The Prodigal Children
Prodigal (adj): characterized by profuse expenditure, yielding abundantly
The Sunday after we got home from traveling to Kenya, our pastor started a short series on the parable of the Prodigal Son. He tied the word “prodigal” to the excessive love the father showed the son upon his return. In breaking down the father’s reaction and gifts, I realized that it mirrored our experience bringing home the new kids to House of Hope.
-The father ran to meet his son when he was a long way off: this shows the father making a concerted effort to get to his son. After flying to the other side of the world, we drove further over nonexistent or terribly ruined roads to pick up the new kids.
-The father hugged his son: we prayed over and embraced these children who are otherwise seen as burdens. Susan Ekeno, the girl I was paired with, never let go of my hand once we got in the car. She only let go when we got to HOH to jump into the open arms of the matrons and staff.
-The father gave his son a robe and shoes: driving back into Lodwar from the bush, we stopped at the market to buy our kids two sets of brand new clothing and shoes. Lopite didn’t have a shirt when we got her – Steve explained that because the family knew she would get more, someone probably took her shirt as their own. We watched in shock as Jack stumbled around the shop in his new sandals. He’d probably never had shoes on his feet before.
-The father had his servants prepare a feast with the fattened calf: after showering and donning their new, clean clothes, the children were immediately ushered into the dining hall and served a heaping pile of food, steaming hot and delicious, to be eaten to their hearts content. In fact, the children often get sick from overeating, but the staff lets them; it’s a lesson to show them that they’ll always have as much as they could want. Like the father’s abundant feast, these kids will never need to worry about hunger again.
-The father celebrated the son’s homecoming: the greatest gift the father gave was the restored relationship with the son. Like the father, we celebrated the new lives these children will have at House of Hope, with the staff, and with their sponsor families.
Granted, these children didn’t squander what they were given like the son in the parable. They started out with nothing, but we got to love on them and celebrate them coming home – to a place where they will always be loved and taken care of.
The parable is meant to demonstrate the outrageous, abundant love our Father has poured on us. But I got to see it in action as we proved God’s love to these children and their villages.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
by RoseAnne Shiver