You cannot come to a place like this without it changing you. There has been a subtle shifting in my heart. To come to a place that has so little, to go to orphanages that have even less and see the joy in their eyes when we are with them is truly priceless. It has had a profound effect on me and I just have to say thank you to Jen. I am so happy that God blessed you with driving this mission because it led to an "opportunity" (that's for Anita!) for me that has only made my heart feel more complete and my relationship with God grow stronger.
We had such a great time interacting with the kids and just loving on them. They love the attention, most loved to be touched and they love singing. Their smiles will light your heart in ways that only can be from God. They want to touch you and they love the eye contact. Wow! They love playing games with you in the gym and I am so thankful Dan finally realized where he needed to be and that was in the gym doing what he does so good-playing with the kids. His 2 foot of love was precious. I have a few kiddos that really made an impact on me, one of which was an autistic little boy in purple-he was precious. He had to play in the gym and noise really bothers him. He would run up smile and as soon as I would smile he would make this pained expression, do the "shhh" with his finger and then cup his ears. He did this continually. I felt bad for him but I was told they have to learn how to handle the noise, etc. and I'm sure I'm saying this wrong. I wish I knew more about autism and it makes me think.....
The "older" boys were a different story, but just as wonderful. They so wanted to help us in everything! They carried the beds, made the beds, danced and loved having their pictures taken. LOVED having their pictures taken. They really loved the attention from the girls. too cute. Sergei, a 29 year old, even went to lunch with us yesterday. He is wonderful and was an absolute wonder at helping us. Not sure why he is there-they say a seizure disorder. He seems to be pretty understanding of everything but I think his socialization skills are not where they should be-the problem of being institutionalized in a special need orphanage. He paints, he is a true artist. I only have one picture with him in from on one of his murals, I wish I had the rest of them. He is absolutely amazing-gifted. He says his talent is from God-wow! LOVE it!
We wrapped up our day doing a little sight-seeing and you can read about that in Dan's blog. We are decompressing, acting goofy, relaxing, playing games-much needed downtime together!
Dan organized volunteers from our Church to write letters to us for each day and to pray for us while we are on our trip. I cannot tell you what a gift this has been for us. We did not know who these people were so it's been great trying to figure it out. We get to find out tomorrow and I am so excited. I will tell you I am pretty confident that I know who my prayer partner is (I've been praying for them as well but in a more generic fashion) as of today. I cannot wait to invite that family over for dinner to thank them and tell them about this amazing adventure and the way that God has had His hand over this whole trip. I will tell you, prayer partner, that each day your letter was an encouragement to me and such a God-thing in your theme-you just cannot imagine and I can't wait to share with you! It was wonderful to see these letters each morning and knowing that a specific person was praying over this trip and for us-thank you is not enough, but thank you.
Thank you for your prayers, thank you for the encouraging words. I thank God for putting this mission on my heart and thank Him for forcing me to listen!!
I'd like to leave you with a passage in the Bible that my prayer partner wrote for me: "If I speak in tongues of mean and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that an move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Fore we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13
Much Love, Lauree