1.27.2012

Experiencing Joy

She knocks politely on my door but I am too focused on reading my bible that I don't hear the knock. My door slowly opens and before I know it she is lying down on my bed with me, book in her hand. I shut my bible and smile back at her. As I open the book she grabs one of my pillows on the bed and snuggles up. This is the third time I've read this book to her this week but she still chooses it every time. I get her to read the words like "to, I, am, you" etc hoping that her English would improve a little. Halfway through the book I look down at her to see if she is following but her eyes are shut and she is sleeping soundly. I take a mental picture in my mind and thank God for her. She is so precious to me. Every child that I live with is. I try to carry this little girl in grade 1 back to her bed without waking her but I get interrupted by the other girls playing chase upstairs when they should be getting ready for bed. She opens her sleepy eyes and smiles at me once more. When I put her into her bed she tells me she loves me and instantly shuts her eyes again. She seems so at peace tonight and I thank God for being a part of this boarding house life...
Yesterday she cried missing her family and for being bullied at school but as I shut out the light and look back at her all I see is peace. I know their are angels around her. 

Life at the boarding house is starting to have routine again.. and for that I am so thankful. I know the nine new children now (a bit about each) and can successfully spell and for the most part say their names. In the two weeks of being at the boarding house I have about 30 short stories like the one above that I could share. Every child is just so precious to me. My prayer since day 1 has been for the Lord to give me his eyes in every situation of my trip. I want to do the "God thing" in every situation so bad, despite screwing up almost daily. As I fall deeper in love with the Lord I fall deeper in love with the children, my job, my co-workers and South Africa in general. More and more of my heart is here and I know as the months grow on the connections I build will only be stronger.

Since there has been no new hospital trips and the halfway mark is approaching I am starting to feel at home. For the first time since I got on an air plane and flew halfway across the world things are starting to have a rhythm to it all (key word is starting). I want to let you know that I am happy. Truly happy. Yes, this experience has been hard but I didn't want this year to be easy. Even though their are struggles that I am facing and many things that I wrestle with daily I know that nothing is impossible with my God and that He is always taking care of me. I love resting in that fact!

I wish I could summarize the past two weeks better for you but it just takes SO long and you get bored reading so much text. On Monday, Thursdays and Fridays mornings I now teach computer classes to unemployed people in the area. The students range from a 17 year old who wants to bring her 3 week old baby to class, to a refugee from the Congo, to a Gogo who can't speak English let alone turn on a computer to a middle class man who just lost his job and looking to learn more about computers. Let's just say my class is filled with the coolest people and I learn so much just from chatting with them about their lives. I also am so excited to teach this course to them because it empowers them & that is the main reason I am here this year- is to empower. To help people believe that they are on this earth for a reason- that they have a purpose and a God who is crazy in love with them.

Also I have the opportunity to focus on early childhood education. I got to travel a bit in these last few weeks to a school and a creche (pre school) to see what the major needs are. I am hoping to compose a binder and kits to take to the creche's who really have next to nothing. It breaks my heart every time to see what people live in just around the corner from where I stay. Babies who sit on a mat day after day after day...it's hard to have my heart broken but it's made me realize over and over again what is really important; what matters in life.

Just know that your prayers are being heard and that even in the midst of struggle, oppression and suffering there is so much laughter, joy and hope

Neliwsa loves using my camera to take lots and photos and the other girls love to pose

I had to post this picture because the child's face in the bottom left is priceless!

I love the children that I live with

Last Tuesday I had the awesome opportunity to fit 400 smelly children's feet with new shoes. This is a grant that Gateway received to help out this school in a rural area.

Sam trying on new pair of shoes for a little girl

these children will receive a new pair of shoes! Shoes they desperately need.

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