Saturday, December 02, 2017

Naming Rights

In my classes this year, we have talked about naming children. Some of my students admit they don't like their name and we speak of many of our international kids who get to pick their own new English name! This is from January 10, 2009.

Meagan is on her way back to Zambia. After a month long vacation and rest in the US, my niece is returning to her work in Africa. She is leaning towards extending her mission, which was originally scheduled to end this coming April. In class this week, I showed some film clips of Meagan with the little ones in the orphanage. Of course, my students fell in love with these children who face such difficult lives. Yesterday, there was a thank-you letter in my mailbox from Meagan for Hyunji, one of my students from Korea. For Christmas, Hyunji sent a box of Korean necklaces for Meagan's kids with me as the deliveryman. I know you are shocked to learn that I left the gifts in Houston and had to Express Mail them on my return but let's not dwell on my deficiencies! That's one of the gifts Meagan has displayed abundantly- the ability to involve so many people in the work she does at the Namwianga Mission.
There are three pictures posted at the top of this article. The first is me when we lived in Brooklyn. I thinks my folks named me after the first Christian martyr, Stephen, whose short life is chronicled in the book of Acts. The middle picture, which I've used before, shows me holding Stephen Hanson, whose folks honored me by giving their third son my name. The last shot is of Steve, a baby in Zambia. Many of the children who come to the orphanage have no name so it is up to Meagan to bestow one on the babies. In keeping with her practice of naming children after her relatives, Meagan christened this toddler after her Uncle Steve. Let me give you an update on the three Stephens. The top one has grown in adulthood and is kept busy teaching, coaching, and writing this blog. Middle Stephen is now eight and, based on Christmas pictures that just came over my e-mail account, has matured into a healthy and happy eight year old. The latest on my namesake in Africa is not as joyful. In the past several months, Steve died of complications from being HIV positive. They always say one of the saddest things for parents is to outlive your children. Even though I never saw or held little Steve, part of me feels guilty to have outlived him. Our connection was simply Meagan and the love of Jesus which compels her and others to love those who have no one else. It's all where we're born, isn't it? Stephen/Steve Hawley and Stephen Hanson, by being born in a wealthy country, were much more likely to live a life blessed with education, decent health, and the perks of being above the poverty threshold. Steve-with-no-last-name in Zambia had no such good fortune. However, he's in a new home where there is no death or hunger or AIDS. It's called heaven. Someday, the three of us will have a reunion, even though we've technically never met. I think we'll let Meagan handle the introductions- she has the gift.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
Albert Einstein

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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