Godwin looked into the faces of the children sitting at tables waiting for their letters. They were preparing to read and respond to their sponsor letters when Reuben approached Godwin, his face set with determination, his brow drawn tight as he sought out a solution to his problem.
“Uncle, how do I get sponsors?” he implored.
Godwin smiled softly. “Pray to your Father and tell him your desire for sponsors.” Just months later, Reuben was fully sponsored with three sponsors.
A similar scene played out a few months later as Godwin was passing out letters to the children, again, and a young boy approached him. Concentration bracing his face, a question lighting his eyes.
“Uncle, how do I get sponsors?”
But this time, Godwin didn’t have the opportunity to answer. Reuben rested his hand on the young boy’s shoulder and gave him the advice of someone who has walked these same steps, inquiring after intentional relationship and connection.
“You need to fast and pray,” explained Reuben. “Don’t eat food for one whole day, focus your thoughts and desires on God, tell Him what you want. This is what I did and the Lord answered me.”
The confidence and strength bracing Reuben’s response is not out of character. As the eldest child of three, Reuben quickly became the backbone of his family when he and his sisters lost both of their parents unexpectedly.
“Reuben had very strong ideas of what it meant to be the oldest, and only, brother to two younger sisters. He felt a powerful pull to care for his sisters – to feed them, see to their safety, and protect them,” explains Godwin, Child Sponsorship coordinator for Destiny Children’s Home in Nigeria.
Reuben, an impressionable 14-year-old boy, came to Destiny Children’s Home knowing only how to rely fully on his own strength; developing the willingness to pass his desires to his King carefully and with intention is an act of release, a nod to the trust he now holds for the staff and caretakers who support him.
“It’s been amazing to see him put all of His trust in God. He doesn’t believe he got the sponsors himself; he doesn’t believe I had any control over it, either. He knows God heard his cries and listened intently,” says Godwin.
Reuben continues to grow socially and spiritually as he untethers from the restraint of feeling he must be the strongest and have all the answers. Recently, at Bible Club, the children were encouraged to learn and remember 22 Bible verses; Reuben set to being in the Word, soaking in the verses and committing them to memory.
“He is serious about his time with the Lord,” says Godwin. “You can see his desire to be a leader for the other children in the ways he encourages them in their Bible reading, in how he socializes with them – laughing and openly talking.”
Reuben is coming to understand what it means to enjoy life as a growing child; not needing to be the backbone or the most together, Reuben is learning the value of trusting his desires and life to his Father.