TING: To Truly Listen
Do you LISTEN with your heart?
Do you LISTEN with your heart?
Aliyah: To ascend, to go up towards God
Ya-Ting: To listen with your heart
James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Tonight, as I write this article, I am crying as I try to gather my thoughts about everything I want to say. My heart is moved by the story of how two girls’ friendship is now changing the life of a third little girl all the way across the world.
Many of you may know my sister, Ellianna Ya-Ting. She is the namesake of Ting Ministries. Those who take the time to know Ellianna, really take the time, know that she has a heart like Paddington the bear. A lovable spirit that always sees the best in others, and never assumes anyone is angry, and is always ready to help.
But many people don’t ever see that part of Ellianna. Just like people find it strange that Paddington is a bear, most people only see Ellianna’s deafness, cerebral palsy, and learning disability. They miss out on the joy, finding Ellianna “too different” to be a friend.
“Of course you don’t [want Paddington here]. You never have! As soon as you set eyes on [him] you made up your mind about him. Well Paddington’s not like that. He looks for the good in all of us and somehow, he finds it! It’s why he makes friends wherever he goes. And it’s why Windsor Gardens is a happier place whenever he’s around. He wouldn’t hesitate if any of us needed help!” From, “Paddington 2”
Ellianna and Aliyah used to go to the same school. Aliyah always thought it was cool that Ellianna was adopted from Taiwan. They were best friends! While many kids argued over who would sit next to Ellianna, or help Ellianna play at recess, it was Aliyah who Ellianna loved the most. Aliyah didn’t see Ellianna’s disabilities. Aliyah loved Ellianna for who she is. As their friendship grew, little did Ellianna know that she was teaching Aliyah one of the most important lessons you can learn.
Ellianna taught Aliyah how to listen with her heart. God used their friendship to prepare Aliyah’s heart for another little girl, also from Asia, who also has a disability…
In March, Aliyah’s family had the opportunity to travel to Thailand. There, they met a Christian mom, Upin, and her daughter, Air. Air used to be a healthy girl, until she received an injection for epilepsy in her spine, that left her paralyzed. Air reminded Aliyah of her friendship with Ellianna. God laid it on Aliyah’s heart to help Air get a wheelchair, make their home wheelchair-accessible, and help with medical and therapy costs.
Pictured: Where Upin and Air live
Aliyah would like to raise $5,000 USD to help Air and her family. While most 11-year-olds are concerned about clothes, the latest cellphone or video games, or being popular, Aliyah is following the Lord’s command: to visit orphans and widows in their distress…”
Read Aliyah’s letter about Air below.
James 2:115-17 “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
I find it fitting that both Ellianna and Aliyah are doing what their names say about them. As Ellianna taught Aliyah to listen with her heart, Aliyah is now following God’s Word, moving up towards God and making a tangible difference in the world. I know the Lord is going to use Aliyah in big ways.
As Ellianna’s sister, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:27-28:
“And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world,things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”
In the eyes of the world, perhaps even your own, Ellianna is nothing important. But perhaps she is closer to God’s heart than any of us.
I pray we are all moved to action by the friendship of these two girls to remember the words of 1 Timothy 4:12, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers…”
Written by: Natalya “Sasha” Carpenter
If you would like to help Aliyah be Jesus’ Hands and Feet on Earth for Air and Upin you can: