Our pastor talked about this man named Thomas Bernardo at church on Sunday. I've been thinking about him ever since and decided to do some research on him tonight.
Basically, this young man moved from Dublin to London to study medicine in 1866. He hoped to become a medical missionary in China. While in London, he heard of an effort to bring schooling to impoverished boys. He fell in love with these street children who had no families and no home. He began taking in some of them, but could only fit so many of them in his small apartment. A little boy called "Carrots" for his fiery red hair, pleaded with Dr. Bernardo to let him come in. But Dr. Bernardo couldn't take anymore, and he had to turn Carrots away. Awhile after, one of the boys led Dr. Bernardo to a small nook in the buildings. When Dr. Bernardo pulled back the wood, he found two boys lying very still- one dead and one alive. In horror, he realized that the dead one was Carrots. He had died from exhaustion, hunger, and exposure. Dr. Bernardo turned no child away after that. He raised money to start a home for the children and on it he prominently placed a sign that said, "No destitute child ever refused admission- open all night." In the coming years, he started a program that brought boys to Canada to work, and in the end he rescued thousands of boys with his efforts.
I didn't know whether I should smile or cry after Pastor finished telling the story. I have SO MUCH respect for this man. He dedicated his life to giving these kids a better life. That is so awesome. I love seeing ordinary people do BIG things with their lives. This man might not have changed the entire world, but he changed the world for those 30,000 kids. So it made me wonder what God has for me. I want to change kids' lives like Dr. Bernardo did. He's such an inspiration. My youth pastor's wife and I were talking on Sunday about the orphans and how it's such an overwhelming crisis. They've adopted two children but she said, "What about the rest?" Honestly, I don't know. I'm so thankful for the lists of families who are adopting. You guys are awesome. But there's still such a need. And very few of us can drop what we're doing, hop on a plane, and go rescue children (though I SOOOO wish I could!). But I believe that together, if the body of Christ would unite, we can conquer this together. I'm praying so hard for my generation. In the next 10 years many of us will hopefully be married and thinking about starting families. I pray that we will save our money well, have strong marriages, and be willing to surrender to the work God calls us to. I pray that adoption will be heavy on the hearts of many and that numerous children get to come home to their forever families. All it takes is a nudge from God..... the question is.... will we listen??