I haven’t written on my blog in a few months. I meant to. Started several posts even. But for one reason or another (a.k.a. It was summer and I was livin’ life, yo.) I never finished a post. And it was a bit refreshing not sitting in front of a computer to write or going back to over-edit something I should just publish.
I really enjoyed my first summer off as a teacher. I slept in (8:30 is sleeping in when you have a 4 year old). I got to spend my days with the bigs, LD and JD while they were here for a month during the summer. I read, baked, had picnics, watched JD teach his little sister AH how to fish and LD teach her little sister how to take selfies. The last part of my summer I was fortunate enough to spend in Nyahururu, Kenya on a mission trip.
Y’all. I don’t even have words to tell you how amazing it is there. The scenery alone is enough to renew your faith in God. I knew I would be a changed person. At least I prayed I would be.
A group of 25 of us were going to put on a children’s Bible conference at an amazing children’s home and boarding school. Roughly 350 kids attended, ages ranging from preschool up through about the age of 14.
Since being back home, I’ve talked about Kenya to anyone who asks about our trip or anyone who will let me. There’ve been a couple times when I’ve talked for a while about the kids we met at the orphanage, they stop me and say, “Well, did you see any cool wild animals?” And then I realize that a safari story about wild animals may have been more of what they had in mind.
I get to Africa and and I’m amazed that I’m even there. I can’t believe it’s even real. And then we get to the orphanage. I see these beautiful faces, their smiles, and I fall in love with them.
Each day when our bus arrives they run to greet us as if we’re long lost family instead of outsiders. So different from back home. In the US, if someone or something is different, too “out of the box,” we shy away from it. It’s out of our comfort zone. We don’t approach. Just like many hesitate to share the Gospel with people who don’t fit the description of “textbook Christians.”
But these kids are so welcoming. They walk right up to you and hold your hand, talk to you or touch your hair. Some ask you questions about where you’re from or what it’s like back home. One asked me if I had babies and if I knew where they were. Later, it dawned on me that as orphans, mothers may not know where their children are just as orphans don’t know where their parents are.
These kids don’t have iPhones. They don’t have American Girl Dolls or bicycles. (Some of the kids from the villages that came this week had never even seen swings before). Everything they own fits in a trunk. And yet they are grateful. They have joy. They have dreams of being pilots, teachers, doctors and pastors. Their joy isn’t the kind that is brought on by the newest toy or gadget or how many likes they got on Instagram or Facebook. It isn’t from all the shiny new gifts they get at Christmas. Their joy comes from things we take for granted but they see as blessings. Their joy comes from their faith in God and the hope that one day He will bless them with an opportunity, a way to make their dreams happen. Hope in the future.
I look at my own kids and I am so grateful. They are kissed each day, told they are loved, tucked into warm beds and go to sleep knowing they are cared for. They belong to a family, blended as it may be.
These sweet babies…
Who tucks them in at night? Are they warm? Who tells them they love them each and every day?
This orphanage (and the amazing people who run it) instills hope in them. Teaches them their lives can be changed by The Lord. I hope our being here to serve them, to love them, and to pray for them lets them know that God has not forgotten them; they belong, they are His.