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One of the greatest testimonies I often make about Sweet Sleep is how relevant of a ministry it is to our children. After all, it is a ministry FOR children. I have seen this relevance in my home over the past four years that I have been involved with Sweet Sleep. My children are 4, 7, and 9 years old. They have grown up, their entire lives practically, watching me serve with and through Sweet Sleep.
The profound impact of Sweet Sleep has not only been realized by the children of Uganda, Haiti, Moldova, and South Africa, but also by my young family, who has grown since early childhood watching my involvement. The mission of Sweet Sleep – to show God’s love to the world’s orphaned and abandoned children by providing a bed, bible, and mosquito net – is so relevant to our children. They understand that a bed is a safe place; this is where they rest, where they dream, where they pray. The covers hide them from their fears and wrap them up just like God giving them a big hug.
It has been beautiful to watch my children grow in their understanding of what it means to act in service and obedience. They understand sacrifice and that God calls us to take care of the orphaned. They know they are being obedient when they are brave while I am away. They show their love to the orphans by drawing pictures and writing notes that I take with me. Over the years that love and those prayers have evolved – and the once “blonde haired, blue eyed” African children’s faces are now shaded dark as their understanding of children a world away grows.
As I tell them stories and show them pictures, they have grown to know these children are just like they are and, more importantly, that God created them and loves them in just the same way that he created and loves each of us. They know the only difference is that we were born here and that they were born there, and into those circumstances. They know that God did not put us where we are for our comfort. He has done so, and has given us a great responsibility – and that is to take care of and love His children in their time of need.
Because of Sweet Sleep and my involvement in the ministry, orphan care is a part of my family’s vocabulary. In the evening, my children pray for their dinner, and the orphans. At bedtime, they pray for their friends and their pets, and for the orphans. I am grateful and encouraged as I watch my children grow into their roles of service in the Kingdom and I faithfully wait for the day they deliver their written note to an orphan themselves, in person.