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Let the Little Children Come to Me

A Letter from Jed and Jenny Koball, serving in Peru

May 2018

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Write to Jenny Koball

Individuals: Give online to E200447 for Jed and Jenny Koball’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507513 for Jed and Jenny Koball’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)

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Jenny’s and my childhoods were very different. She was raised in the high jungles of the Amazon. I was raised in the suburbs of Virginia Beach. She grew up in the midst of terrorism that ravaged her countryside and threatened each day. I grew up near military bases, ripe with Cold War rhetoric and unknown fears. But, something we shared in common were families who made us feel safe and parents who loved us without condition. Such love and a faith in the God of all peoples profoundly shaped us and led us to where we are today — to this gospel ministry we share.

Over the years, through the stories we have told, initiatives we have introduced, and requests we have made, there runs a common thread. Simply put, we long to help make a world fit for all children: from the grossly contaminated Andean town of La Oroya where nearly all the children suffer from toxic metal poisoning, to the forgotten farmlands of San Martin where a high concentration of hearing impaired children have no access to education, to a humble shelter in the mountains of Huanuco where children and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse grow in solidarity with one another to heal and to re-enter the world with confidence. In each of these communities and beyond, we continue to learn and to teach how to humbly walk alongside those struggling for a new reality. We continue to ask questions in order to understand the deeper and often global root causes of such violence, poverty and discrimination. We continue to empower ourselves and others to speak up and to work for justice locally and globally. We continue to discern God´s will for our lives in making things right for all children, everywhere. In short, we continue seeking ways to share the love of God that has been shared with us.

It is this longing to share such love that has not only led us to where we are: it continues to shape our dreams of the life God has in store for us. As Jenny and I both first came to know of God´s blessings through the care of our families, we, too, cannot stop imagining the family we hope to one day raise together. In fact, this is something we have been planning for quite some time. And now, I can say with increasing confidence that it may become our reality much sooner than later.

Two years ago, Jenny and I took the first steps towards adopting a child here in Peru. Unbeknownst to us then, it is quite a lengthy and thorough process. After many workshops, applications, interviews, references, evaluations and more, we finally received the news a few weeks ago that we have been approved to be adoptive parents. We are now officially on the wait list to adopt a child between the ages of 0 and 4. While no adoption is guaranteed and no timeline can be specified, we are under the impression that we could receive our future son or daughter before the end of the year. We could not be more excited!

As you can imagine, this will bring significant change to our life. The most immediate change is our schedule for the rest of this year. Over the past year, Jenny and I have been communicating with you our plans to travel to the U.S. this coming fall to share about our work and that of our global partner with churches across the country. In fact, we have already scheduled visits with many of you. Due to the anticipated arrival of our child and because of the adoption laws in Peru that require us to be present here not only for the adoption but for at least one year after, we have decided to postpone our trip to the U.S.

This decision was not made lightly. We deeply value our relationship and partnership with each and every church that supports us, walks with us, prays with us, and shares with us in so many meaningful ways. When we speak of this gospel ministry we share, we are not speaking simply of a ministry that Jenny and I share, or a ministry that we share with our global partner — we are speaking of a ministry we share with you! We are all part of the one Body of Christ! We are all working together for one world, sharing one Common Home, interconnected by love and grace. And so, we long for the day in which we will see you again, if not for the first time.

Rest assured that our work here continues. Our accompaniment of the children of Peru and our global partner working on their behalf — from La Oroya, to San Martin, to Huanuco and beyond — will not wane. And it is our fervent prayer that your gracious and generous support for this ministry we share will also not wane, rather increase with hope and expectation.

In the meantime, we hold fast to the words of Christ as told to us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

In Truth, Love, and Gratitude,

Jed and Jenny

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