She was just one face in an endless sea of faces that all speak the same story. I met her quite accidentally. She had just arrived at a small orphan home in Africa; bruised, abused, and damaged, an orphan whose life had been counted as worthless. Afraid, distant and detached—something about the look in her eyes stuck to me. Her picture never left my mind, and Lillianna never left my heart. Her story inspired a bold venture to make a difference for Lillianna and the children of the Mukumu Children’s Home in Kakamega, Kenya. Two teams and more than 30 people raised more than $250,000 and took the trip to Kenya—building, planting, painting, and sharing in the lives of this child and 32 others like her. We witnessed the transforming power of love in action. The truth is, it really doesn’t take much to change someone’s world—just a decision to do something with the knowledge that you have.
When I returned from Lillianna’s humble home, raw from the experience and all that I had left behind, I found myself sitting in a large congregation listening along with them to a story not unlike this one. As I panned the crowd, I witnessed a scene of crippling complacency—a crowd of people, most of who were yawning or checking their watches, I was struck with how much information we have about the world. You can’t miss it. The information and statistics are everywhere. We have a lot of knowledge about a world of suffering unlike our own, and the resources to make it different in the name of Jesus, but we have become indifferent and calloused.
This is the story behind the song. The haunting eyes on the face of a child named Lillianna led me to this remarkable truth; it’s not what you know that matters, it’s “what you do with what you know” that changes everything.
It is my heart’s deepest desire that this story and song will inspire you to live “a life that sings… with words that live… and a heart that soars beyond yourself” to the world “out there” that cries out to the Church to put action to her words of faith.
To the fame and glory of Jesus Christ, Charlene Stinson
“…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” — Isaiah 58:10