November 13, 2019
Every person who has felt the harsh heat of the blistering African sun or experienced a sweltering hot July day in the U.S. knows the difference that shade can make. Shade provides a cool escape from the sun’s rays, a refuge from the heat, a place of refreshing and rest. For people with albinism in Tanzania, shade carries even greater significance, even to being a matter of life and death. For people with albinism, shade is essential to their health and safety, protecting them from the sun’s dangerous rays which cause terrible sores, burns, and skin cancers on their unprotected skin and damage to their sensitive eyes. The mission of our organization is to provide both physical and spiritual shade to children with albinism.
The inspiration for the name “Shade” came out of Psalm 121. Verses 5 and 6 of Psalm 121 declare, “The LORD Himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.” We believe that God Himself is the Defender and Protective Shade of children with albinism in Tanzania. This theme is echoed again in Isaiah 25:4, “For You have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”
Even as God Himself is the protective shade of these children along with that we have the privilege and responsibility of partnering with God to provide shade for the outcasts and the least of these. Isaiah 16:3 urges us: “Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive.”
But it is not only our dream to provide shade for children with albinism; we also have a vision that they themselves would become shade. In a parable in Mark, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard, “which, though the smallest of all seeds, grows and becomes the tallest tree in the garden and puts out large branches, so the birds of the air can make nests in its shade” (Mark 4:30-32). In the same way, our vision is that these children, who are considered so small and insignificant by their own culture, would inherit the kingdom of God and grow up into oaks of righteousness that provide shade and refuge to others.