A video of Eliza sharing more about her project can be seen here:
Does the name Bishnu Adhikari sound familiar? For those who have watched the documentary, "Meet the Mormons" it may be more familiar. Currently the film is streaming on Netflix. Whether you're a member of our faith or not, it's well worth your time. For me, the film showcases the marvelous way in which our Father in Heaven blesses and assists his children in reaching their potential. It was a testament to me that God knows us and that he intentionally blesses us with unique talents and gifts. It was a reminder that He can do more with our lives when we surrender our will over to Him.
Bishnu is a native of Nepal. He works with Choice Humanitarian. Their shared goal is to eradicate poverty and help ease the challenges his people are burdened with. As you will remember, Nepal was devastated by an earthquake this past May. This summer, Bishnu spent time in the United States raising awareness of how this tragedy has impacted Nepal. After listening to him speak, Andrew and I were able to bring Eliza over to the home where we had listened to his presentation. Wanting to help, Eliza offered to give Bishnu all of the bears she had sewed this year in an effort to lift the children's spirits. Due to limited space in his suitcases, he asked if he could have one. He told Eliza that if she were to sell the others, the money could go to help send a nine year old girl to school. Fifty dollars, he told Eliza, would send one girl to school for a year. Earning fifty dollars became her goal.
Christmas time rolled around and Eliza had a handful of bears. It took her months to complete these. A previous batch had been donated to help raise money at Willa's Fairy festival. I went to social media to see if there were any nearby neighbors interested in a bear. Having shared a piece of Eliza's story, I was suddenly inundated with requests for bears. We didn't want to turn anyone down that day so that weekend, the one before Christmas, our family got busy sewing and delivering bears.
It was rewarding to see some of the children's reactions. We received text messages with photos of children bonding with their new bears. It was humbling as a handful of friends generously donated extra money when they received their bears. Eliza was shocked (and thrilled!). She told one person that she felt like the Grinch. But first, she clarified:
"My heart wasn't two sizes too small to begin with. But each time we get a donation, I feel my heart grow bigger and bigger."
That Friday we sewed 15 bears. The next day we drove to Salt Lake. With the help of Nanna Teresa and Uncle Mike we were able to sew 18 more.
It became a labor of love. I really enjoyed the visiting that transpired as we worked. Surprising myself, I was not bothered that this was how we were spending our final weekend before Christmas. It was exactly what we should have been doing. We were working to support Eliza and help girls in Nepal obtain an education. It became our gift to the Savior.
And we managed to have some entertaining moments along the way.
After delivering all of the bears, we counted the money that was donated. We were blown away. Eliza raised $430.00. That's enough money to send eight girls to school!!
A few days before Christmas, Eliza and I delivered one final bear to our neighbor Miss Nancy. She was the one who introduced us to Bishnu. She is our connection to Choice Humanitarian and will ensure that the money earned will help these girls. The sun was setting as we went to her home. It was breathtaking. I felt like it was a manifestation from Heaven that our girl had done a very good thing.
"Mom," she began, "When I grow up, I want to be a humanitarian." Looking her in the eye, I smiled and said, "You already are one." And that is the truth.