Jesus had this crazy thing where he loved everyone. He particularly had a thing for those who everyone else didn’t really care about. He hung out with swindlers, adulterers, criminals, and children. That last one sticks out a little bit, but in Biblical times, children had a much different role in society than they do now. Back then, the thought was that children should be seen, but not heard, and to many people, children were a nuisance if not a downright problem.
Children in Niger, and many of the countries in which CURE operates, are viewed the same way. It often seems as if worth is only defined by what you can contribute. From a very young age, boys are put to work on the family farm and girls are cooking and rearing their younger siblings. As they get older, a girl’s value is the dowry she can elicit for the family from a suitor when she gets married. As for boys, they are the retirement plan, a walking, breathing 401k. As the parents exceed working ages, it will be the sons who will support and fund their golden years. Children will be valuable in the future, but in their younger years, they’re a nuisance. Something to be put up with until they come of age and can be useful.
This is why it’s crazy when, in Matthew, Jesus says “Let the little children come to me.” These kids have absolutely nothing to offer him, but he still wants to spend time with them. In fact, more than just having nothing to offer, they were most likely to distract or disrupt the people who had actually come to hear Jesus and spread his message. The disciples knew this and tried to send the children away, but Jesus called the children to him. Jesus wasn’t about our human standards of success. He was about love, and he loved children! He loved the ones society deemed as useless: the young, the sick, and the poor.
There’s not a doubt that Jesus loves the children being served here at CURE. Our mission at CURE is to treat children 18 (young) and under with treatable disabilities (sick). And more often than not, these children come from families with nothing (poor). Most of the patients we treat come from sustenance farming families meaning they operate small family farms where they’re able to grow enough food to eat for the year, and that’s about it. If there’s a little extra, they will sell it. But, any tragedy like a drought, a cyclone, or a child being born with a disability throws them into a precarious situation.
So, as you get ready to celebrate this Valentine’s Day, absolutely take your significant other out for a romantic dinner. Absolutely sneak a kiss in the doorway as the kids aren’t looking (or as they are looking – ideally in front of their friends to embarrass them as much as possible). But, let’s also take a moment to love kids and families whom society has told are unworthy of love. Kids like Seyfoulaye, whose mother was ostracized. She was not even allowed to go to the well to get water for her family due to the other villagers fear of catching the “curse” of Seyfoulaye’s cleft lip condition. Or a kid like Zahara, who has had to endure constant mocking of her knock knees. Or a kid like Koubra whose mother told us, “When you are happy in your heart, you smile with your teeth, and Koubra is now smiling with her teeth” as we’ve walked beside them battling a persistent bone infection.
With CURE, there are two different ways you can come alongside these incredible children to show them they are loved by Christ and by us:
Each month you’ll automatically be connected with another child your donation is going to treat. You’ll get to know their story, their hopes, their fears, and ways you can be praying for them. You’ll also get daily updates during their stay in the hospital so you can follow along during their healing journey.
You can send a get well message a child in a CURE hospital regardless of whether you have the funds to contribute to their treatment or not! Our Storytellers deliver these messages directly to the children and their guardians. It’s a beautiful chance to share how Jesus compels us to love the little children and encourage these precious souls.