Milk Money

How many of you drank milk growing up? I did. My sister did. My parents did. My grandparents did. And I am guessing that you did. It is just a part of life here in the states. Milk is on billboards, it is in every store and school, everyone knows how important it is, and most kids can tell you their favorite type of milk (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla). It is basic and necessary and part of the fabric of our lives (yes, that the cotton slogan but it still applies!).

Also, when I was a kid people almost always had milk in their refrigerators at all times. It seems the same now, the only difference being then types of milk seemed defined by % of fat instead of now when we have Almond vs. Soy vs. Lactaid vs. Goat vs. Cow vs. lactose-free Jaguar milk. The only time I can remember not having milk was when someone would use ALL the milk except for less than a tablespoon that they would leave in the bottle and then put it back in the fridge. That was the worst. Going to get the milk jug only to find it full of nothing but air. The truth is though, even in that moment, milk was still just a car ride or quick walk away.

What if it wasn’t? What if you couldn’t get milk? I’m not talking for a day, I’m not talking for a week or even a month. I am asking – what if you couldn’t get milk again, for forever? That would really stink. We would miss out on all kinds of amazing foods and cereals and the joy of a milkstache. But then again we would survive. We have plenty of other food options.

Now, let’s take this a step further. Imagine you had a child. Seriously, imagine her. She is beautiful. She has your hair. She has your face. She has your eyes. She is a piece of you and you love her with all you have. Now, imagine that this same child that you love with all your heart had been born with a development issue that stunted her growth, prevented her from growing and being able to think and act like other children. Someone asks you, “Do you love her any less?” What a ridiculous question!! Your heart is forever thinking of her and how you could provide for her. She doesn’t just have your love, she has your whole heart.

Now, imagine that your precious child, the child that is a part of you and has your whole heart, imagine that she can’t eat regular foods. Imagine that the doctors tell you that the food that she needs most is milk. And not just a regular milk, she needs a special expensive milk. Milk! The one food you can’t get. You have rice and beans, you have some fruit, you even have a chicken from time to time. But milk?! Why does it have to be milk?! Your heart would be broken for your little girl. For your baby.

Now imagine that the reason you couldn’t get that milk was not that it didn’t exist. Imagine the reason was because you couldn’t afford it. That every day you could see others drinking milk but you couldn’t get it for your baby. Imagine you worked as hard as you could every day making tortillas, working in dense smoke, walking the hard road to sell the tortillas, and all it ever brought in was enough to buy the basics. Besides, you have 5 other mouths to feed and if you spent all your money on milk then everyone in the family would starve.

Can you imagine how that would feel? How could you choose between your children? How could a heart withstand watching one child suffer and cry so that the other’s could eat? Imagine how it would feel when her hair started to thin and teeth became fragile from malnutrition. Imagine how you would feel when she turned seven and was no bigger than a two year old.

Imagine how you would feel when her hungry eyes looked deep into yours and all you could her was the comfort of your voice telling her you are praying for help.

Can you feel the conflict in your soul? Can you close your eyes and imagine how every time you saw one of your other children you knew they were healthy at the cost of your little girl? How every moment would come back to her and that decision? How fervently you would pray for help and yet how alone you would feel?

This is what happened to Ruth’s mother.

This is what happened to Ruth’s father.

This is what happened to Ruth.

Now. Imagine there was a stranger that came to your door one day. Imagine that a neighbor had told this stranger about your situation and they wanted to understand. They wanted to help. Imagine they took a few pictures, made notes, talked with you, prayed with you, and then promised they would do whatever it took to get you help and to get your baby milk. Would you trust that? I am not sure I would. Not in a land where no one had ever helped. Many had seen, many knew, but no one helped. I think I would say in my head, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Now, imagine that a little later you are sitting in your house. Imagine that you hear some commotion outside and your youngest son runs into your house and tells you, “The stranger is back!!”

