As we leave the Institute, the lane is lined with the same children as when we arrived the week before. But they were no longer a sea of faces that looked as much alike as their little school uniforms. They were now individuals whose names and stories and personalities are unique and memorable. We will remember Small Boy who was admitted to the Institute even though he was too young to qualify but too hard to turn away.
We will remember the child whose smile and impish behavior reminded us of our own grandson. I will remember the girls I nicknamed "the twins," much to their delight, because they were always together and braided and looped their hair in the same fashion.
We will remember the little widowed or abandoned women who now have a home and a purpose, working in the kitchen or helping care for the children.
We will remember the young woman who is in love with a certain young man, but whose parents refuse to arrange a marriage for them.
The previously posted vignettes feature the newest enrollees, but regardless of how long the children have been here, each has a story to tell of hard luck and providential rescue, giving them a home, a church family, an education, and a chance for a happier and more productive life.
"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).
Thank you Chandrapal and Kumari, Titus and Joyce, the faculty and staff of the Jack Nelle Institute, the Leoma Church of Christ and all the other churches and individuals who make this verse of scripture come to life.
- Laurel Sewell