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Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)


Christmas For The Least Of These

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch

23 December 2005




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Centre Apostolique Malien
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Bamako, Mali
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Whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me. (Jesus in Mt 18:5)

For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest. (Jesus in Lk 9:48b)

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for Me. (Mt 25:37-38,40)

Simeon, Paul, Seybou, Marie and myself, we stood in a circle in the living room, surrounded by stacks of clothes - (T-)shirts, pants, for boys and for girls - and over 60 pairs of shoes we were able to purchase. The noise of children outside the front gate, waiting for the doors to open, could be heard as we joined hands to come before our King. I bent over in awe, humbled by the great privilege of receiving the King Himself in a few moments, the awesome privilege of serving a meal to my King, of handing Him a cup of water, of clothing my Jesus Himself. What a holy moment! Words cannot describe it. I was filled with awe and joy at this amazing privilege.

Over 100 children, 100 images of HIM, 100 beautiful creations, came trough the doors onto our property. I wanted to hug each one of them, share my amazement with them, the revelation of who they are, and humble myself before them, serving them, serving my King.

The awe was soon replaced with frustration at the inability to get 100 street kids to listen to me or to do what I was saying. But when I switched from my natural to my spiritual eyes, my heart was breaking for these precious ones that have been abandonned by their parents, beaten, abused, and every other thing you can imagine. These kids that try to survive on the streets by themselves, having nowhere to go, noone to trust, nothing they call their own. How I longed to pour all of the Father's love on them, loving them to life, loving them so they can trust again, loving them so they have a home again, loving them so they have food again, loving them so they can go to school like other kids their age, loving them with the healing balm of the Lord, loving them to be their friend, their parent, their protector and their advocat.

I have started with one. Sekouba. My son. He came to the Lord end of September and has been living with me, in a tent in the garden, for soon three months. It takes time for the river of love to soften the ground, to erode the walls, to wash away the barriers, one after the other. If you read my (nearly) daily blog on my website, you read about the night (Dec 15 - read it here), when the Lord touched him deeply as I broke the orphan spirit on him and prayed for the Father to reveal Himself to him and fill him with His love.

Now, he is part of the family. As my son, he is included in all activities, he can come inside the house, I share what I have, and I trust him. You may think that that is unwise, but he has proven himself trustworthy. I enjoy having him around, seeing him learn another letter and read words, playing computer games, and helping out wherever he can without being asked. For the first time, Sekouba was NOT a part of the crowd outside the gates, the kids wanting in, but he was already INSIDE. He now is a part of the team, the one blessed, the one giving out, and no longer the one in need, desperate, and on the receiving end. It was a great joy to see him integrated in the team, laboring with us. And he passed the test with flying colors. While all kids received clothes, he did not, and didn't even complain once. Our family Christmas celebration is on Saturday, which is when everyone will receive their gifts, including Sekouba. He was faithful in little, he will be receiving much.

It was after 4 p.m., and the time had come to open the doors and let the children in. Every child received a paper with a number and a mark on the hand, both of which would later qualify them to receive their gift (thank you, Lord, for the inspiration!). But first it was time to play a game. We formed two teams, giving them each an end of a cord, with the goal of tearing the other team across the path. The winning team was then split until one boy was the winner and received a football - probably the item most desired by all boys :-)

After the game - having a hundred worked-up kids and many curious passers-by - we sang two songs with actions, in Bambara. They were all having fun jumping, clapping, twirling, bowing and so on, while singing songs praising the Lord and proclaiming His love for them.

Finally - hoping they were tired and ready to sit quietly - it was time to listen. They all sat down, while we got the flannel board ready, and I started sharing the Christmas story with them. I didn't know exactly where to go from there, only that I would present the full gospel. Like so often, I was TOTALLY amazed at how the Holy Spirit took over, speaking through me, exactly what they needed to hear. You could feel the anointing increase, and hearts being softened and touched by the Father's love.

The Lord powerfully illustrated through me what it meant to become a child of God, to receive a perfect heavenly Father, how that wasn't possible, but how Jesus made it possible. I picked out a child in the first row, taking the role of Father God and him a child separated from Him, but in the end, adopted by Him. Even while doing the illustration, I could feel how that little boy (about 10 years old) was touched by the love of God, and then in the end, when I put my arm around him, and then hugged him showing how much God loves them, I wished I could have held him until he really got it.

In the end I asked them to stand up and invited them to pray after me to become a child of God. They all repeated after my interpreter Paul, some with LOUD voices. Then I asked those who needed physical healing to come forward. We prayed for about 8 children, and 6 of them were healed! Praise God! After every healing, I took the mic and told people, to the glory of God.

Here are a few:

The only visible healing was this young boy who couldn't even lift his arm into a horizontal position because of the pain. We prayed for him, and he was able to move his arm freely.

Another young man had had an accident three days earlier and his hand was hurting badly. We prayed, and all the pain had to leave.

Another one (on the left) had constant pain in his eyes, for many years. We prayed, and all the pain was gone. (Picture

Another one (to the right) had a headache that was concentrated at one little area of his forehead. He'd had it for a long time, even before his parents sent him away. We prayed, and it fled at the name of Jesus.

We sang another song in Bambara, then had some chaos again - trying to do review questions giving candy and trying to play another game - and then it was finally time for the big meal. We served each kid with joy a plate of rice with sauce and juice.

Then it was time for what they had probably be waiting for the most - gifts! One after the other, they went inside the house according to their number, each one receiving a pair of shoes, as well as another piece of clothing of their choice. The street kids were our guests of honor, being the first ones to go in, but when they had all received their numbers, we did not turn our neighbors away. There was enough for everyone.

When the last child and adult had left, our garden looked like a battlefield - decorations ripped off, trash everywhere. Yet, what a little price to pay for having touched over 100 children with the love for God. For some, this will have been a day they will never forget. For some this will be the beginning of their walk with the Lord. Some of them will become a part of our family, and some will live with us once we've got our property and home built. Pray that many will come back next Wednesday for our weekly program.


* CAR/TRUCK - In my last email, I made quite a mistake when I exchanged the local Malian currency into dollars. The "cheap" truck available in February is not $3000, but $12000 (I divided by 2 instead of multiplying with 2). However, God might have been in this mistake, because now there IS a car available for that price. The seller is an acquaintance of Emma's who's desperate for money and selling a car under its value. At first Emma said NOT to buy it, but with the new price we're now prayerfully considering it. Next week I'll go look at it myself. Last summer, some kids saw a red truck when praying for this issue, and this one's red (there are hardly any red trucks in Mali). Thanks to two donations, we'd be able to purchase this truck, once we know we have the Lord's go-ahead.

* LAND - Because of the holiday season, the pastor helping me has been too busy for us to take the next step. It will be either next week or the week after that we are going to look where the available properties dedicated to churches are, so we can deposit our request for it.

After our movie tonight, I started the preparations for our team Christmas celebration tomorrow, rearranging furniture and gifts, getting decorations done and the last gifts wrapped. Since I was a child I haven't felt so much excitement about Christmas! And the reason is that I'm going to be with my Malian family, and I can't wait to see their faces when they open their gifts! We are going swimming (hotel) in the afternoon, then home where I will cook for everyone, before we're gonna sing, pray and open gifts. We'll be 9 people.

I wish you all a very blessed day tomorrow and Sunday. May His abundant blessings flow down from heaven as you celebrate the birth of our wonderful Savior, Lord, Bridegroom, and Friend.