In Isaiah 11:6 there is a prophesy about the birth of Jesus, “a little child shall lead them.” A humble baby was the form God used to teach the world the way of salvation. I believe God often uses children to teach us His lessons today also.
So it is with the story of Rachel Beckwith. Her life can teach us the ways of Christ. Rachel was a giving child from and early age. At 5 years old, she heard about an organization called Locks of Love, a charity that takes donations of human hair from donors and creates wigs for people who have lost their own hair because of cancer or other diseases. Rachel unselfishly had her own hair cut off and sent to Locks of Love. Learning how it added dignity to a suffering person’s life, she grew her hair out for a few years and donated it again!
Then when she was 8 years old, her church began raising money to build wells in Africa through an organization called charity:water. Rachel couldn’t believe it when she learned that many children in Africa had no clean water. She didn’t just feel bad, she acted. She acted by giving up her ninth birthday party. She gave friends and family a special request. Instead of giving her presents, would they donate $9 each to charity:_water for water projects in Africa. She sent up a birthday page for donations at the charity:water website. In her own words recorded on the page, she let’s us know she hoped to raise $300.
I first heard of this type of campaign at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. I thought, “What an idea!” A kid giving up their birthday presents to give a drink of water to a child. It sound like Jesus to me. (Mark 9:41).
Rachel’s 9th birthday was June 12, 2011. She had her donation site set up and told her friends. Unfortunately she only raised $220. She was a little disappointed but the story doesn’t end there.
ON July 20, Rachel was with her family riding in a car when two trucks collided to create a 13-car pileup. Their car was hit and Rachel was left in critically condition. The rest of her family was unhurt.
Church members and friends, seeking some way of showing support, began donating on Rachel’s birthday page — charitywater.org/Rachel.
Her family and friends told Rachel at her bedside—not knowing whether she could hear them — that she had exceeded the $47,544 that the singer Justin Bieber had raised for charity:water on his 17th birthday.
When it was clear that Rachel would never regain consciousness, the family decided to remove life support. Her parents donated her hair one final time to Locks of Love, and her organs to other children.
After her passing, news began to spread about Rachel’s last fund-raiser. Donations poured in, often in $9 increments, from all over the world. So far her website has raised over $1 Million dollars for clean water in Africa! This outpouring is explained this way:
Scott Harrison, the founder of charity:water said,
“Adults are humbled by the unselfishness of this little girl.”
Rachel’s mom is planning a trip on the anniversary of her daughter’s death next year to see some of the wells being drilled in Africa in her daughter’s name. She said.
“It’ll be overwhelming to see Rachel’s wells, to see what my 9-year-old daughter has done for people all over the world, to meet the people she has touched.”
Lord may we all learn the lesson of unselfish activism from this one child’s sacrifice.
If you’d like to give to Rachel’s last birthday wish go to: http://mycharitywater.org/Rachel/