Telling Seth’s Story: One Team Leader’s Passion

Today we’d like to share a story with you written by Ashley Gosnell who recently led an America World Storyteller Mission Team to Gansu, China. We are so grateful for Ashley and her team, the amazing work they did while in China and are continuing to do now that they are back in the States. Ashley met a little boy named “Seth” who really captured her heart and her words below will both stir and captivate your heart:

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“I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of
Israel, the one who calls you by name.”
Isaiah 45:3

In a crib, in an orphanage, halfway around the world, sits a boy.  He's easy to miss, as he sits there quietly with his head bowed.  You might even pass him by, unless you took the time to look into his face, pick him up, hold him in your arms. At that moment, he becomes unforgettable.

This is what happened to me on Monday, October 19, 2015.  I walked into his room, going from crib to crib to speak to each child, to touch each child, to tell them that I saw them, that they mattered.  His was the last crib on the back row.  He sat so still, not making a sound.  All I could see was the back of his head, as he had it bowed down.  I reached out to stoke his head, never dreaming that I was about to lose my heart.  When I touched him, he raised his head up, and I saw his face for the first time, a face that radiated with joy and light.  I felt the presence of the Lord.  

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I was the only one on our team in this room.  The nannies spoke no English.  I spoke no Chinese.  There was no way for me to find out anything about him, not even whether he was a boy or a girl.  All I knew was that I had never been affected by anyone like I was at that moment by him.  

As the week went on, I spent every second I could with him.  He could not walk or talk or see, but to be with him was enough.  To hear the precious laughter flow from his beautiful lips when I tickled him.  To see his pure joy the first time I put his hand to my face, his delicate little fingers gently touching my eyes, my nose, my mouth, my hair, the fuzzy softness of my shirt.  It was like I was watching him “see” for the first time.  To let him run his hand down the wall as I carried him around the orphanage with me.  To experience his wonder as I carried him outside and he felt the crisp air on his cheeks.  

These were holy moments.

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I was continually crying out to the Lord for this precious baby boy. My heart was torn to shreds, knowing that I would leave in a few short days.  

“Lord, who will touch him?  Who will hold him?  

Who will sing to him and tell him that he is loved?”

“God, You have to give me some hope.  Show me, Lord, that You have a plan for him beyond his life in that small, dark crib.”

And He did.  

Up to this point, I had held little hope that the orphanage would allow him to be registered for adoption, because of his age and special needs.  But God had a plan for this precious one long before I arrived.  Through a set of circumstances, I discovered, much to my surprise, that he was actually already registered and available for adoption and had been for some time.  The orphanage told me that they were going to pull his adoption paperwork because he had been available for so long and no one had chosen him. 

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The orphanage staff agreed that if I could find him a family, they would reinstate his paperwork.  I requested that they allow him to be in the physical therapy program so that he could get stronger in the meantime, and they agreed to this as well.

As I held him on my lap one morning, I prayed that that the Lord would give me an English name for him to use when I shared his story.  In that very moment, the Lord whisper, “Seth,” but I wasn't sure it was from Him.  Not until I looked up the meaning of this name.  Seth means “appointed one.”  
This whole time I had been asking God, ”Why him?  Why this little boy out of so many beautiful precious children in this place?” 

Now I knew.  He was the appointed one for me.  
I was supposed to tell Seth's story.

So, I am telling it.  

This video of Seth on one of our last days together is such a treasure for me.  Words cannot adequately describe this amazing boy, but this video catches a glimpse of what I experienced with him. 

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This beautiful six-year-old boy needs a family.  This boy who has waited 5 years for someone to choose him needs to be chosen.  Seth, so full of life and light, whose laugh lights up the room, is the “treasure hidden in the darkness,” and he is waiting to be a son. 

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1 John 5:14-15 says:

“And this is the confidence we have towards Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”

Would you join me in crying out for Seth to the Lord, who is the ”Father to the fatherless?”  To the One who delights to set the lonely into families, that He may place Seth into a family soon?  

I believe He will hear and answer.

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If your family is interested in learning more about Seth, please contact our China team at or by phone at 800.429.3369 and our team would be happy to share more with your family. A family at any stage of the process is eligible to consider Seth’s adoption. We can also connect you with the team who met Seth so that you can learn more on their observations during their time at his orphanage. 


** Please help us find Seth’s forever family by sharing this with your network of friends and family


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