Showinghopetochina's Blog

James 1:27

So long, Mzungus!! July 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — showinghopetochina @ 8:38 pm

so after my blog post yesterday…things really went downhill here. We cannot decide if a stomach virus circled through room 11 at Gately on the Nile…or if it was a bad reaction to the food we ate at the roadside restaurant called ‘Try and Trust’. I will spare the details but lets just say, we tried and we do NOT trust. Little David got the worst of everyone and for a little while it was pretty touch and go. We were afraid that we would be visiting a Ugandan hospital but thank God, we met up with a nurse here at the hotel from Texas and she was here during research on infectious diseases and was able to get us some medicine for David. Overnight, it seemed like a miracle…he was the same ol’ David when he woke up this morning and kept us all on our toes, running around all day. We were truly grateful for the divine placement of the Dr and always recognize that there are no accidental meetings.

All that to say, there was not much excitement for us as far as ‘African adventure’ goes yesterday….unless you want to classify the ‘Try and Trust’ as an adventure…

However, today we got to partake in 2 of the most endearing parts of Africa, its beauty and its children. We began our day by visiting Ekisa. It is a small, special needs orphanage run by a 21 year old girl named Emily with a passion for the overlooked and abandoned. As you can imagine, pulling up and seeing the faces here for the first time, left an instant impression on my heart. We were greeted by 3 boys about the age of 7, one suffering from CP, one an unidentified need and the other with such severe burns on the right side of his body that it was difficult to look at. We were told that his mother had thrown something on him to burn him and then he was abandoned. Walking onto the porch, I was immediately drawn to a little boy sitting with his ‘auntie’ (African nanny). He was propped up against her with an instantly recognizable disability. After falling in love with Theo, I can’t imagine that I could ever walk past a child with hydracephalus without stopping to touch him/her and let them know how special they are. He looked up and reached out to shake my hand, asking me how I was. His speech was not clear but I could make out what he was saying. His head is so huge that it undoubtably weighs much more than the rest of his body, filled with fluid that will never go away. He told me that his name was ‘Arafat’. His nanny told me he was about 8 years old. When you see pictures, you will see how shocking this is. We played for a while and he would keep saying ‘Oh my goodness’ over and over again….it was hilarious. We laughed and he sang and then he kept saying ‘I love you’. It is always so amazing how forgiving and open children can be. How does a child know who to trust and who to love after being neglected and abandoned? Yet, this precious little boy so freely was ready to give love. I can’t help but believe it is because these children are the truest and purest form of angels. I feel closest to God when I am holding them. I feel how thin the vail between heaven and earth is. I have felt this 4 times now, with a little boy named Jacob at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. With a little boy named Timothy at the Home of Loving Faithfulness in Hong Kong. Most famously with a little boy named Theo at Maria’s Big House of Hope in Luoyang China. And today, with little Arafat at Ekisa in Uganda Africa. What a journey God has taken me on. I never know if I will see them again this side of heaven. But I do hope that when that day comes, that God will grant me the gift of seeing them all healed and running and full in His glory. If there is no earthly reward for loving the least, surely that must be it, when we can all SEE!

There were others,  little Jojo, 4 years old with Downs Syndrome and HIV. Rachel who had polio as a baby and left unable to walk. Joshua who is so new to Ekisa that they have been unable to diagnose him. Zeke, 8, and joyful….with the sweet spirit that seems to be typical with children who have Downs. As close as I feel to God when I have the opportunity to spend time with these incredible children, it is so hard to try and comprehend why there is so much suffering. I go to bed tonight burdened by this thought. Again, wondering why it is always so heavy on my heart. It just never seems like I have enough time to give everything I have to them.

I honestly didn’t mean to go off on all of that. I had planned on just writing briefly to wrap up this indescribable mission. I guess since it is the last night of the trip, it would be difficult not to feel reflective. We spent the afternoon sightseeing at the Nile River. I don’t think I ever thought I would be standing at the Nile River. Its one of those places you read about in 7th grade geography but never really think about going. I’m thankful to be able to see another part of the world.

I feel that the past 17 days have just been a preview. A glimpse of the incredible things that God is doing in Africa…a taste of future opportunity that I may be given to be the Hands and Feet here. Have no doubt that my heart is always in China but I am more than open to being brought back here as well. This children have left a handprint on my heart.

