I recently visited my youth group, like I do most Wednesday nights, and instead of having our normal bible study and game time; we attended the Awana Grand Pre. As I entered the room, I was introduced to seven little boys and girls whose ages range from about seven to twelve, most of which come from India, Brazil, Uganda, or The Philippines. T
They were all in an international children's choir named Children of the World. They travel all over the globe singing songs and sharing their culture.
After the Grand Pre finished I took the time to talk to each child as a way of learning more about them. First I talked to a little girl named Duda. She was a very vivacious and talkative child, she kind of reminded me of Olivia from The Cosby Show. Duda is seven years-old and comes from Recife, Brazil where she was removed from her home because of her mother's addiction to drugs and alcohol. She has a brother named Italo who is very talented when it comes to soccer, or as they call it, futbol. Italo is nine years old, and has the most lovable personality.
Then there is Brian who has three siblings and comes from Cebu, Philippines where he lives with both his mother and stepfather. He is eight years-old and loves to go to school. He is currently attending a Christian Daycare where he gets the opportunity to learn and meet friends.
Lalchawimawi, or Moi, is from India. Moi's father died from malaria. Years later, her mother abandoned her and her sister when she married another man. Moi is a very intelligent ten year-old. She loves, and is very talented at braiding hair. Her sister's name is Mubeezi, who is also ten years-old. Mubeezi lives in a semi-permanent house where her water comes from a pond located near her home. Although Mubeezi and Moi do not live together, through the Children of the World program, they have the opportunity to see each other frequently.
Mangkholien or Mang for short is a very quiet twelve year-old. His father passed away from Malaria when he was four. His mother tries to provide for him and his siblings by selling charcoal and firewood on the streets. Mang hopes to go to Bible School someday soon because he loves learning about God's word.
Tingneitling was a hard name for me to try and say. I kept messing it up. Luckily she thought it was funny, and told me I could call her Ting. Ting is a very outspoken eleven year-old; she is one of eight children. Her father was killed in an accident and her mother, who is currently suffering from AIDS, was left to provide for the large family. She lives in a poverty-stricken slum area where everyone is very poor. Ting loves to sing and hopes to be a missionary when she grows older.
After the children left, I talked to the President of the program who told me what he learned when he visited Gulu. He told me that he met an eleven year-old that was abducted into the army. She then became pregnant by one of the solders. They killed her baby and when she tried to escape she was beaten.
Vernon, the President, also told me about a boy he met who was abducted and forced to kill his own brother. The men that captured him put a gun to his head and said if he didn't kill his brother they would kill him. He killed his brother and was let free. After hearing those stories he explained to me how lucky I was. He was right.
Thanks to the Children of the World program, these seven children have the opportunity to travel the world and spread God's word. Coming from New York, I live in a community where the majority is Caucasian. I truly believe that this was a chance of a lifetime for both the children and myself. I have a new outlook on life, and I gained a lot of respect for both my parents, and the people running our amazing country. We are truthfully lucky to have what we do, even if it sometimes seems otherwise.
Visit www.worldhelp.net to learn more. You can see pictures of the children themselves, hear them sing, and watch videos. Your parents can even sponsor a child. It helps.