It was a beautiful moment.
A sweet, young girl who had recently lost her father, got the opportunity to pet and interact with her favorite animal-a zebra.
A few months earlier at church, the Holy Spirit put it on my heart to ask her what her favorite animal was and without hesitation she said “zebra”.
I promised her she would meet a zebra and here it was two months later and thanks to Donna McDonald of Jasper that was getting to happen. It was the first of several of what we call “Wild Wishes” that my wife and I through our ministry, Children’s Kingdom Ministries have been able to grant.
“Wild Wishes” grants exotic animal encounters to children who have a terminal illness or have lost a parent or sibling. It’s a way of letting the Creation be a gateway to healing wounds, some of them very deep.
We have dedicated every bit of time, energy and finance outside of our jobs (mine at TFG and hers as a teacher) to working with children on behalf of the Lord. It’s our passion and life’s mission and it started with my grandmother.
The late Ruby Pickard, founded an organization called My Wish Inc. in 1982 to grant wishes to terminally ill children in Southeast Texas. At eight years old, I accompanied her on that first wish where a little boy who simply asked for an American flag to fly over his home in Mauriceville.
That had a huge impact because at the time I would asked for something extravagant like a live elephant or the entire Star Wars merchandise collection but here was a boy my age with leukemia wanting a humble flag. That event and being able to see her give so many children happiness birthed a heart for kids even while I was one.
“Wild Wishes” is important to us because it is a means of giving hope and at Christmas this is something I want you to think about.
How much hope is out there in the world?
How much hope is out there in the news, in popular culture and on social media?
If you can find any, please let me know.
If you know someone who is hurting or maybe a child who has suffered or loss or is experiencing a sickness, reach out and offer help. Give hope.
We granted a wolf related wish to a wonderful little boy suffering from a form of cancer (now in remission!) thanks to our friends at Exotic Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo as well as my friend David Cleaver and his wolf dog “Lucy”.
What it about is letting kids have some kind of safe, fun encounter with wildlife that they might not realize is possible. Who would think there are zebras in Jasper, TX for example?
Well, there are and our sweet friend got to meet one of them.
I’m a little uncomfortable writing about the charitable work Lisa and I do because it is certainly not about us. It’s about He who sent us and the wonderful kids we work with whether it be at our Education Center, on a field trip with kids or on a “Wild Wish”. It’s also exciting to honor my grandmother by in a way continuing her work that blessed more than 250 kids in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. A few days before I wrote this, our team had the privilege of ministering to 13 kids from Buckner’s Children’s Home.
They got to see and meet a bunch of reptiles, amphibians, arachnids and mammals and spend a day in a fun, loving, faith-filled environment. It was our fourth event with Buckner for the year and reminded me that even the smallest of things matters to a child.
One little girl couldn’t help but laugh that our rat “Rita” is hairless. I’m used to the fact she was born that way but seeing that beautiful smile at such a simple and admittedly silly-looking creature serves as inspiration to keep doing this and take it to new levels.
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Everything we do is made possible with donations. We appreciate everyone who helps make “Wild Wishes” come true.
Chester Moore, Jr.