When we drive through the streets of Africa with the windows down, the children all look at us. I don’t think it is a frequent ocurrance for a vanload of white people to travel some of these dirt roads. They line up, waving to us and shouting ‘Mzungu! Mzungu!’. That’s what they call white people here! I think its pretty comical. I hope that as we travel to the airport tomorrow evening, we will see them saying ‘So long Mzungu!’ I also pray that we will see the children of Africa again soon.

Pray for us as we travel home!

Love from Africa!…for the last time…for now

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Leaving Behind Pieces July 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — showinghopetochina @ 10:45 am

I guess its been a week since I have been able to sit down and write. Between power outages, travel and keeping up with three children, there is not a lot of time left for reflection. Last Sunday, Candace spoke at several different churches. It was really interesting to see how worship and fellowship looked in Africa. The people were very responsive to her testimony and it is always humbling to listen to her story of loss used for God’s glory.

The original plan was to head to Uganda on Sunday evening. We said goodbye to Peter and his incredible family. His 2 year old daughter, Joy, and David cried and hugged and loved on each other as they were dropping us off at the airport. We entered the airport and as some of you may know, international travel within the foreign country is torture. Our flight was at 11 pm, we arrived at the airport at 8. There are 10 people in our group with about 20 some odd pieces of luggage. Let me preface the rest of this story by saying DON’T EVER EVER FLY ON KENYA AIRWAYS! We were informed at the check in desk that they had decided to downsize our plane and that only 2 of us would be able to go on to Uganda that night. We quickly decided that the best option would be to wait and go together in the morning. After about 90 minutes of Candace attempting to deal with Kenya airways about hotel vouchers and making sure that we could get boarding passes for our flight the next morning, we were not getting anywhere with Kenya airlines and Candace decided to use our travel insurance so that we could stay at a nice hotel. We went to the Intercontinental, arriving close to 1 am (long after we would have been in Uganda). We had hot showers, a good meal, a heavenly glass of wine, and a wonderful night’s sleep. We got up and went to attempt our flight again. We got on and about 20 minutes into our flight, word got around that our luggage was not on the flight b/c they needed to use the weight for fuel. Upon arrival in Uganda, we dealt with customs and stood in an hour long line for lost baggage. We were told to come back around 11 that night. Stepping out into Uganda was an eyeopening experience. UN forces were incredibly visible on the ground and men with machine guns were present everywhere. I will admit, I was pretty scared. We were met by our Ugandan contacts (Pastor Fred and Fred 2). As we drove through Uganda, the poverty that we saw was overwhelming. Men were target shooting with machine guns in their front yard. It felt like something from a movie. We went back to the airport at 11 to get our bags….however, mine did not make it. I cannot put into words how disgusting I was, but I’m sure you can imagine. We arrived at the guesthouse we stayed in for the week…and there was no electricity or hot water. We wiped off with baby wipes, I put back on my dirty clothes and I laid in bed thinking about how much I would pay for a cold beer.

We began our day Tuesday by visiting Pastor Fred’s Restoration Home. It is a ministry of Wakiso Baptist Church, started about 1996, as a refuge for girls who have been abandoned or abused, many of them orphaned by war and HIV. 16 girls currently live there in a room comparable to a small dorm room. All 16 in one room. They work hard to earn money to pay for their own education. They walk long dirt roads to a well where they carry 50 pound containers of water back to their ‘home’. These circumstances are so unfamiliar to us but these girls stood proudly where they lived, showing us their way of life. They take care of each other, so grateful to be ‘safe’ from the situations from which they came. One of Candace’s main focuses of this trip was to see the Restoration House as she begins to pray about what her ministry can do to improve the living arrangements of these precious, young survivors. It is so difficult to sufficiently describe any of this to you with words, b/c the sights and smells are so unique and real. I can’t wait to put my pictures online so that you can get a glimpse of how these stories really look.

After leaving the Restoration House, we visited Wakiso School and Saint Elizabeth’s School. One of the most significant observations that I have been able to make about the African people is how much they value education. Other than their faith in God and their belief in Jesus Christ (which is profoundly devout and sincere), the most important thing to them is their education. Of course, kids are kids no matter where you go. That is one of the most beautiful things I have learned as I have traveled. But for these children to be able to overcome whatever circumstances they have grown up in, and go to school everyday, and laugh with their friends and have the perseverance to strive to get to ‘University’, well its just truly remarkable.

