In 2010, we met a young orphaned girl at Upako Centre who deeply touched our hearts. While we were impressed with all the children, little Mary stood out from the crowd. Even though she was the smallest in stature, she led the singing and recitations. She was enthusiastic and charismatic, and everyone who met her would single her out for special recognition. I remember that one time we said to her, "Mary, we love you and think about you often," to which she replied, "Why?" What's more, she really wanted to know and waited for us to tell her.
Over time, we felt sure that we were to help Mary, so we began to pay her school fees so she could get a better education. It was then that we found out she was older than we thought, for her diminished height was due to deprived nutrition as a young child. She is the smallest in her class, but has the biggest heart. Last year, she visited with our team and thanked them for assisting her with her education.
We are please to announce that Mary graduated from the eighth grade this past week, and has sat for her national exams to determine where she will go to high school. Here is what Pastor Francis, her caregiver, sent some pictures and wrote this last week:
Peace and all that is good be with you. I want to thank you for many things here and we are happy and feel blessed through you in a great way.
Thank you [Dr. John] for your visit to Upako Centre two weeks ago and for presiding over our pre-graduation with the young ones. I also want to acknowledge receipt of the money you gave us for the orphans feeding program and we all say thanks to you and to whoever helped in contribution in any way.
I also want to say a special thank you on behalf of Upako Centre and Mary Naserian who graduated yesterday after sitting for her final primary National exam. Mary will be joining high school next year, God willing, for secondary education, which will take another four years. Mary has increased both in health, education, and social life since you sponsored her education in a private school. Thank you so much. She is now back at the orphanage until next year when she will start another term. We pray for her educational support will continue.
Mary is pictured at left with a sign thanking several of the women who have been particularly generous in helping her. Here is a link where you can watch Mary express her thanks while we were there in March. I have often said that we cannot save the whole world, so let's join together to change a little piece of it. Mary is a little but important piece of God's world, and we have focused on impacting her. Our prayer is that she will realize how God has blessed her, and will grow into a woman who will want to repay the kindness God has shown her by making a difference in her world.
I am not asking that you adopt a child or to help us expand the work we are doing in Kenya. I am asking that you support what we are already doing. We don't want to spread our efforts too thin so that we do a little for many. We want to do a lot for a few, and trust God that this is the best strategy. God has empowered us to change one girl's life, and we are happy to do that, but can only do that if you stand with us on a regular basis.
You can invest in these young lives in Kenya by giving to the Sophia Fund. Every dime we receive is invested into the people with whom we work, and we are impacting other young people, just like Mary. You can give using PayPal through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Even $5 is a tremendous help, but we are trusting the Lord for a large gift in order to make a serious impact in the physical facilities and transportation needs of our partners. Please give today, and give generously as the Lord leads.