Quite an interesting adventure to be able to share together! Day one was a different day for the two of us, I had been anticipating my reunion with these people I had grown to love and adore. It almost felt like I was packing for home when packing for this journey but, this was Justin's first day in a new place absorbing all that was going on around us. I completely forgot that it took me days, weeks, months to process my thoughts and feeling about my first experiences here. Honestly and selfishly, I was frustrated when he simply seemed to have nothing to say. I felt the urge to start pointing out things around us, do you see that? do you know how they survive? I wanted to pick his brain, what was he thinking? How did he feel? Does this wife -husband conversation sound familiar to anyone else? Seemed like I started to forget who he was and how God designed him. (on day 1! Funny thing is- if you know Justin, he is slow to speak and really works through his thoughts before he shares them. And then when his heart is on fire about something, he has no problem letting you know about it! I realized quickly that he needed time before he could talk to me about it and I needed more of his "slow to speak" qualities.) Truly, what I wanted was for Justin to have his own experiences with God here and I needed to let him be and not start bombarding him to talk about this thoughts or feelings.
Chris Journal entry day one:
Woke up to the sound of Africa today! Chickens, people walking and talking on the road and children hurrying off to school. At the first sound of his voice I ran down to greet and hug the neck of Hassan, one of the guards for Tom and Becky! I love that sweet man! Justin went with Tom to work at the Hope Center while I stayed home with Becky and we visited. I so enjoyed my time with her, getting all caught up on what was going on in the different ministries here and talking about possibilities for what our mission teams could be doing while here next year. I also got to spend all day with her little Mohamed who is currently their official foster child. The June team from our church nicknamed him Bobo, which means boy in Creole. After they left he wasn't sure if he liked that name but agreed that it was ok, and Becky now calls him Bo. He refers to himself as Mohamed the bobo, Mohamed the boy and how quickly you can fall in love with him. He was a street child living alone on the Streets of Waterloo when Tom and Becky met him and in July of this year he came to live with them. I adore him, he decided that he wanted to call me Auntie Christine. His smile brings pure joy to my heart. After Justin and Tom returned we walked down to Margaret's House. (Margaret is amazing and cares for 27 orphans, we will share more about her and her kids heartbreaking, HOPE filled story in the next blog entry) I sat on Margaret's porch just loving on those sweet children, I'm so glad I'm here. I'm so glad they have a home and are able to attend school! I told them that I had gifts for them that I would bring back tomorrow but they seemed just as grateful to see me and meet Justin as any gift. One of the girls said to me "I am so happy you remember us and came back" I pray that I don't forget! How easy it is to "live" life and go on as if these children and thousands just like them aren't suffering. The boys (including Mohamed) grabbed Justin and ran off to play football, he was covered in sweat and smiling boys by the time we walked back to the house. Justin was very quiet today, I struggle to remember my first day here back in May. He's not ready to talk about it yet, (be still Chris, it's only the first day.)
Justin Journal entry day one:
So, today was the first full day of this journey. This morning i got a glimpse of the amount of people living in conditions that seem cruel and i find it is unable to be captured by my words. So many things going in my head and I don't know what to write. Like children being abandon on the corner, children sleeping in the street and the rain pouring down, us living in excess while others must struggle to survive. Then there are my selfish thoughts like I miss my kids, and why don't I instantly feel as crushed as Chris did when she first came, what is wrong with me. So I pray and I pray and I pray...
then I read the stories of the orphans at Margaret's and realize that when the war was going on most of the kids were the ages of mine when their parents died and they were left to fend for themselves. Kids 2,3,4,5,6 years old with no one to care for them, no one to answer their cries in a place that is inhospitable to begin with! then war and death are all around them, then I relate that to my kids and how they would respond to those situations and how that would effect them and then, I start to feel.
I am reminded that we share an image. The image of a mighty creator who has a way of living that is best (live a life of love, eph 5:2) and if we were to live in that way, life for all would be full. So I pray and I pray not always knowing what to say buy understanding that, God is.
It is one thing to view a life, even to be told about their story. But a whole other thing to walk hand in hand with that life and become a part of their story and have them become part of yours. It changes you, your perception of what is important and changes how you love.