We pulled up to orphanage today and the children were in the middle of play. They looked up and saw us coming and they ran down the hill to meet us, screaming and cheering. In point 2 seconds flat my heart was in my eyes. They were standing so close to the door of the bus that we barely had enough room to get off. We all started to reach out to touch hands with the kids and say hello and well…..they didn’t let go. Everywhere we walked we had two or three kids holding our hands on each side. They took us to the pavilion where they welcomed us and sang for us, and lead us in worship. It was unbelievable!!! This little boy named Abraham lead the other children in singing, and they sang, “I won’t beg for bread, I won’t beg for food.” And although I didn’t catch every word because it wasn’t all in English, I have every confidence that they were singing about their trust in the Lord. Watching the kids faces as they sang, made me wonder if I truly know what trusting the Lord is all about.
The first child to attach to me was Esther. She didn’t let go of me at all and she’s only been at the orphanage a month. I was in love instantly! She kept looking at my hands, while I held her. She would feel of the front of my hands and then turn them over and look at the other side.
We toured the orphanage and I was amazed. The first room we saw was the administration room, very small, and very minimal supplies. Some donated books. The classrooms were extremely bare. The first dorm room we saw had 25 beds in it and it slept 65 girls. The next dorm room was much the same. We saw the boys dorm room and many of them shared beds too, but many of theirs were on the floor. They are just foam mattresses on the floor. This is something we knew before we arrived but to see it was something different. To put faces on the facts was….well, I just don’t have the words. The way I teared up when they came running down the hill, I decided to stick a tissue in my pocket would be beneficial. I kept dabbing at my eyes all through the afternoon and one of the girls with me, Delphine, asked me what was wrong with my eyes. I told her that they were just happy. Her smile was precious and confirmed her understanding.
We are all so tired, it is unbelieveable. London was great, but I was almost too tired to see it. We saw the highlights. (smile) The ride out to the orphanage is very rough. There are times when I just close my eyes, and hope that we don’t hit what is coming at us. This has unintentionally provided a bit a humor for some of the team members. I first sat on the front seat of the bus to keep from getting car sick, however I was very unprepared for the crazy way everyone drives. And there are people everywhere. I wasn’t always worried about hitting other vehicles, sometimes it was people. At one point Rachel and I talked about the fact that we will be sore from being beat to death on the ride, and from simply trying to stay in our seats. I fell asleep today on a shorter subdued portion of the ride home and was quickly awaken when my face hit the seat in front of me. This is actually a matter of a prayer request for some of the team members (myself included) because of the car sickness that comes from this jolting ride that takes us from the house to the orphanage and back. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes one way, so it is quite a bit of jolting.
I was prepared for some of what we have experienced and not prepared for some. I keep reciting a verse that we are teaching to the kids this week – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, Phillipians 4:13. And it has never had the meaning that is has today. May we continue to decrease as Christ increases.
Oh and hi to Brandon and the kids. I love you and miss you!