Did you hear about the fourteen-year-old, Laura Montero, whose appendix burst while she and her family vacationed on a cruise ship off the Baja Coast? Because the ship was hundreds of miles from help, the crew sent out a distress call looking for the nearest surgical unit. The USS Ronald Reagan, which was about 500 miles away, answered the call. Training exercises for the carrier with a 6000-person capacity came to a halt. At 2.5 million dollars per each operational day, the ship steamed 250 miles through the night to get within helicopter transport range. Laura was airlifted on board and doctors performed the life-saving surgery.

What a story! The first thing I thought was those are going to be some hefty medical bills! No, I'm kidding. The first thing I thought was this: maybe it isn't so difficult to understand, after all, the lengths Christ went through to save each of us, individually, all by ourselves. Sorry for the redundancy, but it can be a hard concept to understand — our individual worth to the God who knows billions of human hearts.

I imagined how Laura felt upon awakening from the operation. Maybe she experienced astonishment at so many, at such expense, acting to save her life. Perhaps she felt sheepish: who am I to be the recipient of such lavish thought and attention and resources? In her position, I would feel those things. But, looking at it from the outside, what happened seems natural.

Though the sailors aboard the naval carrier didn't know Laura, I would venture saying that saving her life gave them a joy which they will never forget, and will more than likely remain a highlight in their lives. In fact, the recognition of the value of one life and the willingness to take Herculean effort to preserve it is what makes this whole event so noteworthy.

As followers of Jesus, we know the value of a single human being and it's gratifying to see that concept unfold in "real" life among people who may or may not be Christian, but nevertheless are created in His image. Who among us in the Heartlight family, with the ability to help, would not have answered the distress call to save Laura? Can we possibly imagine our Lord, who knows us to the hairs on our heads, would do less for us?

Laura's family was grateful for the speed of the USS Reagan's response and for everything they did. Her mother told reporters: "It was beyond words. It was like the whole world just lifted off my shoulders." This is how many people describe the moment they come to Christ. As for me, my goal is to redirect astonishment at His graciousness and my sheepishness at not deserving it, to live with increased thankfulness.

There is a final connection this story brings to me. Our Compassion Child, Satish, has expressed wonder and thankfulness of our sponsorship of him. It humbles us. Helping him is relatively simple — we don't have to change the course of ships and spend millions. Satish reminds us of the impact small gestures can make. There are many who reach across wide waters to answer the distress calls of children in abject poverty. Who among us with the ability to help, wouldn't answer?

Join us in "reaching across the distance" to help! Learn more about sponsoring a child with Compassion by checking out:

Find out more about the Uganda effort for children at the Compassion & Uganda info page and follow along next week in Heartlight as we document this historic trip.

Phil Ware, President of Heartlight.org, is going to Uganda with Compassion along with a number of other bloggers and Internet types. Please be part of the prayer team that prays for this trip. You can sign up by going to the bottom of response list and leaving your name and a prayer by going to this web address:

For more on the Uganda trip with Compassion International, check out Phil's blog information: