Chifundo’s Basket in the Quake Zone

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The reports shook a world that was already looking toward the east, eagerly awaiting the Beijing Olympics that were only a few months away. The images and numbers were overwhelming – collapsed houses, crushed cars, and collapsed schools with thousands of children buried alive.

I was working with a group of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi, Africa at the time. One day, I tried to explain this inexplicable loss to children for whom the world is their village – children who couldn’t locate China on a map, mostly because they can’t read. I wanted them to understand the concept of being connected to others a world away. I found that they easily understand grief and a world turned upside down. And when my Chinese daughter stood in the center of the room as proxy, 40 African children prayed for the children of China with all of their young hearts.

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Throughout the summer I received photos from a friend in the quake zone – a house church pastor who had immediately relocated his family at the epicenter of the disaster. Often, they were excruciating photos of children trapped or a father wailing over the bodies of his dead wife and sons. All gone. The official toll rose to 69,227 dead with 18,222 missing – but they’re not sure they’ve counted all of the students yet.

And though the government and volunteers have been working around the clock, winter still caught two million people homeless and without warm clothing. Many in our community have been to China – several times. We just couldn’t imagine being homeless – lacking not only shelter, but hot food and warm clothing in such a frigid environment. The coldest I ever remember being in my whole life was during the month of March in China, where I shivered day and night wearing every piece of clothing I had packed.

Fortunately, we have friends working directly in the quake zone – so we were recently able to send Chifundo’s Basket monies to buy food, school supplies, and winter relief kits – blankets, coats, warm clothing – for neediest of children in Sichuan Province, China. Our partners have already written to thank all those who give to Chifundo’s Basket – promising photos and stories soon.

Until now, Chifundo’s Basket has been focused entirely on Africa.

But I know at least 40 African children that won’t mind sharing the wealth.

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