Wednesday morning I awoke to the serenade of the roosters crowing and the sounds of people starting their day in Africa, children playing & talking, people walking, carrying supplies and water to their homes. First morning waking up in Africa! Day 1 for me was mostly an intro into their world. I was ready to GO GO GO!!!! But boy, I have a lot to learn about patience and slowing. Africa moves on a whole different time scale and so do you when you get there. As you read my day might sound uneventful, but it was incredibly profound. We spent the morning planning and later that afternoon we ventured out to see and meet some of the people we would be serving over the next 2 weeks. We visited Hosetta School for Children with Mental Challenges. During my first time meeting those fantastic children, I fell in love instantly. It is amazing to see the Joy in the hearts of these children! Life in Sierra Leone for a child isn't an easy one, but can you imagine being a special needs child? living in one of the hardest places on earth, most of them deaf & can't speak, like this beautiful little girl named Isatu!! Wow!
Later that day, I also had the blessing of meeting Margaret for the first time! Oh, I LOVE Margaret!!! Margaret leads a War Widows for Christ group and also cares for 27 orphaned children! You will soon hear A LOT about her! What an amazing woman who truly loves & serves the Lord with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength.
By the end of the night, I confess that my head hit the pillow with tears, weeping over my first day in Africa. It was the first time I held and kissed a child with a swollen belly because of hunger & malnutrition -- for me that was significantly harder than I could have ever imagined. The first time I saw with my own eyes the reality of the world's clean water problem as I saw a woman filling a bottle to drink on the side of the road with filthy water, right next to where people throw their trash and "go..."
Heartbreaking! I studied and knew the statistics and facts. But when your eyes see it... your ears hear the children's voices... and you smell that environment for yourself, it is a heart breaking new reality that you can't forget. It changes everything. I have a new understanding and awareness of the scripture in 1 John 3 that flat out says, if you see a brother or sister in need and have no pity on them, then how can the love of God be in you! There is no way to sugar coat that! Most of my days I spend my thoughts and motives on my own business & busyness, pretending that these places don't exist or not caring about these people who die every minute. What a dangerous thing it was for me to open my eyes and heart to what is really going on in the world, because now I can no longer continue to ignorantly live the same way. Fell asleep with James 1:22 on my heart! Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says! Hope it didn't sound too down, I'd say for me, it was a great day!! :) God's hand was and is on me! Lord thank you much for the lives I got to love on that day!
This is the note I wrote to Zeke that night, next to his hand print in my Journal...
Zeke, you would be so sad to see some of these children. Their bellies are swollen because they don't have enough to eat, healthily, some sleep on the floor most of the time, its so hard for your mommy to see. The kids at the School are special and some of the people in the town are so mean and cruel to them, but they are so happy to see someone who will love them. I miss you so much!