Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Day The Orphans Ministered To Me!

    On one of the days Sophie and I had scheduled to go and hang out with the kids at the  CCC Orphanage, she woke up feeling ill.  She informed me that she wouldn't be able to go.  I pondered my options and decided to walk on by myself.  Although I was afraid, I hated the thought of missing an opportunity to minister to the kids.  So I began the short trek out of the hospital compound and prayed the whole way there.  I asked God to show me what activities to do with the kids and to protect me on the road.
      When I arrived, the head admin. guy was not there as it was the day after the Ethiopian New Year Holiday.  I spoke with another employee who said the room with all of the books and games was locked and he didn't have access to the key.  I thought to myself (what on earth was I going to do without the proper "supplies" to entertain these kids) and I thought about heading back home.  I was nervous and out of my comfort zone.  I kept praying for God to SHOW UP.  I asked the guy in charge where I could find the kids and he pointed me to the cafeteria.  They were in the process of sorting lentils which was one of their regular chores.  I grabbed a seat between a couple of them.  I just sat.  They just stared and sorted beans.  They remembered me from the painting party a few days earlier and they seemed excited for me to be there.  They love attention (worldwide human nature ya know) and I believe they love adults who pay attention to them.  They began to sing to me....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  It wasn't my birthday but it was actually only a couple of weeks away.  I believe they knew I would know that song so it was a safe choice.  I didn't prompt them to sing.  But at the painting party days before, at the end, I initiated a "Jesus Loves Me" sing-a-long in which they quickly joined in.  I think they remembered me as a "singer" and wanted to "speak" my love language.  I just sat while they sorted and sang.  They were so content and filled with peace.  I kept praying silently asking God to work out the details of this visit.  He most certainly did.  I kept thinking, how am I going to "entertain" them?!  What with the supply room locked and all.  But God had a different day in mind.  They would be the ones doing the entertaining.  After the Happy Birthday song, they kept going. They broke into "Our God Is An Awesome God,"  and "Give Me Jesus." Their voices were incredible.  And I was mesmerized.  By them.  And by God.  We sat there together.  And they serenaded me, singing of the love of God they clearly had a grasp on and were grateful for.  His love was so evident that day.  I knew He loved me.  Through them.  And they knew they were loved.
    I was sorry Sophie missed it.  But actually I now know I was supposed to go alone that day.  As God held my hand, I stepped out of my comfort zone with Him.  And the "angels" sang to me.

Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,  for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  

The Orphanage

      I had the privilege of returning to Ethiopia this past September 2014, for the second time in two years for a medical mission trip through World Medical Mission.  My husband would be helping out in the orthopedics department at the hospital in Soddo, a town in southern Ethiopia.  And seeing as I am totally non-medical when it comes to nurse-y type skills, I go along and help out wherever I am needed.
      Last year, my daughter, Molly, and step-son, Jonathan,  and I had the privilege of working in a school on the hospital campus teaching English from the Bible.  We had an incredible experience with the students and tremendously enjoyed our time with them.  But this year as we returned, we found out the school would be on holiday break for the entire time we would be in town.  I didn't panic although I was sad that I would not be able to reconnect with the kids we had met a year earlier.  But this year, I would have a new assignment along with my step-daughter, Sophie, who was able to take time off from work and sojourn with us.  I knew in my heart that the LORD would provide work for us.  And He did!  The Children's Cross Connection is an orphanage that houses approximately 60 kids and it is just about one mile from the hospital.  I had not had the privilege of visiting last year even though it was on my bucket list.  But this year, Sophie and I had the desire to meet with the administrator  and see how we might be able to help out.  They allowed us to come and hang out with the children as our schedule allowed and they gave us total creative freedom to spend time with them as we saw fit.
     The first day we planned a "painting party" as I had bought and packed supplies from Hobby Lobby.  The ability to paint and create and allow the "inner artist" that resided in all of them was special.