Sunday, June 3, 2012

One of My Heroes - Samuel

For many weeks I have been meaning to write this blog about a special young boy---he is one whom I have yet to meet but who inspires me. He is one of my heroes even though he probably doesn't know it. Some times you come across a story about another human being and their testimony is like a shot of spiritual adrenalin into your arm. Their story is the fuel that God uses to help us keep running the race that Christ has set before us. Their story is an example that God's power is made perfect in weakness. He will use the weak to shame the strong. For there is no life He cannot use, there is no person too small, too weak, too broken that He cannot demonstrate His power. Whenever I think of this young boy it is the scriptures in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 that he epitomizes: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

His story is a story of our God who will go to the pits of this world, to rescue a child who the world so easily and willingly would see as disposable. But the Lord does not just rescue, the Lord we serve is in the business of rebuilding lives,  and as He redeems them, they discover that they are a new creation in Him and as they do, they discover that He not only has a plan and purpose for their lives, but He will give them all they need to accomplish the unique purposes that God has for them.

I want to introduce you to Samuel Seehawer. This is his story: Samuel's life began not unlike most physically disabled children in Cambodia. Samuel was born missing both hands. He has one fully formed leg, the other is missing the Fibula and he has a partial foot with one small toe.On June 30th, 2004, less than 24 hrs old, Samuel was found outside a hospital in Phnom Penh, laying in the dirt and surrounded by garbage.At one month old he was then taken to a Government run orphanage, where he was housed with all the other severely disabled babies who had been left there. Theravada Buddhism is the primary religion practiced in Cambodia. Theravada Buddhism teaches that the disabled have lived a bad past life and now live a life of hardship in the reincarnated body. The Cambodian word to describe these children is "Changray" meaning evil. These most vulnerable children are believed to bring harm and bad luck to the family. Mothers of these children are often disowned by their family and shunned by society. Left with no hope, mothers often abandon their babies. Most caregivers in the Government orphanage also believe in "Changray" therefore the disabled are not deemed valuable enough to receive basic care. Lack of medical attention, proper nutrition, mosquito protection and basic hygiene put these precious little ones at great risk of illness. Death is all too common.

But into what would seem a hopeless situation, in March 2005, a Canadian couple Charlotte & Mark Seehawer adopted him and Samuel's journey from hopelessness to hope began. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;  all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.(Psalm 139:15-16). God would take Samuel from Cambodia to Canada and in 2010 at the ripe young age of 6 years old, Samuel heard of a little girl Sarah who was staying at Place of Rescue run by our dear friend Marie Ens.  Sarah had the same upper congenitial amputations as Samuel.
Baby Sarah

As he stood gazing at the photo, he turned to his mother and said " mommy she's just like me". In the heart and mind of a six year old who knows what it's like to be different, an idea came to him. "Mommy I want to send her some of my toys"What a selfless thought. Samuel's mother advised him that it would be difficult to send toys but perhaps they could think of an alternative idea to help baby Sarah. It was another Canadian amputee Terry Fox who ran across Canada to raise funds for cancer that inspired Samuel. Samuel, a multiple amputee could ride his little modified bicycle a short distance and ask people to sponsor him. With the help of family and friends, word spread quickly that a disabled 6 year old was going to ride his bicycle a distance of 2 kilometres to raise funds for something he believes in - Place of Rescue.
On September 18th, 2010, Samuel made his first Ride For Rescue. A total of $26,166.82 was raised with every penny given to Place of Rescue! On June 25th, 2011, Samuel successfully completed his 2nd Annual Ride For Rescue, raising another $13,000 that all went to Ride for Rescue!On June 23rd, 2012, Samuel will once again be riding for Place of Rescue. His inspiration for the ride is Sarah who is just about old enough to start riding her own tricycle. Sarah is almost 2 years old now and is doing very well at Place of Rescue.

Over these past two years, Samuel has been riding for a purpose! He is riding for those without a hope. At this young age of 8 years old, with physically disabilities, he is demonstrating to the world, that with God all things are possible.  His life is a living testimony, that one is never too young to make a difference in this world. All God is looking for is someone who has a willing heart and a willing hand. Samuel did not look at his limitations as reason for not doing anything. Rather, he has embraced his limitations and used it as an opportunity to demonstrate that God's power is made perfect in his fragile body. Samuel has been offering his 5 loaves and 2 fish to the Lord and each time God has taken his offering and multiplied it beyond what he or his family could ever have asked or imagine. 

Psalm 113:7-8 says: He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. God has not only raised Samuel from the dust, but Samuel has had the privilege of meeting the the future king and queen of England: 
Samuel with Princess Kate
Samuel chatting with Prince William

When I think of Samuel's story, I can't help but be inspired. I can't help but dream for the young women who will enter our RAP home soon. I can't help but imagine the possibilities and the opportunities that await them as we like Samuel, commit to investing in their lives. As we take up the baton like Samuel's parents Mark and Charlottee, as we invest in their precious lives -- lives so often  viewed as disposable to the world, but precious treasures in God's sight, we have the incredible privilege of seeing them blossom as He  displays His beauty, His splendor and His glory in them. Who could have thought that this little boy Samuel, who was left near piles of garbage would one day meet the future King and Queen of England and the Prime Minister of Canada. 
Samuel meeting the Prime Minister of Canada - Stephen Harper
I thank God for Samuel's life, I thank God for showing us once again that every child matters, every child has value, every child has the potential to make a difference in this world for God so ordained that He who began a good work in each of these children, He will complete it.(Philippians 1:6) This is His promise to them. This is His promise to us. No wonder, Jesus said, 'welcome the little children''----children like Samuel are leading the way, he is a living example of what courage, tenacity and perseverance look like in the flesh! His life is a reminder to me, to dream big dreams, to dream the impossible dreams  for we have a Dream Giver who wants to make His dreams become a reality in our lives. 

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