Staying at the guest house, we have gotten to interact with Steven, a young man, aged 24. The owner of the house took him off the street several years ago and gave him a job and put a roof over his head. He is an incredible servant to those who stay there and has a heart for people. But late at night and early in the morning, you can find him sitting at the kitchen table, by candlelight, working on his homework. Steven is 24 and in the 8th grade. He works hard to pay for his upcoming exams which will allow him to enter the next level of schooling. A man in our group brought him an English workbook and during his time off, he sat pouring over the rules of the English language. His dedication to providing a better life for himself was and is inspiring. It is difficult for a teacher who struggles to excite children about learning to watch this. If only my students knew what they have…..or what their life could be like.

Wednesday morning began with the arrival of my suitcase! It was a joyous reunion. I felt a little silly being so concerned with where my things were…but I’m not gonna lie, I wanted clean clothes and my toothbrush!! We ran general errands and then decided to take the afternoon to go shopping. I LOVE international shopping. Most of you know that I am a true pro as navigating the Chinese markets and bargaining with the locals. However, I just didn’t have it in my heart here. While I usually just bargain for sport, how could I spend time arguing over 2 dollars after seeing the dire situations of the people in this country? So….I supported the Ugandan economy and bought some pretty fantastic prizes.

Thursday we visited the Watoto Children’s Village. Wow. I shared the link on my facebook page and it is definitely worth reading about. We visited 2 campuses. One houses about 950 orphans and the second houses 1500. The children are in homes, 6 to a home, with a housemother who cares for them. They attend school at the village and there is a clinic on each campus for medical care. As I spend my time keeping up with David, we often fall behind the group. Falling behind this time, I realized that he and I were quickly gaining a group of our own. About 30 children were following David and I across the campus, one reaching to hold my hand. This is when I met ‘Doctor’. I asked him his name and thought it was strange but I just called him Doctor then. He said he was 2 but I think he was more likely 4. He followed David and I around, playing with David, and asking me to pick him up. I gladly carried him around, showing him the same kind of love that comes so naturally for me as I love the little ones in China…loving the least is a truly Universal calling. I spoke with one of the directors and I had to ask why this little boy was called ‘Doctor’. He told me that it was because his housemother thinks he is so smart and he loves school so much that she tells him he will grow up to be a doctor…so now, that’s what he calls himself. I would love to know what his life holds for him. I was so impressed with this community and the campus and how this organization is reaching a nation to provide orphan care….it would not surprise me if I go home and begin to research how I could serve there for a summer.

We had no set plans for Friday but had heard that there was an orphanage that we could visit on an island in Lake Victoria. So……we got on a boat. And I nearly had a panic attack. I actually don’t even know if we could call it a boat. The guy ‘driving’ it said ‘Don’t worry, it takes on water, but not too much’. It sure did. We seriously scooped water out while we were crossing the lake. I did not love the boat ride. But it was so worth it when we got there. Again, David and I were behind the main group. They had all gone up to the clinic to take a look and when we reached the porch, I had about 20 some African orphans following me. I didn’t know how much English they knew but I asked them if they could sing and they said yes.. So I sat on the porch of the clinic and they surrounded me and we all sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ together…a sweet sweet sound that I will remember all my life. As it always seems to go with me and children, one in particular grabbed my heart. She climbed into my lap and started touching my face. She looked me in the eyes and said ‘I love you, Madame’ (that’s what they call women here). I asked her her name and she told me it was Victoria,  I asked her her age and she looked at me and said ‘I don’t know’. That broke my heart……she doesn’t know how old she is but I’m sure she knows much more about life than I ever will. We continued to walk around BEathany Children’s Home, Victoria in my arms, and I asked the director if these children ever get adopted. He said ‘oh we have babies if you would like to see them’ and I said ‘no, I mean children like Victoria’. He responded that ‘It is acceptable but  not as much as babies’. Sad, sad reality. I wanted to get on that boat with Victoria and come home. It was time to leave and she would not let me go. She said in her quiet little voice ‘oh you’re leaving’. I cried…more than a little. I should know by now that I leave a little piece of me with each orphan that I hold.

