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The Power of a Great Story

Reading books

You have, undoubtedly, seen the extraordinary movie, The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, which is based upon a true story.

The storyline features Michael Oher, “Big Mike,” who grows up in foster care with different families because of his mother’s drug addiction. Every time he is placed in a new home, he runs away.

One night, Leigh Anne (Bullock) and her husband Sean are watching their daughter play volleyball in the gym at Wingate Christian School. After the game, Sean notices Michael picking up leftover food on the bleachers.

Soon after, Leigh Anne sees “Big Mike” walking alone on a road, shivering in the cold because he doesn’t have adequate clothing. When Leigh Anne learns that he plans to spend the night huddled outside the closed school gym, she offers to let him sleep on her family’s couch.

Through a series of related events, “Big Mike” becomes part of the Tuohy family. With the help of Leigh Anne, he enrolls as a student at Wingate where he joins the football team. The family hires a special tutor to help him with his homework.

During his senior year, “Big Mike” is heavily recruited by many of the prestigious university football schools in the country. He chooses Ole Miss because “it’s where my family goes to school.”

Because of the investment of the Tuohy family, “Big Mike” is drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 National Football League Draft. He becomes one of the League’s premier offensive linemen.

In one poignant scene in the movie, Leigh Anne learns that “Big Mike” has never had anyone read a children’s book to him. In fact, he can barely read when he first comes to live with the Tuohys.

“Big Mike’s” plight without the intervention of the Tuohy family is similar to that of an African orphan until the child is sponsored by an American family.

Even after a child is sponsored, in order for the child to thrive, we have to create an environment that will encourage the child to grow.

One of the very helpful ways to create this environment of hope is to provide reading books for the children and youth in our African sponsorship ministry.

There are many important reasons why we should provide reading books for our kids. First, reading expands their vocabulary. While reading, our kids might come across words they have never heard, prompting them to find out what they mean.

Second, reading builds independence and self-confidence, which helps our kids make sense of the world around them. Third, reading leads to their future academic success.

And fourth, reading enhances the imagination of our kids by entertaining them. It gives them something good to do, especially when they start reading books with no pictures. They are forced to really stretch their imagination and get into the book.

Your gift of $35, $75, $150, $300, or whatever God puts upon your heart to give, will make it possible for us to place great reading books into the hands of our African kids.

Do you remember a particular book that caught your imagination when you were growing up?

I still remember discovering the book PT 109, by William Doyle, which chronicles the fascinating story of President John F. Kennedy’s naval service against the Japanese during World War II.

I was ten years of age at the time, and I found the book in the library of my elementary school. I couldn’t put it down.

As I read its pages, it was as if I was on that boat when it was sinking. I was marooned with Kennedy on that deserted island. I was swimming in the ocean with our future president to get help.

Let’s get good reading books into the hands of our African orphans and let them be captured by the power of a great story. Thanks in advance!

Grateful for you,

Bob Pearson
Founder and President