Caleb John Spyksma is our first grandchild. For years we have been praying for him, that he will love Jesus and grow up to serve him.
When Caleb was 5 years old, we decided to go to Nigeria for six months to serve with Christian Reformed World Missions. The morning of our departure, he cried and asked why we needed to go.
I explained to him that not everyone knew that Jesus loved them and that we were going to tell others about Jesus’ love. Through his tears he said, “Then you can go. Just remember to come home before my birthday.” Each Sunday in church, Caleb would ask the pastor to pray for us.
We recently spent three months in Nigeria, where I worked in Christian schools in Jos. The first day I was in one of the schools I couldn’t sleep afterward. The difference between the educational opportunities for children in North America and in some parts of Nigeria is beyond description.
During one of my telephone conversations with Caleb, now 10, I described the schools I was teaching in: mud brick walls, tin roof, a blackboard, and no resources of any kind. In amazement he asked, “No books? How can you learn without books?” It was beyond him even to think about living without books.
We e-mailed Caleb some pictures of the schools. After seeing them, he asked what he could do. I suggested he pray about it.
Later Caleb informed us that he was going to raise some money for the schools. Many coins disappeared in the house as he and his sister, Bethany, made it a project to buy books for Nigeria.
Caleb also approached his pastor, who suggested he speak to the deacons, who suggested he tell the congregation all about it the following Sunday.
On the telephone, Caleb asked if I thought his church might give $100 the following Sunday. He sure hoped so.
The people of Cornerstone CRC in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, opened their hearts to Caleb and to the needs of two small schools in Nigeria. They gave $1,230, and Caleb was jubilant. He wanted to fly to Africa to deliver the books, but after some discussion, he allowed us to purchase books and soccer balls and a few resources for the two schools.
Caleb learned he can make a difference now; he doesn’t have to wait until he’s grown up. He continues to think about what God might want him to do in the future.
We continue to pray for Caleb and trust that God will use him for his glory. “For to you is the promise and to your children” remains one of the promises of God that we treasure.