I serve as a board member for The Sparrow Fund, a non-profit organization that is committed to supporting adoptive families. It’s such a privilege to be a small part of a truly wonderful organization. One of the special opportunities we offer is an orphanage trip to do volunteer work each year. I had the honor of visiting and volunteering at the orphanage the first year and it was most certainly a life changing experience. Not only did I fall in love with the children, I also fell in love with the nannies who I worked beside. I learned so much from them. I connected with them as we shared Mandarglish conversations and knowing glances. I watched them repeat the tasks of a thankless job day in and day out, displaying no need or expectation to even be thanked. I watched them love the many children they were charged with caring for, in the best way they could.
They are oft overlooked much like the children they care for. They live in a place where what you do and how much you make is everything which means they have very little. Watching over and meeting the needs of children with no known roots is hardly considered a career; it’s a job. Some of the ayis do their best to do that job well despite the meager pay they’re given. They braid little girls’ hair, make funny faces to make babies giggle, pursue the child who looks different. Others simply do their duty. All of them are in the hard and obviously broken corners of our world, and they cannot help but be impacted by it.
They go by the name Ayi or, in some places, are all called Mama in painful irony of the purpose of what they do. Their purpose is to ready children for new mamas, to care for children well enough so that they can leave to be cared for by another, living in a seemingly endless cycle of nurture and departure. Surely, most ayis are glad to see a child leave as it means he has a future and will become something he could never become where he is now. We’ve seen ayis clap their hands and laugh aloud at the news that one of their children has a family coming for her. But, we can only imagine that their hearts bear scars as well from all the goodbyes. Those scars run deeper still for those who were once little girls there themselves but never got to say goodbye.
We intercede for vulnerable children, but we often overlook these vulnerable women. His hearts breaks for them as well, as should ours. It is impossible for us to truly know what their days are like, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to enter in. This effort launched today is to move us towards that and give us an opportunity to crack that door open and enter into the experience of a woman whose heart is not unlike our own.
Ayi For a Day.
The Sparrow Fund team has thoughtfully and carefully assembled 50 kits, each one slightly different in shades and tastes, to engage and unite 50 women in interceding for the ayis in China we serve at an orphanage in Shaanxi as well the innumerable ayis all over China. The kits include various items to use over the course of one dedicated day—shoe covers, sleeve covers, tea, chopsticks, Chinese snacks, Chinese money, and more—with specific prayer prompts to lead you in prayer as you do. But, the experience isn’t over at the end of one day. Enclosed in each kit will be a postage-paid envelope you will use to return the sleeve covers to me in time to be hand carried to China on October 7th. The sleeve covers you will wear and pray over on your Ayi Day will become an ayi gift and placed on the hands of an another woman on the other side of the globe.
50 kits for 50 women for a donation of $50 in 5 weeks. That’s our goal. The money raised will be put into The Sparrow Fund’s orphan care and ayi care fund. And, the prayers raised will change the world.
Click HERE to donate to The Sparrow Fund’s fundraising account to become one of the 50. Please note #ayiday or “Ayi For A Day” in the notes field when you donate. I’ll personally mail your kit to you next week with clear instructions on how to use it to engage your family and your own heart.