Ryan Gregg, February 23, 2012
Meet Shiloh, a six-year old local leader from rural Manitoba. She is not your run-of-the-mill cutie. Behind these sparkling blue eyes is a heart that cares for the hearts of others. For Shiloh’s sixth birthday, she asked her friends to give her things that she could give to the children at Shevet Achim. On the day of the party, presents came in: crayons, coloring books, dolls, play-dough, hair ties, note pads, stuffed animals, and even a new toothbrush.
Shiloh’s grandparents are Christian leaders among the indigenous tribes of Canada, and recently led a group of pilgrims to Israel. When they came, grandma and grandpa brought an extra suitcase over the Atlantic, full of Shiloh’s birthday presents. When the pilgrims came to Jerusalem, Jonathan and I walked down Prophets Street to meet them, to receive Shiloh’s presents for the children, and to say thank you.
Shiloh’s grandparents are understandably very proud of her, and held up her picture to the group. I felt that Shiloh’s character was also being held up, as an example to us non-children of what a generous heart looks like.
On the back of the photograph is written: “To the children of Shevet Achim: your stories have touched my heart. For my 6th birthday party I asked my friends to bring things that I could give to you. Love, Shiloh.” Afterwards, some people from the group danced in a circle, praising Jesus with song and motion. I got in the mix too; I’m the guy with the checkered sweatshirt and blue undershirt. We weren’t dancing quite that fast, but you get the idea.
A couple days later, we had a chance to give a few of Shiloh’s presents to two children from Iraq who are now at Shevet Achim, Nyan and Aryan. They loved them! Below are some pictures:
I am most inspired by the biblical promise of Shevet Achim when children spontaneously live it. It seems the world is simpler through the eyes of a child, its many complexities falling simply into a few rules of kindness. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Children understand this. Shiloh understands this. And I want a heart like Shiloh’s.