Saturday we left the guest house ( taking both Freds and 2 of the girls from the Restoration House) and traveled to Jinja. The girls, Victoria and Becky, had been staying with us and caring for us while we were at the guest house. They were excited to go to Jinja because they had never been in a hotel before. And we are at a beautiful hotel on the Nile River as we are ending our trip. Unfortunately, Candace, the kids and I have stayed inside all day after being up all night with many stomach bugs…these little ones are sick, but troopers. We are resting and processing as we wrap up this incredible experience. Tomorrow we will visit Akisa, an orphanage for special needs kids…inevitably, a heart-wrenching day.

I know that when I get home this week, and I try to settle back into American life, people will ask me ‘Do you like Africa better than China?’ Seeing another part of the world has opened my eyes to the fact that its not about what part of the world I am in, its about the children around me as I am there. My heart is where the plight of the orphan is. I want to be with them, showing them love that they don’t know and learning more from them than they would ever know that they are teaching me. I know that this is the part of me that humbly does the work of Jesus. He said ‘Let the little children come to me’….as I walk the streets of Uganda and look behind at the children who follow me, I am reminded of these words and that Jesus has called all of us to care for these children. I will admit that each time I pick one up, I am reminded of Theo and flooded with thankfulness for all that I have learned from him. He opened my heart up to loving all of them freely. It hurts. It hurts every time I say good bye to one of them. It hurts every time I can’t be with him. But when I hold any of these children, I cant help but feel like I am holding him. I know that I will come home and deal with more struggles about what all of this means for me, and I guess that’s just part of my ongoing journey. But my heart is filled with gratitude and a new awareness and the realization that I will obviously be leaving some of it behind.

 

Love from Africa

 

Hakuna Matata July 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — showinghopetochina @ 8:54 am

I am so relieved to finally have access to a computer! The modern conveniences from home…and even China are not so much the case where I am right now. Trying to type on my nook left me looking like someone who had forgotten how to spell. Thanks to those of you who tried to decipher what I was saying. I will try to say as much as I can on this blog b/c I don’t know when I will be able to use a computer again. First of all, oddly enough, Africa does not feel as foreign to me as China does. Almost everything is written/spoken in English and the toilets are normal. 🙂 I have been hungry a lot, but compared to many of the things I have seen/experienced over the past few days, I am going to try to never use the phrase ‘I’m starving’ again…it would seem silly. Scrambled eggs over toast have become my ‘go-to’ food. We have also grabbed a milk shake wherever it is available. Those are few and far between and not nearly as sweet as in America. There is almost no sugar in foods here. Enough about food…

I should probably go back and start with our visits to the school…I’m not sure what day that was…I am not sure what day it IS! We have spent about 32 hours in a car over the past 4 days. Traveling to and from in Kenya is quite an adventure. The roads are terrible and most of the time non-existent, a great deal of them are covered in potholes and gravel and dirt. Needless to say, there have been many times that plastic bags came in handy! Our first big ‘road trip’ was from Nairobi to Kisumu and then on to Okuru…we traveled over the line of the equator and stopped to take some pictures. We were told that we would be going to visit some local schools which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. When we pulled up to the first school, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, the children were waiting for us and bombarded our vehicles to where we could barely open the door. The first thing I noticed was that most of them had no shoes and their feet were covered in sores and bug bites with toenails falling off….it was heartbreaking…I couldn’t help but think of all the shoes hanging in my closet. Some of them were eating mangos and their hands were dripping with juice and crusted with the remains of the juice from the day before. They had a semblance of a uniform but most of them were ripped, torn and falling apart. The school had no electricity, no running water and no meal program. Unless something was sent from home the children go all day with no food. There were over 300 children in the school, 120 of them orphans. I have no idea where they go when the day is over. They all sat out in the grass as we introduced ourselves and Candice spoke to them. They were so attentive and respectful and their teachers never had to ask them to be quiet. When it was time for them to give attention they would all do a clapping series together and say the name ‘Jesus’. It was so sweet and respectful. As they were dismissing from the group time, I tried to give many of them ‘high fives’ but they didn’t know what to do with that. So I taught them how. Before I knew it, I had a group of dozens of children surrounding me wanting to try. They were grabbing and pulling at me like I was a rockstar. I started making funny faces and noises and they would all repeat what I was doing and burst into laughter. Running out of ideas and feeling the need to entertain them, I began to sing ‘if you’re happy and you know it’. They all jumped in clapping hands, stomping feet and shouting AMEN! Oddly enough, standing in the middle of such poverty, I truly believed that they are happy…even joyful. It was difficult to leave them and I think I could have stayed there playing with them all day. I could not believe that I was meeting this children and how they could bless me so much in such a short time.

