My current screensaver is a photo of a little boy, four years old, with a big smile and eyes closed. Why? I'm a little bemused about that myself.
It's not because he's mine — he isn't. Nor is he going to be. Three children are enough, at least for the foreseeable future.
And he's not a relative or a friend's child, or a member of my parish.
He's a resident of an orphanage in Eastern Europe, has mild cerebral palsy, and was previously misdiagnosed with Down syndrome. If he isn't adopted by his next birthday, he will be moved to a mental institution, where he will spend the rest of his life. His country doesn't allow adoptions from such institutions.
And I'm his prayer warrior.
Every time I turn on my computer, I ask God about finding him a family, about keeping him out of that institution, about keeping him and the other kids safe and cared for, about strengthening the organization that is putting their cases out there in front of anyone they can.
What has that to do with spirituality and trusteeship?
Like everyone else these days, I carefully select the causes I support, and they cluster around my core life commitments. Usually they are based on close associations.
That's the way it usually is. Everyone knows the challenge of making new friends for your school beyond the usual circle, but during these times you simply must reach beyond the usual prospects. And here's an example — this little upstart organization, just three years old, has me praying for it and for its mission and for "Zack" multiple times every day.
By being there, by being out front, and by—for the most part—leaving me alone.
The organization is called Reece's Rainbow. It began as a support group for parents of kids with Down syndrome, but it quickly became a group of advocates for the most vulnerable of those children- those in orphanages around the world.
And advocate they do. At www.reecesrainbow.com there is a database of listings, many with photos, arranged by country, sex, and age. Every child listed has an earmarked fund, as does every family committed to one of them. They have a Yahoo group buzzing with news. They have a page "in memory of our lost angels," a visit to which will put your day, if not your whole life, in perspective.
They have statistics and they have Scripture, both of which they use to make their case.
And they have prayer warriors. A little bullet on their Web site has caught a lot of eyes, including mine. Sign up and you are assigned a child, sent a photo and a bookmark, and told to get to it. You are not asked for money.
That's what sealed the deal for me: Prayer was an end, not a means to get to my pocketbook. And as of this moment, I haven't given a cent to the organization or the kids. I debated putting something into the fund for the first boy I prayed for, and then he was adopted by a family that would have found my contribution pretty negligible. I haven't had a clear leading yet about donating for Zack. If I do, I will give all I can. And if that's what it takes to make him the 188th child that Reece's Rainbow has helped find a home, I'm right there.
The connection between treasure and heart runs both ways.
So, a few questions:
Can you state your school's case so compellingly that those with only tangential connections will be caught up in your vision?
Does your Web site have the capacity to turn a casual browser into an engaged advocate?
Can you provide meaningful connections to your school without attaching a price tag?