A Teddy Bear for Street Children
It’s incomprehensible to consider that there may be some 100 million (ref. UNICEF) children lying on the streets around the world. I personally encountered this tragedy 2 ½ years ago in Cairo, Egypt.
Walking with my Egyptian host, we were confronted by begging street children ages 3 – 5. As horrific as that is, it became unthinkable when these girls began to undress themselves, willing to sell their bodies for a few dollars.
Undone, I wept before the Lord in my hotel room asking him what we could do. The voice of the Lord rang clear…teddy bears. My response was less than faith-filled, “How on earth is a teddy bear going to help?” His reply, “Whose daughter is she? If I say my little girl needs a teddy bear…will you be obedient?”
Working with my host, an incredible pastor, we both printed and purchased teddy bears; but of course, it was only a portion of a broader, comprehensive ministry. The Children’s Gospel Box provided the Egyptians a proven catalyst to reach children. They took this format and expanded it, busing kids in, giving them baths, food, and new clothing. The Gospel Box rally hall was jammed with 3,000 kids – 600 giving their hearts to Christ and receiving excellent gospel materials.
These wonderful Egyptian believers showed us how to reach into nations that are normally closed to the gospel and closed to doing the CG Box. They set the standard for caring for the “least of these” – the children living in the shadows.
Recently, I returned to Egypt, this time with my wife and a small team. My host had expanded the outreach to street children to include street children with terminal illnesses. Despite the government stopping us from visiting tents full of dying children, we were allowed in a children’s hospital where we loved on as many kids as we could.
My host’s church and other churches combined again, this time to reach 1,200 street children. And like last year, they washed, fed, gave clothes and a Bible before having an amazing rally where 900 said “Yes” to Jesus. Also, these churches continued to open their doors to these kids, giving them somewhere to sleep safely – a big, big deal.
And, of course, they all got teddy bears.
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