While in Malawi (a small country in Africa) at an Orphanage for three weeks, I kept a blog. A little background, the Orphanage houses 99 boys and girls providing for them along with giving them the opportunity to have the best education in Africa. This post is a little out of the ordinary, as it shares more from my perspective and a bit less of the story of others. It is important however, that you see where my heart is and the purpose for this blog. It stems from experiences like these that shook me and keep moving me to love the “least” to this day.
24 June 2016
I have had many feelings the last few days. Don’t let that scare you away from reading this post, the feelings are not necessarily emotional as much as they are realizations that shake the soul. There are two contrasts I want to lay before you. Upon leaving my cottage this morning and going down to teach in the dining hall, I watched four small children yelling “Auntie Jamie,” run down a hill after me. I waved at them. There really is nothing in the world that makes someone feel more loved than someone so innocent running into your arms and loving you without you doing anything to deserve it.
I had the privilege to sit in on a devotion with some older girls Tuesday evening. We discussed God’s will for our lives and how He can make anything happen if we have faith. How we always need to pray and seek Him to know what he has planned for us. After the devotion, they asked me question after question about my life. Many times, it is difficult to relate to the children because their world is just so different from mine. The music, the culture, the food. It can be very hard to relate. Once we started discussing our fears though, fears about our safety, our futures, even small things like the fear of being alone and being in the dark (I sleep with the light on in my cottage), we were able to connect and honestly, we laughed quite a bit about how similar we were. Things that made us happy also, the LORD, thinking about Heaven, having friends and those we love to spend time with. These were also things we had in common. More and more I see, we are really not very different after all.
The children tomorrow have the opportunity to visit their families, if they have families, or distant relatives that are known. It is called Home Visit day. Many of the children are orphans because their parents could not take care of them or their grandparents raised them or something of that sort. There are some, however, that will stay here at the village. Part of me wonders what they must feel. The ones left here are ones that may have been found on the side of the road, in a toilet, or just wandering alone when they were very young. These ones have no known family to visit them.
Another heavy reality that struck me was when we visited the older boys’ house which is separate from all the younger kids. A little girl is staying here for the Home Visit weekend. This little girl has extra needs. She was diagnosed with liver cancer just a little while ago and already 70% of her liver is affected. Chemotherapy is no longer being considered and unless a miracle from God occurs, she will probably not survive to be an adult. Right now, her regimen consists of morphine for the pain and a small pill to unwind her intestines (a side effect of morphine). I am writing in a tone that is informative because, that is what I must do. [this precious girl passed away in August 2016 soon after I left; the funeral is shown above]
But inside, my soul aches about these realities. As you see, some of my feelings are light. But some are very heavy. I realized that I have been very selfish since I have been here and have not taken the time to really take a long look at the things that make me very sad. But these are the people that God loves. It is a lesson to myself and possibly to you. It is easier to focus on the fun times, to laugh. But sometimes, when your soul aches, that is when you know God is truly present. Because these are the people that Christ chose to love while He was here. When children have no families and a child is dying from cancer. All I can do. All you can do is pray. I am praying that He fixes this world, and makes things right. Because right now, things are just so incredibly wrong.
Thank God for the blessings He has given you today. As the children expressed their fears to me, I told to them that Heaven is a greater reward than all the things we fear that might hurt us now. Mostly reminding myself, not just them, of this truth. And one day we will know. One day we will see the purpose behind the brokenness. But right now, all we can do is pray during the sorrow and hold onto the hope we have for Heaven.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” 2 Corinthians 4:17