We traveled on to the next school which was a couple miles away. This one still with no electricity but had a well outside that water could be pumped from. This school served students 1st through 12th grade. They all gathered in the courtyard and formed a square around us. The situation was the same with the tattered clothing and barefeet. Many of the young girls wearing shoes, were wearing shoes made for a grown man. We did our introductions and I was asked to lead these children in a song (I’m not really sure why that has become my ‘thing’). Candice spoke to them and prayed for them. They then, spent some time entertaining us through song, dance and even a dramatic interpretation from a little girl who appeared to be able 6, which was truly amazing. As the teacher of this school told us about the students, she asked the students who were orphaned to raised their hands….more than half did so. The tears were difficult to fight. She told us that many of the students who are orphaned will stop coming to school at about the 7th grade. I was in awe of the ones who were standing there in the 12th. Again, it was difficult to leave this school. It is however, remarkable to see how children are children regardless of geography. The Ashburn kids did not hesitate playing with the children of the schools and the school children were fascinated with the Ashburn kids. They followed David to the van and were touching his hair and trying to get his attention. When we got into the van, he rolled down the window and they were all grabbing him through the window. 4 year old, blonde headed children with bowl cuts probably don’t frequently visit this area 🙂

After the school visits we went to the dedication of the Ashburn clinic. This is the clinic that Candice has funded in memory of her husband who was killed in plane crash 4 years ago. It was a very emotional experience for her to see their vision come to fruition. The children that we visited in the schools will benefit from this clinic as there is no other medical center for over a hundred miles. Everyone in our group got to plant a tree at the clinic that will be marked with our names. It was very ritualistic and apparently a very big honor here. The people in this area prepared lunch for our group and the lady who gave the land to build the clinic invited us into her home. I Have to admit that international food is a struggle for me and Candice and I exhanged many panicked looks over whether or not it was rude to avoid eating the goat stew that was made for us. We went for some pineapple and watermelon and prayed for the best. The Ashburn kids know no fear and went for the chicken. The poverty in this community (of about 5 houses and a water pump) was another punch of reality here. People came from miles to see the dedication and for the chance to acquire a warm meal. I met a young man, aged 20, who asked me where I was from. I told him America, not knowing if the people here knew about our states. He then asked me which state. I told him TN and he said ‘capital city, Nashville’. I was pretty surprised that he knew this. He told me that he spoke 3 languages and that he had completed school 2 years ago and dreams of being a computer technician. He told me all about how he has self trained and is looking for a job. His intelligence was obvious but the reality of the possibility of him actually coming out of his situation to acheive his dreams was heartbreaking. I don’t think I will ever forget this conversation. We piled into the car and started cleaning out our trash, the children of the village began to gather around asking us for our empty water bottles. They were fighting over who would get them, as they will use them to carry water from the well. Who would have imagined that this trash could be so valuable? As we pulled away from the clinic site, the children that had wandered in to the dedication were waving to us with the dum dum suckers in their mouths that I brought to them.

The long trip back was more scary than sickening. We had spent more time than alotted at our school trips and our driver kept muttering about how his greatest fear was driving in the dark. In my naivity, I thought it was because he didn’t want to get tired….I didn’t know that we would actually be putting ourselves into danger. It was 6 hours back to Nokuru and some of the roads were blocked off causing our trip to be longer. As we began to hit the huge potholes and take the van off road to avoid construction, it was evident that our driver was tensing up and taking this part of the road much faster. He explained that this was an area of ‘road’ that was infamous for robberies…at that point , I began to notice the wanderers and drifters on the side of the road. I guess I don’t really think about those things…and that’s a reality anywhere.

