I was in tears. As I read it I was there. I saw what she described. I felt what she was overwhelmed with. I just cried that deep gut cry for the "forgotten" people who pray daily for God to SHOW HIMSELF.
Anyway, it got me to thinking. What if every day when we woke up, instead of thinking of our day, thinking of our worries, and what we "needed", and of me me me me me.....what if every day we woke up and asked God to show us where he can use us to be an answer to someone's prayer that day. What if every day we did that?
Now THAT would be change. POWERFUL change.
Read on.....I'm praying it moves you as it moved me.
Friends and Family,
I thought I would share some experiences and reflections I've had here in Africa. Thanks for everyone's prayers for safety and growth! I am having a blast adventuring and growing here!
Today was my second day volunteering at the orphanage. The sickness, dirtiness and seeming hopelessness of the children made me feel uncomfortable and I was not really even able to enjoy the experience the first time we went. So, before I went today, I prayed that I would be able to see the kids as God sees them, and that he would fill in where I lack knowledge and ability so that I could make a difference despite my imperfection.
I walked into the orphanage (Nysambia Baby's Home) and a child ran up to me and jumped into my arms. All anxiety or uneasiness left me completely and I immediately felt at home. It was little Patrick that found me first. He is one of the older children in the home (there are currently 26).
Next, I picked up a little boy they have not yet named, since he just arrived at the home on Saturday. This child is adorable. His face remains almost completely emotionless unless you gently toss him up in the air--then, he laughs or sends out a little squeal, then immediately reaches out for my neck and holds on tight. He is so sweet and as I sat on the wooden bench overlooking the filthy play yard, I held him tight and tried to squeeze any love I had in my body into his. It was then time for breakfast, and he was given his half of a white dinner roll with butter and a small cup of juice. I was sitting next to him at this point (the Mama (as the orphanage workers are called) asked me to put him down while he ate) and I couldn't help but keep my arm around him. Crumbs, butter, juice and dirt were smeared all over my pants, and his nose had run accross each of the tops of my shoulders, but I didn't care at all. What a precious gift to be able to sit there holding this small baby in my arms and watching his excited smile as he went flying up, then reached for me on his way back down.
Later on, I found a little girl named Audrey. She is often fussy and doesn't like to be held, but after playing with her a little, she would fuss and reach up towards me until I would pick her up. Before I knew it, I was holding her, walking around the play yard, stroking her back and head while she slept. As I paced the yard, I looked around. The yard is surrounded on one side by a small step up--maybe 6 feet up. Up on that little rise, gray smoke from a trash-burning pile rose into the air; clothes lines holding brightly covered fabric stood still against the pale blue-grey afternoon sky. I looked down at my shoes, stained red from the Ugandan dirt, and in that moment I felt like I was in a dream. I couldn't believe I was standing there in an orphanage in Uganda with this precious baby girl sleeping on my shoulder. I could never have imagined that that would be me if you asked me 5 years ago. If there is anything God isn't, its predictable.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to see and hold and love these children--if even for a few, short weeks. They are God's beloved, and I feel how much He treasures them as I look into each of their eyes. Working in this place feels like working on sacred ground. I feel so richly blessed with this experience.
Today, I read Psalm 42. As I read this Psalm I couldn't help but echo the cries of a Ugandan girl here, Monica. I, in my naiivety and hope borne not from personal suffering, I told her, "God loves the people in Uganda, and regardless of how hard things seem, He can bring change and restoration." Her eyes looked sad as she replied, "We pray for God to save our country. People are dying and are stuck in poverty. We pray that God will save our country, our people, but when?"
I believe there is a hope for these orphans that lies in our Almighty God, but still, my soul cries out with Monica's--"When?!"
One of the most precious moments in my life took place today when I was holding the baby that has not yet been named by man (though he is surely known by name by God). I laid him on my lap facing me, I held his head in my hands and I hummed "Jesus Loves Me" to him--just loud enough for him to hear. That moment was a gift, and I'll never forget it.
My love and blessings to you all!