Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anderson

I have been falling in love with Anderson, a new little guy to the orphanage.  He came a couple weeks ago and it was fairly obvious to me that he'd been traumatized, neglected, abused, something.  Of course the transition into an orphanage with 70 kids would take some time and be a bit overwhelming to a little guy.  But I would find him sitting all alone in a dark room just staring off into the distance.  He was so somber all the time and didn't respond much to anything.

So I tried to start really loving on him a lot, to help with the transition, to help him know he was safe and loved and was going to be okay here.  He fell asleep on my lap last week and has been like glue on me ever since.  He's starting to smile and play with the other kids.  It's making me happy- I am amazed at how resilient God made children.  

I found him crying in the hallway all alone yesterday, and picked him up and held him and wiped his tears and rocked him.  He fell asleep on my lap again for a good hour, and I loved it.  I prayed over him, I rubbed his little head and face and back and legs, I sang over him, I fell more in love with him.  After he woke up we sat there for awhile and just hung out, then I gave him some peanut butter and crackers and banana chips.  I've been telling him for a few days he needs a bath, but no one seems to be giving him one.  Since he smelled like a pig pen, I decided to just give him one right then and there in my bathroom.  I pulled off his filthy clothes and plopped him in my shower, where he promptly had a good long pee, which gave me a good little chuckle.  I turned on the water and lathered and washed him all up.

He was happy as could be after.  He had some fresh scrapes on his leg, so I put him on the toilet and bandaged them up.  We sat and colored for awhile, then I went and put some clean clothes on him and sent him off to play while I had dinner.  Afterwards I popped my head outside and he was running around with the kids, but when he saw me he ran full tilt upstairs to me and jumped on me.  How can you not fall in love with a kid like that?  In my room at night, his sweet little face kept popping into my head and I kept thinking about how much I loved him and wanted to spend more time with him.

Anderson :)
And later that night, it struck me- this is exactly how God is with us.  HE JUST LET ME SEE A PICTURE OF REDEMPTION.  Then He started flooding my mind with scriptures.  What a beautiful remarkable thing.  He sees us sitting there, dejected, alone- and picks us up and comforts us- God...who comforts us in all our troubles (1 Cor. 1:4).  The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27).  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).  He prays for us- the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:26).  He sings over us- He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17).  And the biggest miracle of all- He sees our filth and sin and washes us clean with His blood- Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols (Ezekiel 36:25).  To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. 1:5).  My heart is pounding, my breath is catching.  He loves us so.  He feeds us- For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9).  He will feed His flock like a shepherd (Is. 40:11).  He binds up our wounds- He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Ps. 147:3).  He gives us clean clothes- For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness (Is. 61:10).  He thinks about us- And Your thoughts towards us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered (Ps. 40:5).  And we can't help but run to Him in love and gratitude after this all- We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)In Your presence is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11).

My heart is so full.  What about you?  Do you feel dirty?  Alone?  Hungry?  Desperate?  Purposeless?  Come to Jesus.  He loves you so and will meet your every need with abundance, if you let Him.  How can you not fall in love with a God like that?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sweet Simple Beginnings

Hurricane Tomas rolled through and didn't do too much damage, praise the Lord, but it did knock out our internet for a couple long weeks, hence the slow update.  But it's back up and running.  :)  I've been here for 4 weeks already.  Crazy.  It's been a completely smooth transition, thanks in part to Travis- a friend I went to discipleship school with 3 years ago- who was coming out to Jeremie for 6 months also, and it worked out perfectly for us to line up our trips.  He got here 6 weeks before me and is staying at the same orphanage I am, and is quickly becoming like a brother to me and has been such a blessing.  I see why Jesus sent out His disciples 2 by 2.

I'm really happy.  :)  The first couple weeks were a lot of just taking everything in, but life is starting to get a little flow to it.  We pray early in the mornings and spend time with Jesus.  We study Creole.  We go about whatever is on for that day- things like visits to the country, playing basketball with the local kids, visiting Marco's orphanage, market shopping, prayer walks, taking sick kids to the doctor, walking around town holding hands with our street kid friends, Travis is teaching a Bible study twice a week, we spend time with our friends from there.  We practice more Creole at night, we have dinner, hang out with the kiddos- I read for them or play the guitar and sing for them or paint their fingernails or run around with kids on my back.  I read at night in my wonderful little room or journal or listen to sermons.

I was thinking as I was painting hundreds of little fingernails one day, saying the same few lines in Creole to every girl- "What's your name?  How old are you?  and Jesus loves you"- how I will probably look back on this sweet humble beginning one day with great fondness- when I couldn't really talk much to anyone, and could really only show love in little tangible ways.  There's this simple beauty and purity to it.  It feels so small, when God has spoken and promised so much in preparation and poured out such big vision, but I know this is how things start.  It is just the beginning of a lifetime.  God is working.  I am content to rest in His timing and just keep loving and learning and let Him do whatever He wants to do.

Still, the need is overwhelming.  It's a lot to take in and process.  There are so many kids who need love and attention and food and Jesus all over town.  And adults.  Seventy kids are at the place I'm at and when I go to play with them, I get pretty much mobbed by the little ones.  I want to have quality time with one at a time, and it's pretty much impossible.  You give one minute to one, then pick up the next one and hug and kiss them and run and twirl, then put them down for the next one, then the next, then the next.  They need so much love.
Some of our little street kid friends.
I was praying the other day and asking God for encouragement that I was on the right track, am I doing what He wants me to do so far?  Is He doing anything supernatural?  And I came home and had a facebook message from one of my friends.  She was praying for me and God gave her a vision- I was running my hands over the kids' heads and faces and water was flowing from my hands.  I cried reading that and praised and thanked God.  Because that is the thing I do- I always rub every kid's head that we meet or see in town, because I know how much they need touch.  The ones here I constantly rub their heads, and their faces.  And God was saying- He is pouring out living water into their lives.  He is working.  Thank you Jesus.

John 7:37-38 "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

My first night here a bunch of kids ran off and I followed them to see what was going on-- a dance party had developed in the bedroom :)
The little ones love running around naked, it cracks me up.
A new kiddo to the orphanage who I'm trying to love on lots, sleeping in my lap :)