We slept well that night, physically and emotionally exhausted. We were pretty excited about the next day when we would embark on our safari. For some reason the crappy 6 hour drive to get there didn’t seem so horrible. At the time, it was part of the adventure.  It was really cool to see Kenya as we drove from the ‘city’ parts into the more rural areas. There were people on camels traveling alongside the road…something I’m not used to seeing every day. I took a nap and was disappointed when I woke up and found out that I had missed a herd of zebras and some baboons chilling on the side of the road. As we got closer to the safari site, we began to see the mosai tribal people in their native clothing herding their cattle and taking them to market. I was amazed to drive through the desert and see a three or four year old child, standing alone, with a baby on his/her back holding a staff and following their goats. As we get deeper into Kenya…I am feeling much further away from home.

We entered the park and set out on our sunset safari. We got so excited as we entered and immediately saw zebras and wildebeasts…but we were seriously not a mile into the park before we saw an entire pride of lions. The first one we saw was the oldest lion in the park…seriously the king of the jungle. Female lions were close behind with several younger ones. I kid you not when I say they were 15 feet from our van. As we traveled on, we saw a herd of buffalo heading toward the lions. Our driver turned around so that we could follow the action. It was fascinating to see the male lions notice the buffalo and watch them begin to stand up and follow the buffalo. We watched this for a long time and our driver explained to us that this process could take hours and we decided that since the sun was setting, we would look for other animals. We saw many giraffes and each time, we would all start screaming. This was not impressive to our guide in the slightest haha. We headed back toward the lodge and elephants began crossing the dirt road we were traveling on…probably 10 or more. Huge and with tusks…it was incredible.

Staying at the lodge was a bit of heaven. It was full of westerners who had come to Africa for a safari adventure. I’m pretty sure we were the only mission group there haha. The food was incredible and a buffet of goodness. We gorged. For real. We had hot showers and slept well. We had to get up early the next day for our sunrise safari. I woke the kids up at 5:30 by playing the circle of life pretty loudly….they enjoyed it. We were excited for another day! We were again granted with experiencing such a rare part of God’s creation! We saw more lions….feasting on buffalo from the night before. A cheetah was sitting at the top of a hill almost like he was just wanting to have his picture taken. I can’t wait to post these shots…I can’t believe I got to take them.

As we left the lodge, we had heard that there was a tribal community nearby that was open to visitors….The Mosai people lived there and we asked our driver if he could take us. As we pulled in to the area with mud huts…it was like something I have only seen in national geographic. The tribal leaders walked towards our van , wearing their dress and piercings carrying staffs…I will admit, there was a moment that I was scared. We opened the door to the van and they welcomed us as we got out. The smell was overpowering. In my time as a social worker and on my many visits to China, I have never experienced and odor like this. Again, it is amazing to me that there is a boundary that adults have that children do not experience. Stepping out of the van, one of the tribe leaders had let David hold his staff. (For those of you who don’t know, David is a precious 4 year old boy with Downs Syndrome that I have the privilage of babysitting and am on this trip to help his mother with him). He took the staff and set his sights on the children who were standing at the edge of the village. He ran towards them and they started running from him. It was comical. I began to chase after him and as I got closer to the children that he was chasing…my heart broke into a thousand pieces. Some of them had very little clothing on, and the clothes they did have were completely torn. Shoes were nonexistent and their feet were covered in their own feces and the animals that were wandering around. Flies were swarming around their bodies and crawling all over their faces, onto their lips and into their mouths. Bugs that I didn’t even recognize, living in their hair. As David ran back towards his mother, the children followed him…except for one that seemed to be too small to run. This child was left standing in tears. Looking at me with eyes that I could not ignore. I have to admit, that I flinched as I picked him up. He was in a dress…but obviously a little boy. His face was covered in snot and tears were pouring out of his eyes. I have held many children, in many dire circumstances….but this was an overwhelming heaviness that I had never experienced. It was like a burden for an entire people and not just a child, alone. I don’t know this little boys name, and I never will…but again, this is a face that I will never forget. We walked around the village as the leader told us about their tribe. The boys will leave when they are 13 and they are not allowed back until they have killed a lion, which sometimes takes years. The people take turns at night guarding their village from the lions and hyennas. They begin each day by drinking cow blood mixed with milk. They live off the land and eat when they can. Women and children were outside their mud huts making jewelry to sell in the market. I never saw any source of water. They showed us how they make their fire and they invited us into their homes. The huts take 2 months to build and are said to last ‘many years’. There was obviously no light in the huts. There was a hole in the ground where the women and children sleep as the men stand guard. Surprisingly, the children will attend school and learn English. Aside from communicating with the occasional visitor, this seemed kind of futile. We went to the market, we bought from the masai people…but it just didn’t seem like enough. Looking at the children as we were walking to our car, we were overwhelmed with responsibility. We pretty much cleaned out the van of any food and clothes that we had and began to give them to the people who had just taken our hearts. The children were grabbing for the clothes of the Ashburn children. Mothers in tears, trying to compare sizes to see what would fit their own. As I pulled out my ration of granola bars, a man came up to me and said ‘please! 2 for my children!’…I began to sob…walked over to the other men who were telling me how many children they had. I handed over the bag to them and watched as they began to hand them out to the men according to the number of people in their families. Nobody was selfish, everyone making sure that others had their share. That was what was and is remarkable about the Mosai people. As unfamiliar, and uncomfortable as their lives seem to us….they love each other well. They work hard to protect their families. They provide with what they can. They welcomed guests who now know what millions of people never will. While Candice and I were stressed about David chasing the children with a stick, one of the tribal leaders simply said ‘Hakuna Matata’…no worries… I couldn’t help but giggle at the fact that I was standing in the middle of a tribe in Africa actually hearing someone use those words. But as we all drove off in tears, I couldn’t help but think about their perspective. How much we have and stress about what we don’t have. These people live in their own waste but proudly welcome people into their huts, all the while saying ‘no worries’. Isn’t that something we can all learn from.

