Tucked Away for Safekeeping


By Leah Smart, Back2Back Nigeria staff

It was a Tuesday morning, like most Tuesday mornings, with breakfast to prepare, uniforms to find, backpacks to organize, buses to board. Tracy, my husband, and I woke up early, so we could meet the children we serve at school. Recently, we received a large number of new backpacks from a donor and we planned to distribute them at school that morning.

After we arrived, Tracy quickly assessed the situation determining who needed a new backpack the most and whose backpack could last until the next distribution. Adams, a primary student living at Destiny Home, was one of the first to arrive at school. Over the last few weeks, he had been telling me how much he needed a new backpack. When I saw the bag he had been using, I knew he was right. After surveying all the new backpacks, the perfect one was selected just for Adams – a sporty black bag with a Cincinnati Reds Logo.

Adams moved to the side of the group and began transferring his books, school supplies and papers to his new backpack. After all the new backpacks were handed out, quite a crowd of students had formed busy cleaning out the old and loading up the new. There was an excitement in the air, as the students laughed and proudly showed their new backpack to each other. When the school bell rang, the crowd began to disperse, but in the middle stood one boy continuing to meticulously transfer each item to his new backpack – it was Adams!

One item at a time, Adams carefully placed the contents into his new bag, finding each its own special place. Thinking Adams was finished, Tracy picked up the old bag to put in the discard pile. Adams quickly retrieved his old bag. Puzzled, we watched him scour through that old bag knowing he must have been looking for something we overlooked.

What could he be looking for that was so important to him?

My eyes widened when Adams pulled out a laminated picture of his child sponsors’ children. Adams has the all the pictures of his child sponsors hanging on the wall next to his bed. Now that he is in school, he keeps one in his backpack. I was stunned by the level of attention devoted to caring for his pictures. It is amazing to see the impact of child sponsorship. The children are so encouraged to know someone cares and prays for them.

Sometimes in the busyness of an ordinary day lie the most unexpected gifts.

Leah Smart serves with Back2Back Ministries in Jos, Nigeria. She and her husband Tracy help manage the day-to-day operations of the Jos site, serving alongside a team of nationals. Leah focuses on providing educational opportunities, after observing that academic growth also impacts the children socially, emotionally and spiritually.