The children in our home have new clothes I brought for them to wear to church. On Saturday afternoon they all iron their dresses and shirts so they can look “smart” for church. They look so proud to worship among others and fit right in, and the truth is they do have a “mummy” now looking after them, they are no longer desperate orphaned children. I will look after their needs as I do my own children. It is my honor and my privilege to serve God in this way.
I only wish it were so simple to just meet the needs of the kids when running a ministry for orphans. It is hard to protect yourself from being taken advantage of with one eye and watch out for the children with the other. My great weakness is I am a trusting person because I am trustworthy. I’m really not wired up to think suspiciously about people, but here it is sink or swim, and I choose to swim so I am learning how to protect my back and all of those who are helping us serve these children.
We passed Phiona walking to church with the children. It was the sweetest sight to me and I’m so happy I photographed it. These children are honestly precious in their eagerness to learn and work together to make a family. I love them with an intensity that grows each time I am with them. They are still a little shy with me personally, but one by one they are seeing I am approachable and cuddly. They are not accustomed to adults wanting to love them with physical touch but they are learning it is very nice.
After church we walked back together to the house to have lunch with Julie. The children are so happy and playful, and they are enjoying their visitors so much. At the house we sat down and had a serious talk about their books. Their book case is now completely full of wonderful stories and each child has a bible of their own. Early that morning Phiona arrived to find the books a mess and some were ripped. She spanked them all! This is why I thought they should hear from me how to take care of these books. I told them how many people have provided for them, how difficult it is to carry them across the world and get them into their hands. I reminded them they have more books than any of the schools in this area. Inside these books they can get knowledge that will take them very far in life. I told them how to be careful with them, and how to behave when they are using them. I sounded like the stern librarians I remember of my childhood who were a little kookoo about books. Now here I am feeling the same way about putting knowledge into the hands of children. Funny how that happens in life.
They all promised to take good care of their books and treat them like delicate baby chickens.
After our lecture we ate delicious chicken, rice, coleslaw,beans and potatoes. Julie has learned well how to cook from Harriet. The food tastes delicious and we were hungry. It is still quite unbelievable to see how much food a small child can pile onto their plate. I can barely get Kira to take ten bites.
While Katrina and Carly worked on a craft with the children Phiona and I sorted out clothing I brought for them. When their eyes saw the new clothes they were so happy. We passed them out and they tried them on for us. We labeled the inside so Julie would know who was leaving their good clothes lying around, and also so they wouldn’t fight over what they want to wear. They act like real brothers and sisters after only six weeks together. I love it.
Carly and Katrina got out some bingo and taught them how to play. They loved this new game. We had candy bracelets for prizes. It is just such a satisfying feeling to watch them play and learn and interact with our team with such zeal.
Phiona, George and I slipped out to go purchase food for the people at James’ place. I don’t have the ministry money to pay for this burden and yet their demands are quite high. I’m praying and asking God to help us make wise decisions about this sticky situation. We did not deliver the food personally to James we had a truck deliver it because when we go there everyone approaches us to pay for their individual needs. I feel like an ATM when I go there and it has to stop. I don’t use ministry money on this group except for their school fees because I don’t believe what we are doing there aligns with our ministry mission statement. Craig and I have used personal money for these problems and it’s been a slow one way drain. We were hoping they would take our teaching and begin to help themselves more. But it isn’t happening. I know God will show us the way to make our mistakes with this group right. He has set us on a new path, and we will have to let the old one go somehow so he can be the one they turn to in need, not me.
Jack, Carly and Katrina spent the night at the house with the children. They will help Julie with the house today while the children are in school. Tuesday they will all serve at Kira’s baby home for the day. June is not the right time to bring a mission team here. The children are all in school twelve hours a day! I am hopeful that somehow we can manage to bring help when they really need it, December to February. Personally, I loved being here for Christmas! There is nothing about American style Christmas that I missed at all while being here. It is my hope to do that again.