In 2010, we lost our 21 month old son Mattias, or “Tiggy.” It was really just the name “Tiny Hands” (now Love Justice) that drew us to the ministry. We asked that memorial gifts be made to them in his name, hardly knowing what they even did.
They fight sex trafficking. In Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. Sometimes, the children are kidnapped. Sometimes, they are sold by their families with false promises of marriage or a good job in India. Sometimes, the traffickers do not even have to lie for a father or an uncle or a brother to sell a child.
And it is easier to get a girl across the border to India than electronic equipment. Love Justice works to monitor the border, intercept children and return as many home as possible. And when that isn’t possible, some make it into their children’s homes where they find shelter, love, education and something we here in America take for granted.
They are asked to dream. To think about what they would like to be when they grow up. To make plans and have goals and entertain dreams. This is the heart of their Dream Center, a collection of children’s homes on beautiful grounds with access to a world class education. The poorest of the poor receiving a second chance.
After the memorial fund, we thought our hand in this was done. But God had other plans. He nudged us forward, giving us a task to work toward through our grief. We would raise money to construct one of the homes, “Tiggy’s House.” We were stretched, challenged, pushed and encouraged in ways we never would have thought possible.
Sometimes, it seemed like everything we tried failed. We wouldn’t raise as much as we hoped. Sometimes we invested more than we raised. And yet, somehow, we continued to inch toward the goal: $50,000.
Our community helped, buying jewelry, donating items for a garage sale and giving generously when we asked them to name their own price. Friends donated. People I have never met in person saved change in jars and held their own fundraisers. A woman at the nursing home heard about what we were doing and sent her friend with a handful of change because it was all she had to spare.
Forty seven cents. I can’t even begin to express how much that forty-seven cents meant to me. All of the frustrations and stress and worry about not making the goal were lifted by forty seven cents. Sometimes it felt like I was pouring out everything that I had and that it was doomed to failure. But it wasn’t my last forty seven cents.
Strangers made real sacrifices. On the anniversary of my son’s death, when I was going to retreat for a day and not deal with the world, a dear friend I have never met decided to start a “money bomb” on facebook, asking everyone she knew to donate and share. At first, we didn’t know what was going on. The ministry contacted us and then we saw it.
On that final day, on the anniversary of my son’s death, we surpassed the goal while we did nothing at all. We were simply reminded that if God wants a house to be built, the house will be built despite what seems impossible to us. But Nepal works at a different pace than the West.
Winters are harsh and springs are wet. The building season is frightfully short. There are permits to be had in an unstable country that at one moment appreciates the work and later threatens to throw out all foreign groups. Especially the Christian ones. The communists take control of the legislature. Construction stalls in the uncertainty. And yet God is bigger. Obstacle after obstacle is cleared. Tiggy’s House is nearing completion.
Soon, new dreams will be made within those walls. The dreams of children who otherwise would be too concerned with their next meal to have time to dream of any other life.
But God moved through a thousand strangers to build them a home and give them hope of a better future, allowing them to reach for their dreams and for us to heal through our grief.