However, the thing that puts a lump in my throat more than anything is the multitude of people living in poverty, plagued by disease and ridden with a lack of opportunity to ever get out…but that everyone of them and everyone of us, who have more than we will ever need are ALL children of the same God. It blows my mind to think about them realm of creation and all the new things that I have seen in the past several days and all the things left to see. I continue to be grateful that God has allowed me to be a part of loving His people. All over the world. I will always struggle with what that means for me as I know that He has given me this heart and mind that are so globally focused and broken for His children. I pray that this will continue to become clear to me and that He will continue to grant me opportunities to serve and show the world who HE is by allowing me to love them like Jesus. I am humbled everyday and thankful for where He chose to place me.

Continue to pray for the safety and health of our group. Pray for physical and emotional strength and endurance. Pray for opportunity to share the love of Christ. Pray the we will be used to fulfill every purpose that we were sent here for.

Love from Africa!

 

jesus and dramamine July 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — showinghopetochina @ 10:52 pm

i am not having the ability to blog as i wish. there has been 20 hours of travel down dirt roads in kenya in the past 2 days alone. we r tired amd feel beat up. but emotionally beat up more than anything. just driving alomg the roads of africa yesterday was eye opening…exactly like u would imagine from anything you have seen or read. but today we got to meet the people, and if u know me, thenu know i was most excited to meet the children.they came running andscreaming towards the van when we pulled up to the school. we immidiately started interacting with them, singing with them and loving on them.their eyes could brrak ur heart. i loved watching those chikdren playing with our children and seeing how chikdren interact the same way allover the world but jit was hard not to notice the ones without.shoes, the ones that had no lumch to eat during lunch time, the ones that raised thier hands when asked who was an orphan. i choked back tears as i lead a group of over one hundred students in the song ” if ur happy and u know it””  beczuse those children have lttle reason to be happy but their joy is truly  evident. i met a young man, 20, brilliant, asking me abiut lifein the states. he spoke

 

showing hope to africa??? July 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — showinghopetochina @ 9:34 pm

Well here i am in mybedsurrounderd by mosqito nets, drenched in insect repelent but ever so thankfuk to have arrived healthy and unharmed. We got here in enough to,ime tonight to take a nice.shower and get into bed. This one will b shhort. I am unimaginably exhausted and trying to wrtie this on my nook. Africa does not seem so strage ro me yet. English speaking, warm.water, lots of.laughter. i thinki habe come with s respectful fear for this countryand inam already amazed by what the Lord has set out fkr.us heere. Tomorow we travel 8 hours.to.sight see and to dedicste the clinic candade has started. More tomoorrow! Love.from.nairobi