Where do I begin? So much in my heart and only a few minutes to blog....
Do I begin with the baby orphanage? When asked their greatest need and mentioned clothes, Sister Francis laughed.
"You know - it is the belly. The babies do not care if they are naked. They care if they have nothing to put into their stomachs. What do I do if they are crying and have nothing to give them?"
Do I begin with the child mothers - those who have been abducted at young ages and given to rebel leaders as sex slaves. They come out of the bush with babies. The youngest one we have met so far was 12 when she gave birth. I see shame in their eyes, and I want so desperately to tell them how beautiful they are. Each and everyone one. I want even more desperately for them to believe it
Do I start with the former child solders and children we met yesterday. Spending a lot time rained in with them. Trying to talk over the sound of beating rain on the tin roof. Time of laughing, sharing, playing soccer in the rain, hearing stories of survival. Looking at their scars as they danced in the dirt, as they played their drums. Watching them look down at the ground when we told them that God was with them in their deepest pain. Who am I to tell them that? Who am I? I have no clue what they have gone through - at 5 at 10 and 12.
Stories are just stories until they become your reality.
Like the reality of a young boy who was forced to kill a leader in his village - in unspeakable ways that I will spare you details from. He went through years of seeing him. The man he killed. He saw him when he slept and when he woke up.
"I see blood as running water"
He was five. When forced to kill. He was five years old.
Maybe I should begin with Innocent. Amazing young man of 15.
"I want to be white like you. I want to be like you. Life would be good then. Life is hard here.
Me "You are beautiful. we see more true life and joy here than we see in all of America some time."
He was orphaned by the war when his parents were killed and captured by the rebels. He was abducted. He is a survivor.... but he will not just survive. He will be a great leader one day. You can see it in his eyes. He wants to be a doctor, but he fears he won't succeed
Jessica "You will succeed. We believe in you."
Jessie "We will pray for you and never stop praying for you. We will carry your story in our hearts" Looking deep into his eyes. "We will not forget you. We promise"
Big promise. That will be kept.
When we left he started whispering in my ear, but I couldn't make out what he said. Soft voice. He took my hand... and I listened. And I heard.
I heard a 15 year old former child slave, possibly forced to kill, who was praying for three women getting ready to depart on their journey to another part of his country. Yes - HE was praying for US. And, NO - we will not forget him. Committing to make sure this boy is sponsored and empowered and loved. He has no parents, but he is such an amazing child of God.
Father - bless this week. As we go into Village of Hope and see these precious children that I have talked about to senators, representatives, staffers in Washington DC. I have not seen them in over a year. Gloria. Norbert. Norman. Barbara. My heart leaps and my spirit fills with excitement.
Make us your instrument, Lord We are