This beautiful origami heart was given to me by a grandmother. It spoke of the pain and heartache, and how God alone can bring us hope. To this day, whenever we are at this convention in Japan, we hope to see her and to bless her. Her face spoke a thousand words, and her tears birthed the “heart” of this ministry.
It was in November, 2012. On the last hour of the CHEA- Japan convention. Just before the closing ceremonies began, this sweet and gentle grandma walked through the crowds in a large room where the entire convention and their children gathered. For the ministry of ChildD, it was a time to celebrate the joy of meeting so many, and end the first third of its missions in Japan. Yet, this joy was battling the concern that 7 seminars is just touched the tip of a huge iceberg. Japan does not have many resources available for those with learning or invisible disabilities. There are no accountable support groups, or programs that minister to them. And that morning her mind was filled with the flood of concerns she had leaving them, and their pain and anguish in serving their children with learning challenges. But when this humble grandmother bowed offering me this origami heart she made, she spoke softly in Japanese. My translator said “She says she made this for you.” I held out both hands to receive in this beautiful winged origami. With tears, she placed it in my hands, and said, “Thank you.” Being American, I bowed and tried to thank her with eye contact, but with eyes lowered she bowed to remain in a lower position. As we were almost on the floor, suddenly all the noise around us seemed to dim. That was the moment God engraved in my heart, “that this gift reminds us that we carry God’s love, and we give our very best as He leads us, but it is God that has sovereign rule and reign.”
As my eyes flooded with tears. I couldn’t only bow and say, “thank you.” Then, the noise returned, and the audience came in focus. She turned away keeping her head bowed, and I was handed the microphone, to say my final comments. I remember trying to see where she was, but I couldn’t find her amongst the large number who attended this convention. And to this day, her origami continues to speak. It not only birthed this non-profit ministry, but it also keeps our eyes upon the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ. We are reminded that He is sovereign, and we can trust in His love and capability. In the wings, I am reminded that God protects us. Psalm 91 (NIV) says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge”. The heart reminds me that our love needs Him. We hurt when our children hurt, but because of Jesus, in our weakness, His strength is made perfect. His love has brought “beauty to ashes, joy in mourning, and a garment of praise in despair” (Isaiah 61:3).
Five months later, the ChildD Ministry became a non-profit organization and missions-ministry. With each person we serve, engraved in my heart, is this testimony from the grandma that first missions trip 2012. For all who we have been able to serve, we thank you for teaching us so much more by the way you seek the Lord, and bless us with your presence and asking. Truly, your prayers, love, and steadfast faith in the Lord for your beloveds with learning challenges, avails much. Blessed be the name of Jesus. Amen