I don’t really know where to begin. This past week and a half has been a whirlwind, much of it spent being in awe at God’s amazing work.
Words could not express how excited I was for Kala and Kelsey to arrive; to have family here with me, understanding what it is I see everyday. I knew they were bringing a lot of supplies, but oh my goodness I could not have prepared myself for the crazy amount that they brought. When they rolled in those seven, stuffed suitcases and opened them all up, I was speechless. I just sat there, completely in awe at your generosity. As we began to dig through all of them, my mind started running a million miles per hour thinking of all of the ways these supplies could be used. I had to sit back and close my eyes for a second and just pray for wisdom to know where each and every donation should be placed. It was quite an overwhelming task organizing it all. (a good overwhelming, I might add) Items were counted and separated based on type and need. Finally, we finished and our end result was one suitcase full of teaching supplies for the math teacher, one suitcase full of teaching supplies for the literacy teacher, one HUGE suitcase full of school supplies for the students, a suitcase full of lunchboxes and water bottles for the students, a suitcase full of children’s clothing, AND another HUGE suitcase full of toys and nail polish and all things random. Yeah, it was insane. God is good.
I feel like I could just leave it at that and everyone could leave amazed at God’s goodness. But I suppose since you were the ones to give, you deserve to know where your donations went. =) Friday morning rolled around and us 3 girls took the 2 suitcases for the teachers, the huge one full of school supplies and the other huge one full of lunchboxes and water bottles. We arrived early to meet with the teachers and get organized, and we ended up spending a good portion of our morning trying to keep kids out of the classroom. Haha The teachers were amazed…they are still talking about how shocked they were today. I kept telling them my sister and cousin was bringing a ton of supplies, but I don’t think they had any idea it would be that much. They couldn’t believe they each had their own bag full of supplies to teach with. (and let me assure you, those teaching supplies are already being used literally everyday) They LOVED it. And those words don’t even do it justice. Then, we got to laying things out on students’ desks. It was so fun! I couldn’t wait for the kids to be let in. They were so excited! I wish each one of you could have been there to see how appreciative they were. It was amazing. And let me personally thank you, because teaching since that day has been SOOOO much better. No longer am I CONSTANTLY interrupted with, “I don’t have any rubber” (eraser), or “I don’t have any Prittz” (glue), or “I don’t have a pencil.” They all have now and are putting it to wonderful use! At the end of the day, we passed out the lunchboxes and water bottles. I think the kids were in shock at all of the surprises. And it was so fun to see them using all of there new things the next week. All three of us were flooded with thank you notes from both students and parents.
While the majority of the donations went to the school, there was still a large amount left to be distributed elsewhere. On Sunday, we headed to Mayville (the slum) with bookbags stuffed full of all the clothes. We met with a group of girls that get together every Sunday afternoon for a discipleship-type group and got to spend time laughing and learning with them in a tiny one-room “house”, and then leave them with all of the clothes. Because of going there that day, it has now opened the door for me to go back each Sunday and lead a Bible study for them. Today, I went and was flooded with questions about how to recover from rape and abuse. These are YOUNG girls, and these are real problems they face everyday. I am very nervous for such a deep task, but at the same time I am so excited that God has granted me the privilege to spend time talking to these girls about His Word and mentoring them through life’s difficulties.
And the giving still didn’t stop there. =) On Monday after school, we took the huge suitcase full of toys, balloons, make-up, nail polish and all kinds of random fun things to St. Martins, the children’s home I go to on Saturdays where several of my students live. The kids were CRAZY EXCITED! It was mad chaos distributing it all, but it was so wonderful to bring so much joy to them through such simple things. Because of this distribution, I have been welcomed there with more open arms and was even allowed to take a few of the girls out of the orphanage to buy them lunch this past Saturday. The kids at this orphanage crave attention. When I was there yesterday, the little ones fought endlessly to sit on my lap and be closest to me to hear me read them stories. The littlest things mean so much to them, so you can imagine what huge suitcase full of new toys did for them.
Are you tired of reading? Cause I haven’t even told you the best parts yet. =) We were able to use money that was contributed to pay for the tuition of 3 students at Carrington who didn’t have the money to return the next year. These 3 students were carefully chosen, because they each only have 1 more year left before high school, and in order to apply for high school here, you have to have a clean slate. And if you can’t afford Carrington, which is really cheap, that means you’ll be going to a school in the slum, with next to no chance of making it to high school. The money was given and the 3 students were told on the last day the girls were here. The principal was crying and the children were speechless. It was a beautiful moment.
And then finally, there’s Mary. Meeting Mary on the girls’ last night here was a direct intervention from God. There’s so much I want to tell you about Mary, but it will have to wait until my next post. I think I’ve given you enough to chew on for now. All I ask for you to do right now is to pray. Pray for her safety, and pray for wisdom for myself as I figure out how to help her. I promise I will explain in detail soon.
I think it’s easy to see how huge of an impact your gifts have made. 56 second grade students. 2 teachers. 3 sixth grade students. 1 principal. 80 orphans. 25 girls from the slum. 1 sweet girl and her baby from the streets. All of these and so many more were hugely impacted by your gifts, including myself. And the best part is that the giving of these gifts has led to so many open doors for me to continue to share the love of Jesus and His message while I am here. It will not just last until the lead runs down on a pencil or a balloon pops, it has the potential to last for all eternity, because those pencils and balloons, those math bingo games and crotched hats, those toothbrushes and pencil sharpeners, have opened the door for me to share about Christ’s love. It’s amazing what God can accomplish through us when we’re willing to make the sacrifice.
Thank you all.
If I may, I would like to personally ask for some intense prayer. It was extremely difficult to see the girls leave this past Thursday. I miss home so incredibly much, yet I know there is so much more God has for me to accomplish here. When they left, I felt so overwhelmed at all the tasks set before me, like there was no way I could manage it all on my own. And you know what I’ve learned? I can’t do it on my own. I am in desperate need of God’s strength to get through each day. Please pray that I am flooded with His strength and joy, so I can effectively minister for His gospel while I am here.
Less of me God, more of You.