A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Tj Saling Caldwell

I recently came back from a mission trip to India with Apple of His Eye Charity. Two months before leaving, I unexpectedly met a lady visiting our church from Seattle. She learned about the charity and our upcoming trip to India to work with orphans and widows and excitedly offered to donate several copies of her first published children’s book. I gladly accepted about 10 copies of her signed book but at the same time wondered how I was going to fit yet one more thing into my luggage. It’s hard not to exceed weight restrictions when we stuff our bags with goodies and surprises for the orphans and widows, and I already had accumulated a large pile.

As it came time to pack, I remembered the donated books and sure enough had to rearrange my suitcase to make them fit. While doing this I realized I hadn’t even read the book yet! Right away I opened a copy to quickly read through. The title caught my attention first, “Know Your Worth” but it was the opening pages that brought me to tears. A large picture of a penny with the words, “They say a penny is only worth a cent. It’s like having nothing.” The book goes on to talk about a turtle, Penelope, whose nickname is Penny. Penny doesn’t like her nickname because everyone considers a penny to be dirty and worthless, leading her to believe that she is the same.

So why was I moved to tears? Apple of His Eye Charity started because of a dirty, discarded penny. The day I ran past that penny I was arguing with God not wanting to start a nonprofit. I knew He was asking me to take this next step, yet I had every excuse not to: I’m a busy wife and mother of three, I don’t have the resources or the knowledge, and it sounds way too difficult. I was happy with our current arrangement of working under my church to send donations to help those in India. Why did I need to do more?

Well God spoke loud and clear through that dirty penny that day. He brought my attention back to the penny I was so easily overlooking – “TJ that is how people in general think of my orphans and widows around the world; that they too are dirty and worthless.” He was asking me to start this charity, to be His voice for the forgotten ones, and to bring justice to the most vulnerable. As I picked up the penny, I also heard Him say that He would multiply the pennies and provide all that was necessary if I would only trust Him.

That was in 2011; now eight years later, I’m preparing for my seventh trip to India and, unknowingly, holding in my hands a book that mirrors my own penny story and the heart behind this charity, Apple of His Eye! As I read this book for the first time, I felt His presence wash over me, confirming again that He was multiplying the pennies; and that He was in control.

“Know your worth” became the theme of our trip! In the book, once Penelope realizes her worth, she is no longer sad and hopeless and begins to dream about her future. This is what is happening in India with the orphans and widows. They, too, are realizing that they have a future and a hope because God loves them, and anything is possible with the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 19:26).

As God multiplies the pennies here, we are seeing His Kingdom multiplying in India. Transformation is taking place as we plant seeds of hope and love into these ignored lives. As the “least of these” recognize their worth in Him the pervading influence of truth and justice is spreading and the hidden, yet pervasive, kingdom of God is impacting every part of culture and society.

What a joy to share “Know Your Worth” by Stephanie Solomon with the children in India. The message of our Savior inadvertently captured in a story about a turtle. Thank you, Stephanie!

To learn more about apple of His Eye Charity or request your own copy of “Know Your Worth” go to appleofhiseyecharity.org

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