Students Help Jesús

May 01, 2009 | Susan Whitely

The fourth-grade class at Cascade Christian Academy decided to take on a mission project this school year, raising $850 to help a family who lives over 2,000 miles away. After last year's mission trip to Mexico the high school students returned with heart-breaking stories.

One of the stories involved a single mother, Sarah, living near the orphanage with her three sons. They live in a small abandoned school bus. Sarah works in the fields and cares for livestock. Two of her sons go to school, but not 10-year-old Jesús. He has disabilities and can't go to school because they don't provide special services there. He stays home and Sarah checks on him during the day. Jesús, because of his disabilities, is still in diapers. However, their poverty makes it so that Jesús' diapers can't be changed regularly.

The students decided to raise money to help the family. Before Christmas, they sent $350 to Sarah to help her buy more diapers and get a few extras. Shortly after, Darrell Graham, the orphanage director, made a video showing how Sarah and her sons live. The students watched intently, gaining a new understanding of what poverty really looks like. They saw the bus, the tattered small couch, the tiny bed, and the outside, dirt-floor kitchen.

They also saw Sarah's reaction. With tears of joy, she looked to the heavens and thanked the Lord for this unexpected blessing. She could not believe total strangers would do this for her. Graham used some of the money to buy a small heater for them. They have been living without heat and winters get cold there. He also bought Sarah and her sons a few Christmas presents.

In January the children decided to continue raising money. They've made another $500! The fourth-grade class has seen the happiness that comes when you give to others. It's a lesson they never could have learned from a textbook.