of being a missionary. of living with joy and hope. amazing.
and then this week the book club at work for my women's network read & discussed nicholas kristof and sheryl wu dunn's book "half the sky - turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide." you think - yes sure, definitely a book a women's network should read. well yes...but everyone should read this. it broke my heart (and wes' as i basically read it to him along the way). we just don't understand what it's like for these women and girls living in poverty. of the abuse, torture, gendercide - i could go on and on. but also how god is working there too. in ways that are inspiring and give hope to us all.
so...i am overwhelmed and moved. but i am listening and praying. it is exciting to see how god's hand in all of this. even in just some small ways this week - in letters and packages of encouragement to our sponsored children in mulawi. to our family beginning a partnership with princess zulu's foundation, fountain of life. and my women's network is already underway in our plans for a company-wide outreach with plan international entitled "because i am a girl."
i am humbled, honored and excited to be part of this...in honor of this little girl here and others across the world.