Imagine your heart asking, “What are they doing here?? Did they bring Ruth milk?? Could this be the answer to the prayers we have been praying for so long?? Could someone out there REALLY care about me and my little family?? My little girl?!” Imagine you let your heart have something it has lacked for so long: hope.

You quickly rise and step outside. Immediately your heart falls. The stranger is here, but their hands are empty. There is no milk. What does this mean? Are they here to tell you they can’t help? That you really are alone? Please, not that. That would be too much to bare.

You greet them, sit down with Ruth in your arms and listen to what they have to say.

“I am glad to see you again,” they start. “I have been praying for you since we first met. You and your daughter have been in my thoughts, prayers and dreams. And I want to tell you about a group of women in another city.”

Unsure of this you nod to say ok. They continue, “There is a group of women in another city. They meet regularly to study about the Lord and to share in fellowship. They have beautiful and strong hearts. When I was in this city I had the chance to meet with them. I had been praying for someone to answer our plea for help for Ruth, and during the meeting the Lord placed the burden on my heart to bring her up. Someone in the group asked to see a picture. I showed them the video from my first visit of your beautiful baby and they immediately loved her with the love of Christ.

“God was listening to you. Thanks to the generousity of this group of women, and the faithfulness of our God they gave to support you and your family. And I am here today to tell you: we have money for milk.”

“Money for milk.” There have never been words more beautiful for your ears that those. “Money for milk.” Your prayers have not been ignored. “Money for milk.” You are not alone. “Money for milk.” Your daughter is not alone. “Money for milk.” You let tears begin to fall as years of desperation come forth. You cannot control them as you stand with Ruth in your arms. You look at your baby, hungry for years, and tell her she is going to have milk. That she is going to eat and be satisfied.

You give the stranger the name of the milk and two days later they return. With two cans of milk and medicine. The words “Money for milk” are no longer words. They are two cans and a bottle. They are tangible and they represent hope, faith and love.

You take them in your hands along with your daughter. She recognizes the cans and lets a little noise to show she is just as excited as you are. You praise God for his faithfulness, you thank him for the group of women that had compassion on someone in another country they had never known and may never know on this side of heaven.

You sit, overwhelmed, and prepare the milk. And then you do what you have been waiting to do for years.

You feed your baby girl exactly what she needs. Even if just for a moment the desperation is over and all that remains is the healing transpiring in front of your eyes and deep in your heart.

You are not alone or forgotten. You are provided for. You are loved.

This story is true and was made possible by the women of the Heritage Church of Christ Monday Night Bible Study class. We thank you so much. You are saving and changing lives.

3 Comments

  1. Bekah says:

    I remember when I was in college having a conversation with a guy in class that said he wanted to move to Africa because he heard you could live on $1 a day. Unfortunately, he said that to the wrong person because I gave him an earful on statistics, my experiences, and like you said, the difficult decisions that have to be made when a family is forced to live on such a small sum. Parents must choose between education, healthcare, food, and sometimes, shelter when they live on $1 a day. To choose food means that your children will be uneducated and the cycle of poverty will continue. Choose education and your family will starve. Choose shelter, and on that sum, you probably STILL won’t be able to live outside of the slums and away from the diseases and violence that exist in these areas.

    I am so thankful for those women who are donating milk. So many times the world of difference is made with one small decision. I hope more people will read this and decide to make a small decision to help as well. God bless you guys, and God bless you Chris!

  2. Victoria Schaly says:

    Hi Chris,
    I am totally your annoying friend that posts all the time. There are no words for this post. I drank a gallon of milk A DAY as a child. And my parents provided that for me. I cannot imagine the plight of these parents. Although this child has a loving, nurturing mother and father which I’m sure she understands, so that is a blessing. All I understand for something or anything this sad is this-

    Isaiah 57:15

    For this is what the high and exalted One says—
    he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
    “I live in a high and holy place,
    but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
    to revive the spirit of the lowly
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.

    Praise Him!

  3. [...] weekend I wanted to share an update on Ruth – one of the children in our family support program. Click here to read all about her back [...]

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