Tuesday, April 04, 2006
The ability that children have to touch our hearts is truly astounding. The way they carry the face of God to us in their embraces, and in their innocence is why Jesus said let the children come to me...because I think he could see His father in them. That he had so much to learn just through their stories and their voices. One of the team members told me today how her grandson who is only two years old said "hallebuyah" his version of "hallelujiah" on the phone with her because he has absorbed the language of church and the language she speaks around the home.
Mary, the littlest one I am holding, captured my heart. These orphans are 3 of 7 children Jonathan watches after when he is not at work. They live across from him and have a cook, but they were all abandoned. A woman in the states has adopted them, but because of visa difficulties, cannot take the children with her...so she comes back and forth. Even though they need so much love, guidance, and material things, I realized that they are the lucky ones out of so many child-run homes in Africa. Though they don't have parents near, they have people who look after them, and that is more than some children in Northern Uganda or in Rakai (sp?)(southern Uganda, hit most hard by AIDS) have. At first the girls were shy and wouldn't talk so I had to win them over...which proved relatively easy when you have a camera. As soon as I started taking their pictures and talking and showing them the videos I had made of them on my camera, they just lit up to see themselves. By the end of the day, Mary and I were singing songs and I was teaching her to salsa :) One thing Africans and I have in common is that we love to dance :) My heart's desire is to go back to them, because Jonathan says the girls need so much guidance and someone to talk to.
When God shows us a need and he shows us His heart we cannot turn away. It's like a fire shut up in our bones.
We cannot turn away.
I've been writing this blog over several days because getting to a computer has been so hard because of business. The rest of the team is here and we have started intense training for our trauma counseling training in Rwanda. Last night I watched a beautiful film with the team entitled Sometimes in April which is a story of a man who lost his entire family in the Rwandan genocide. We say words like "genocide" and yet it doesn't mean anything to us, really. Until maybe we see a story that we can empathize with--and it changed my entire perspective about going to Rwanda. Last night I felt like, what can I offer these people? How would I feel if my entire family were murdered and how would I forgive those murderers. How would I move on without feeling incredibly guilty about surviving. How do you start a new life when everything is wiped away from you? I can't even begin to know how to help them. But I was so moved by this film and so disturbed by how the international community stood by and watched it unfold because we really had no interests in Rwanda. Even Hotel Rwanda was still a bit Americanized, but this movie was truly from the perspective of a Rwandan man. Please pray for us--we are going to Rwanda during the anniversary of the genocide and there is obviously still so much hurt and so much healing left to do. The situation could still erupt again because the wounds are still raw and the Hutu/Tutsi divide still exists. Imagine trying to coexist with your family's killers. And because so many professionals and doctors and teachers were brutally murdered, Rwanda suffers from the loss of many of its needed workers.
Tonight I went back to visit my sweet orphans and brought them a bunch of girly things I bought at the market...soaps and lotions, pens and journals...things that our children in America take for granted, but which their eyes get wide over. Sarah, one of the girls said her face was so wide from smiling. I wanted to just cry and cry over how excited they were. But more than that, as I was leaving Mary looked sad and ran after the van waving as we were pulling out. God just broke my heart for them. I know I have to do something for those sweet girls. The hard part is I know I am going to meet so many more like them. I am going to come up with a project proposal of some sort to raise funds for girls like these who live in child-run homes. Our social workers in the states (linds:) would be so appalled to see how they bring up themselves. And at the same time, I can think of no other place I would rather be. Mary quoted me her favorite bible verse and it was John 3:16. I remember that being mine as a little girl. They need so much love. When you find them you know its up to you to love them.