It's amazing what a single month can do to change a person's life.
A month ago they did not smile.
Now, everywhere the sound of laughter and children showing off their teeth.
The same children who a month ago would cry in their mother's lap.
Now they play. Like normal kids. Like our kids. They build blocks and race cars.
A month ago they did not dream.
Now they sit around in circles and talk about going back to school or learning to do catering to continue the baking skills they've learned at our house (not from me, I know that would be too much of a miracle ! :)
Dream and drum in the morning.
Dream and go to bed with bellies full.
Dream and love on their children.
Dream without fear.
Today in counseling class Janet said she no longer fears closing her eyes at night because if she has a nightmare she uses the word of God and it goes away. Linda was afraid of being in groups of people, but isn't anymore. Josephine was afraid of singing in front of others, but now can sing with a smile.
A group called Pray With Africa came to visit and asked the girls their prayer requests. I was most touched by Pamela, my little 16 year old who was raped last year....she asked them to pray for me. I wanted to just ball right there, but I kept it mostly together.
I watch how proud they are to show me they can make cookies or the new stitch they've learned, or how our house is now decorated with their beautiful artistry.
Right now they are laughing in the kitchen making dinner.
It's the most beautiful sound in the world.
There are still things--still pregnant bellies and no fathers, still concerns about a good man ever coming into their life, still fears about there not being money to send them to school. There is still lizard poop on my bed, and computers and cameras that are stolen and sometimes the ants that crawl on me in the middle of the night. There are still worries at what I will not be able to give them for lack of resources.
But we are together.
Josephine, Florence, and Linda have all received Jesus now. And the girls make fun of me because when I try to say "What is wrong?" in Acholi it comes out, "You are squatting badly," just because I can't make the sound from the back of my throat.
But we laugh and I don't care that I'll probably never be fluent. Wajule. Welcome to our home.
And even though I still fall into bed at night sometimes exhausted and my prayers are usually short sentences I whisper under my breath for them during the day---I fall asleep with a smile because this life is a breathed prayer, an answer to prayer, a prayer God dreamed in my memory. And it's come true.
Disclaimer: there will probably be fewer pictures for at least a month. Camera and computer stolen. Crushed. But surprisingly mitigated by an armful of screaming girls and hugs I received upon my arrival back home.