I can't really describe what it feels like to be crush-hugged by a screaming group of women and children. Or what it feels like to walk into a home, my home in Gulu and see it so alive when just a year ago it was empty, without the sounds of little feet, or women laughing as they cook in the kitchen. I can't describe how a life happens, or how it changes and matures into something so beautiful, or what if feels like to look into the eyes of these girls now and see HOPE and LOVE and JOY and to know that God, God, is so alive. I can't tell you how it feels to hold our newborn Daniel and to know that without this home, without God's love coming into his mother's heart, he might not be here...and now I can't imagine the world without his little bald-spotted head.
I cry as I write this because so many times I wanted to run away, when it was so hard. I wanted to give up when I was all alone, I wanted to give in and so many times I cried, "God I can't do it. It's too much for me. The dream is too big." But God's dreams always are. Last night I looked around at my staff, my girls, their children, and my new children--a group of 10 young Congolese girls whose mothers gave them to us to take care of because they don't want them to become prostitutes---I looked at them as they sang beautiful songs about being "children of Zion" and I was overcome with how far God has brought us.
This is an offering of thanksgiving because yesterday we celebrated 5 of our girls who graduated from Good Samaritan Vocational Training School with certificates and skills to help sustain them. They wore their black gowns so proudly, they had their hair done so nice, and I arrived just in time to give them some new shoes to wear for their big day....and I was so PROUD of them--that they made it and that they now walk like women who don't have to be ashamed because they were raped, or because they were left, or because they are "war-affected." Now they walk like women with purpose.
It is not easy. This road, has not been easy and I want to thank you for walking it with me, for praying alongside with me, and sending gifts to the girls, and reaching across the miles to touch their lives. Becuase you do touch them.
There are more prayers to be prayed and we will pray them with you.
But for now...let's give thanks that our God loves us this much and lets us be used to love others.
I am already missing you and all the conveniences of modern life....but it is not enough to take away my joy at seeing God redeem these girls' lives and the lives of their babies.
I'm very grateful.