I’m grateful to the many people around the world who have already wished me a happy birthday before 7am. Through Facebook, Twitter, and email we can be connected more than ever before. When I was born, there is no way my incredible parents could have imagined this life of adventure for me. Thanks for being part of God’s use of me. Above all other things on my birthday, I’m thankful to God for my parents faithful investment of God’s love into my life.
From the beginning my parents knew I didn’t belong to them, but to God. In fact, on my dad’s 2nd of 4 trip trips with me to Africa, we were boarding a plane at JFK International Airport in New York. Right before we turned in our tickets to go down the ramp, he turned and said, “I need to tell something, Ryan, that I didn’t want to tell you our first trip together. When you were 1 year old – a little baby, in 1980 – I would rock you to sleep and pray for you. As you know, Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980. I would say to God, ‘my son belongs to you. You may take Him anywhere in the world, just not to Mongolia or Zimbabwe.’ Now, here I am boarding a plane to follow you to Zimbabwe. I’m thankful God saw more for you than I could have.”
I’ll never forget that memory, as it bridged my first year of life to my present adventure leading Forgotten Voices. It also reminds us of the need for our faithful investment in the children we serve. Children who have lost their natural champions – their parents – to death, but have spiritual champions in the body of believers around the world.
May we stand with them, as God intended. God has more in store for them than we can possible see.
Rather than send me a card or gift, as many of you have done through the years, please consider making a gift to Forgotten Voices’ Farming Match challenge, now 3 days left. Your gift is needed, regardless of how small. I’m off on Thursdays, so I’m going to trust in the Lord for these needs and not work. As my father’s story teaches all of us, God never sleeps or slumbers. He is faithful in all things and knew all of us before we were an idea in our parents’ heads.
Enjoy the day! I know I will. My daughter woke me up early this morning. “Avery awake, come get me!” Me: “Did you know today is my birthday?” Avery: “I want to go downstairs.” May her comment remind us birthdays are not about us, but about an opportunity to testify to the great love of our God and those who have poured into our lives.