For many of you who know, and some of you who do not.....we recently found a home church. When I say recently, I actually mean we have been attending pretty regularly since the beginning of June. Also, for those of you who know some of the events that have happened to me and us over the last few months, yes, this does coincide with what I would consider me reaching "rock bottom." I DO NOT think this is a coincidence. I very much believe it was "meant to be" if you believe in this sort of thing.
We kind of meant to "shop around" for a church a bit and try a few out. It just so happened, however, that the one we ended up in on that first Sunday in June, is a "keeper." Since then, we have really begun to get involved and get to know more and more people. This is AWESOME, but has been a bit slower than I anticipated.
Nate and I have been going to Sunday morning service and also each joined a Wednesday evening Bible study. Nate joined a Men's class and me a Women's. We are only two weeks in to it, but both feeling extremely positive about it. Two weeks ago in church, in the bulletin, there was an announcement of an African Children's Choir coming to the church the next week (which at this point is actually the most recent Sunday.) They needed homes to host the children as they were traveling, only for one night. I volunteered us, just because I thought we could accommodate. I didn't know if they would need us, but at least thought we would offer.
They did need us. So this past Sunday, we went to the church, not really knowing much to anticipate. We had been assigned to accommodate three girls. These children are all orphaned children from Uganda. As we were meeting them, I was a bit nervous. I don't really know why, I think it is because with "strange" children I don't really know what to do. Nate is funny and a real "kid-at-heart" and children sense this and gravitate towards him. We got to meet them for a few minutes and had a bite to eat with them, then they did their program and we brought them home.
These girls were amazing...polite, beautiful, easy to entertain. They had a ton of fun drawing on Nate's white board, playing with his stethoscope, and playing a few games we had around the house. They went to bed after I read them a scripture. On Monday morning we woke up and I made breakfast, which they LOVED. We had a sausage casserole and fruit and juice. They made their beds (which, please note were a blow-up mattress and our couch) and then we just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company. More games and they got to meet Hansy (whom we had tried to keep away the previous night, just due to the fact he is a bit barkey and Africans aren't used to dogs as pets as much as in the US).
As the morning drew to a close, and I prepared to take them back to the church, it began to hit me that this would probably have meant more to me than it had to them. It had just been an amazing experience. Also, these children have been staying in people's homes like this since May, basically one night at a time. Nate had left quite early that morning, and I don't really think I am anything remarkable.
However, as we got to the church the girls got a bit quiet. When they went to leave, the 5 year old, Sarah, came over and took my hand and hugged me with big tears in her eyes and said "Thank you and I love you and will keep you in my prayers" I LOST IT! Then it was basically a snowball effect of a lot of crying, on my part and these amazing African children.
I feel that I am not doing this story justice for quite what it meant to me. By all American standards, these children should have "nothing" to be thankful for. Sarah had told me at one point that her favorite thing about coming to the US was going to the dentist. WOW....you are so wise, the dentist is a privilege! These children have no parents, they have basically no material items.....and yet....THEY ARE GRATEFUL, FAITHFUL, and HAVE SO MUCH TO GIVE!
I never anticipated "reacting" to these little girls like this. In all honesty, I thought housing them for a night in our home would help them out. Little did I know how much it would help me. I LOVE YOU GIRLS! I WILL REMEMBER YOU ALWAYS! Since Monday I have just found my attitude better and my outlook better. I am SO GRATEFUL! Thanks again, it was just what I needed, and I know God knew that.
Surfing Sunday 01.21
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