I have no big story or revelation to share today, just life as “normal” here. I’m nearing the end of my journey and although I’m exhausted and overwhelmed, God has infused me with His strength to carry on. I want to finish strong and leave a lasting impression for His glory in the lives of the people He has put in my path here.
God has been revealing to me how He works in so many different ways. Sometimes He asks us to be bold and proclaim His truth with words, and other times He asks us to reveal His love simply be listening or acts of service. On Thursday nights, I go to a homeless shelter and sit with a 70 year old Indian man and listen to him carry on about years gone by. On a recent Thursday night, I began having doubts about how affective I was really being. While I was on my way there I started thinking, am I wasting my time? But then God quietly reminded me of the life of Christ and how he devoted His life to the needs of other people. He reminded me that a life modeled after Christ, is one that requires you to take your eyes off of yourself. And during the time that I sit and listen to Roy share what’s on his heart and mind, my focus is taken off of myself and given to Roy. And when I serve Roy, I’m serving God….
“ Truly I saw to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Matthew 26:40
Another lesson God has been teaching me is how to love the unlovable. Two little girls come to mind when I think of this: Apiwe and Nonto. Nonto is one of my students, Apiwe is in third grade, and both live at the children’s home I go to on Saturdays. These little girls do not have any real friends, because they annoy or frustrate nearly everyone around them. Nonto is needy, always asking for things, and to any teacher out there who’s reading this…she’s one of those students who’s in her own little world and could care less if she totally misses everything you say. Apiwe is a little mentally slow and awkward to all of her peers. She just can’t seem to socially relate and is naturally left out. To put it bluntly, these 2 girls are not the ones you would naturally cling to and fall in love with. But oh do they need love! They need to be treasured and adored and treated like the little princesses they are. They need stability. Apiwe was taken from her home in 1st grade because her step father raped her…on a regular basis. The mother knew about it but didn’t say anything out of fear. When the neighbors would hear her screaming, the step father would just pop his head out and say that she is refusing to eat her food. This went on for a long time, until someone finally stepped in. Now she’s living in an orphanage and is scarred in so many ways. She is only in 3rd grade and is always trying to act provocative; she doesn’t know what normal is. Nonto’s story isn’t allowed to be shared, but it is obvious abuse was prominent. If you could be around her for just 5 minutes, you would easily see this little girl has had a life of trauma at such a young age. When I first started teaching, she really frustrated me. But then God put such a soft spot on my heart for her. I long so bad to take her home with me and raise her in a stable, loving family, like every child deserves to have. These girls need such love, and they are just 2 among so so many.
As my time here is starting to come to an end, the fact that I have to leave Nonto and all of my other babies is beginning to sink in. I am very excited to be home again, but it is going to tear me apart to leave these precious ones behind. Their lives are filled with such chaos and destruction, and I’ve strived to create a place of peace and safety for them, but will that remain when I leave? At the end of last week, one of my students told me that several other boys in my class have been taking pieces of chalk into the bathroom, crushing them under their shoes, and then sniffing them like drugs. This obviously wouldn’t make you high, which means they are just doing it to pretend like they’re doing drugs. They are 7 and 8 years old might I remind you. They see older brothers, fathers, uncles, and friends using drugs so often that it is such a normal thing for them. My heart broke, as it seems like that is where there lives are heading.
And that’s why it all comes back to TRUST: the biggest lesson God has been teaching me since I left on 2 ½ months ago. Just like I have learned to trust Him to protect me, to give me strength for each day, and to work out situations that seem hopeless, I have to trust Him that He will take care of these precious children when I leave and place someone else in their lives that can be light to them in this dark world. For as much as I love them, I know He loves them an unfathomable amount more. They are in His care. God commands us to plant His seeds, but He never promises that we’ll be around to watch them grow.
I have several things I would love for you to pray for: I was able to send some of the girls from Mayville, the slum where I lead Bible study on Sunday afternoons, to a girls retreat this past weekend. They had never experienced anything like this before and were so excited. Please pray that the truths they heard over the weekend would sink into their hearts and change their lives. I also will be passing out Bibles to all of the girls today, so please pray God will open their hearts to His Word, so they can learn to depend on it for the remainder of their lives. This is also my last week of school, so please pray the transition is easy on both me and my students. And that I will shine brighter for Christ than ever before during my last few days with them. I also will be leading a “Teaching English and Phonics” workshop to a group of teachers at a very poor farm school not too far away next Monday. Please pray for wisdom and confidence, as I try to help the teachers prepare for teaching a language not their own to their students next school year. And finally, please pray for safety for my Bradley as he leaves on Friday to come here!!! He will be arriving Saturday morning and will be spending my last week here with me, and then we will be leaving together the following Saturday to come home.
There is so much work to be done during these next 2 weeks. My hearts’ cry is that every moment left here will be spent bringing Him glory. For He alone is worthy!!!
Thanks for the prayers!