some hope for the road

i’m not exactly sure how to put into words all that i am feeling today. this was the day we had to say goodbye to our kids at both orphanages. this week has been an experience i will never forget. we started our day at africa greater life, where we went to church with the kids there. it was very hard to keep my eyes open. in case you didn’t know, african church services are very long with lots of singing. it was an amazing passion filled service, but by the end of a week of work and playing with children, a 3 hour service would be hard for anyone to stay awake. the higlight of the service me sitting in between Fred and Resty while they showed me the bibles they got the day before. they asked me to write notes to them, which i ended up telling them how special they were and how much God and i loved them. they both looked up and me with huge smiles and eyes lit up. Fred then wrote, “the person who gave me this bible is called Lauren and God loves me” in the front cover. it was such a sweet moment. we then got to spend a half an hour with the kids to talk, play, and say our goodbyes. i ended up hanging out with Resty, who wanted to show me her bed one more time. her and the girls in her room had decorated their beds and were so proud of them. each took turns showing me their beds and all the presents they received that week. i then got a few moments with her where Resty told me she had 4 sisters and 1 brother, but her brother died. she then wouldn’t talk anymore about it and we just sat and held hands for the rest of our time. we said goodbye and got on the bus and headed to caring heart.
at caring heart we got to throw a huge birthday party for the kids. their faces were so bright, some of them couldn’t stop smiling. it’s amazing how a simple celebration that we can take for granted can mean so much to a child who never gets to have one. it brought me to tears to see the kids wearing their burger king crowns knowing that today they are extra special because we are celebrating the fact that they were born, that God created them, and he loves them just as they are.
i then got to spend the rest of my time with my girl Sonya. she’s 5 and just beautiful. her eyes smile way before she does, and when she does smile she can light up the room. she would never leave my side anytime we were at caring heart. the language was, unfortunately, a slight barrier but it was enough to just hang out and play together. before i left she asked me for my address so she could write me. we siad goodbye and headed home.
it’s never easy to say goodbye to kids you’ve gotten to spend an entire week with in such an intense atmosphere, but i feel hopeful. these kids do not have much but they have people here in their own villages who care for them and love them very much. in a way, it’s a little more comforting to leave knowing that we are leaving them in good hands. heck, the entire village showed up and celebrated the children receiving beds at caring heart. i’m still sorting throught everything tonight, but that’s how i feel right now. hopeful. these kids are bright and beautiful and the hold so much hope and love inside them already. i trust that God is taking care of them and will keep providing for them.]]>