Sad News..I cant seem to make the pictures work. I will try again another day. I want to show you all the beautiful children! :(
I want to introduce you to children every few days/post. Joseph and Jacob are the first two. I teach a class every morning from 8:30 to 10:30. Both of the boys are in my morning class. They are excellent students and so well behaved. Jacob and Joseph are twins and they have an older brother and sister who also live at Front Porch. Their mother is still living but is mentally handicapped. She comes and does laundry at Front Porch to earn money for food. Before the boys, brother, and sister moved to Front Porch, they lived in a run-down house and had very little to eat. There was no money for clothes, school tuition, or anything else. Today they are healthy and happy! Jacob's smile is so sweet and he cracks me up. Joseph is an excellent reader for his age and the sweetest boy. It breaks my heart because each of them have about 5 outfits each. Their clothes are worn out but they dont seem to care. I promise to show you pictures when I figure this thing out. They love going to school and love God. I love hearing them pray. It brings tears to my eyes.
So lets be honest...I was hoping to see a monkey while in Zambia. No such luck. I was busy doing the dishes when Obian asked me to come see his special surprise. It was a living pig. I told him I would not get within 5 feet of the pig. The pig is no longer living. I have also seen dogs, cows, goats, and tons of bugs.
The wonderful people of McKendree UMC donated many old t-shirts from a variety of youth retreats, VBS, Great Day of Service. I bought the shirts to Zambia and gave them to the children. They were SO grateful. Every day I see at least 10 of the children wearing their shirts. (It makes me feel like Im home again) Bernard, the director, told me that typically they get more clothes donated for girls. They have several shirts. However, the boys only have a few outfits. It breaks my heart to see the little amount of clothes they have. I remember my closet back home that is full.
All the children are amazed by my hair. They think its so soft. One child admitted to me that he thought it was a wig. :) They attempt to make new hair do's for me.
Another child named Monica writes me letters everyday. I always write back. Two days ago she wrote me a whole page. She talked about her childhood, her father's death, and how she was sad not to have a father. She and I talked later that day about she would see her father in Heaven again and that she has 35 brothers and sisters here. She also was sad that she didnt have a brother and wanted to see a picture of my brother. She seems sad alot and it breaks my heart. Her mother is still living but has no way to provide for Monica, or Monica's sister Mary. Her mother comes and visits the children once a month.
I spend about 25 percent of my time working at the Church connected with the Orphanage. I went to a "Section Group" which is where several family members of the church gather for prayer, devotion, and support. Their stories amazed me, their faith inspired me, and their wisdom was divine.
When I went to bed on Saturday night the only thing I thought I would be doing at Church on Sunday morning besides attending was leading the devotion. I found out Sunday morning I would be teaching Sunday School and leading youth fellowship. I did some quick planning. I taught the youth group the game "Charades" and we talked about the verse 1 Timothy 4:12. I taught about Jonah in Sunday School. I had fish stickers so it was the best story I could think of in 2 minutes to plan. :) I find it interesting that EVERY time they meet they collect an offering and everyone tries to give. These people have alot less than "We" (Americans) have but they give everything they can to the church.
75 percent of my time is with the kids. I tutor and teach alot. I check their notes, school work, and homework every day. All 35. This is no easy task and takes a long time. I help the ones that need help if I understand the subject. (I know nothing about the government of Zambia, woodworking, or the local language) Alot of the children LOVE learning and are frustrated with their schools. The teachers dont teach all the time and they simply dont have enough work to do. I bought notebooks and in my free time create worksheets for the children to do. They LOVE them and fight over who gets to do the lessons. I teach Bible Study with them, lead prayers, and do alot of pastoral care with them. We might be simply playing a game and one of the children will want to talk about something in their life.
When returning home I want to help raise money for the children. There are several things on my "to do" list for them. They have no books so I would like to raise money for that and they hope to build another building soon. If you are interested in helping, please let me know. They also ALWAYS need money for food.
One final note - I am living with the director/pastor and his family. They are wonderful and have truly welcomed me. The food is good, bathroom is clean, and they give me enough privacy. Its fun to interact with the children (4 of them - 3 boys and a girl ages 14, 12, 10, 8, I think). I hated the food while in Japan but I can honesty say I have enjoyed every meal here. Its been fun learning to live with total strangers but we have quickly become a family. I am so grateful for that.