Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving from a Grateful Heart (Caleb's Birthday!)

The cell phone connection crackled and sent me shuffling to find better reception. “They sent a picture of a little boy . . .” I strained to hear my sister’s voice. “His name is Eduard . . . but it sounds like Edik.” Tears filled the spaces between words. The child for whom we’ve been praying now has a name, and a face.

The named boy waited in a village orphanage somewhere in Siberia while paperwork and processes took place. These processes took several months from that early October referral. But delivery day finally arrived when the orphanage director in Kemerovo, Russia placed fourteen-month-old Eduard into the arms of his God-appointed parents—naked.

Orphanages can barely afford to feed the children forced into their care, let alone give away a set of clothes to every child adopted out. So Caleb’s mama and papa redressed him in clothes they brought from Ohio, just for him. They also shared some family gifts of clothing and toys with the sweet caregivers.

In five days, Caleb Edik Vladimir Eckley will turn nine years old. He’s a boy full of life, living a story of hope. And I get to be his aunt. The blessing of him fills my heart.

A few days ago, my sis offered some sweet updates on life for Caleb. He wrote a story for school called “Grandma’s Garden” that wound up encouraging his teacher whose grandma recently passed away. Football finished, and he’s now connecting more with good-for-him friends. After seeing a news story about a young girl who gathered shoes for orphans in Guatamala, he said, “Mom, I want to do that too.”

My nearly nine-year-old nephew loves Jesus. He wants to make a difference in the lives of orphans and other kids in need.

Next Saturday, on the 3rd of December, fifteen of Caleb’s friends will gather at his house to celebrate his birthday. On the invitation, he asked for hats and mittens or gloves. Not for him, but for kids who need them and can’t afford them. He’ll donate their gifts to a ministry near his home called Truly Warm. (

Truly Warm exists to share the love of the God in the Bible by clothing children in need. “I needed clothes and you clothed Me” (Matthew 25:36). In particular, they provide coats to children in the Dayton area who can’t afford them. When Denise read their homepage, she declared through her tears, “That’s not enough. Those kids need hats and gloves.” A perfect fit for Caleb’s heart. His grandma (my mom) sent handmade mittens and scarves for his mama and papa to give the kids at the orphanage in Kemerovo.

When I got off the phone with my sister, I knew what to give Caleb for his birthday—more of what he asked for! Last year, Truly Warm gave coats to more than 300 kids. Caleb is concerned that he won’t have enough hats and gloves to share with all the kids who need them.

So I’m going to help him get a little closer . . .

By gathering as many hats and pairs of gloves or mittens as I can from friends who love Jesus and want to make a difference in the lives of orphans and other kids in need. Want to help? I knew you would.

Here are some options:
• Get me your hats and gloves or mittens. If you’d like to include a note of birthday encouragement or Scripture for Caleb or the kids he’s serving, SWEET! Be sure to tell him you’re a friend of Aunt Robin’s! I’ll box them all up and send them off as a surprise for the “named boy.”
Robin Stanley
Cell: 407-221-0954
Call to connect for a drop off or for my address!

• Send your gloves or mittens directly to Caleb in time for his birthday party. Shoot me a note so I can tell Denise to look for your pkg. Include a note letting Caleb know you’re a friend of Aunt Robin’s! He’ll like making the connection.
Denise Eckley
260 West Pugh
Springboro, OH 45066

• Visit the Truly Warm site & make a donation for Caleb’s birthday.

• If you’re not in position logistically or financially to help Caleb help kids in his area, will you consider doing something for kids where you live? Do what Denise did. Search out a local charity that makes sense for you and your family. Then love like Jesus loves. Give like Jesus gives—not with your bank account, but with your life.

O Thou who has given us so much, mercifully grant us one thing more, a grateful heart. —George Herbert

What are you doing to help orphans and other kids in need? Leave a comment to share your ideas for giving from a grateful heart.