It is crazy to think that this adventure is almost over. Between the planning, packing, travel, and all the time with the children in Zambia - this has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I have seen the hand of God in everything from the planning, staying healthy, the ability to renew my visa after some complications, special moments with the children, and tutoring everyday.
I bought "sweeties" (candy) at the market and gave all the children a piece today. They rarely get candy so it was a special treat for them. One of the girls named Marcy, instead of eating her piece of candy, decided to go give it to Bernard because he always provided for her, so she wanted to give him something in return. It touched me so much that she was willing to give up her treat to say thank you.
I wanted to share a touching story of the twins Joseph and Mary who are the youngest children here. Bernard and Betty, the directors, went to a church conference about 5 years ago. They saw an old women carrying two infants and helping a physically challenged woman. The old women knew that Bernard and Betty cared for orphans and vulnerable children. She asked if there was any way they could take Joseph and Mary. At that time the Orphanage was not built, so Bernard and Betty promised that one day they could take Joseph and Mary. Joseph, Mary, their mother, and the old woman who was their grandmother lived in a tiny tiny tiny shack where Joseph and Mary slept on a piece of plastic outside....Today, Joseph and Mary live at Front Porch Orphanage. They each have their own beds, three meals a day, take showers daily, and have the love of the staff and the other 35 children here. Joseph hates getting his hair cut. One time he screamed "they’re putting fire on my head" when the person was cutting his hair. Joseph loves giving me hugs and Mary loves singing "Amazing Grace" although she has only learned the first few lines of the song… so far so she sings them over and over again. On video Joseph said “I pray for Jesus. I pray for Jesus” when I asked him to say something to everyone. These two children have captured my heart and I am so grateful to God that they have a bed now.
On Saturday some of the small children were my "special helpers" and helped carry my laundry that had been hanging outside to dry back to my room. I told them thank you for being my "special helpers." They wanted to stay and play in my room so we listened to a song and danced. Then before I realized it, they were going through my trash. They wanted my empty boxes and broken glasses to play with. At first, I told them to put it back but then I realized that since they have no toys and the trash provided their toys. The next day at Sunday School, one of the boys brought the broken glasses to show everyone his new toy. God can use our trash in the strangest ways to bless others.
I start my travel back home on Monday which will include 2 days of bus rides, 2 plane trips, and a lay over. I will arrive back on Thursday. I ask for prayer for me during this time because traveling is physically demanding and quite tiring. I also ask for special prayer for the children and staff as we transition my departure. I have written all the children and staff individual letters and prepared my final sermon, yet I know it will be very tough saying goodbye to all the children. I have seen God in each one of them and how they are so special in God's eyes.