Wednesday, September 5, 2012

African Safari

Of my previous 3 trips to the continent of Africa I have never traveled to a part that had any wildlife one would usually consider traditionally African.  However, this trip to Kenya in East Africa provided me with the opportunity to go on a Safari at the Nairobi National Park.  I was one of several team members who decided to take this great opportunity to go on safari and let me tell you, it was so cool.  We got to see a wide variety of African animals and we had such a good time.  There are lots of stories I could tell about the day but I know that it's the pictures you really care about.






















Funny story about our approach to the lions.  Someone was video taping the lions and apparently my "flight" mode must have kicked in.  I have been told I was mildly freaking out about how close we were getting to the lions.  Can't wait to see/hear that for myself.











God is great and mighty and seeing His creative handiwork was such a magnificent experience. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Victorious Joy Children's Home

I have never been to an international orphanage before this trip so knowing that we would be visiting with children for a day during this trip was of great excitement to me.  This day was a mixture of a whole lot of emotions.  Incredible joy mixed with incredible sorrow.  Seeing the bright, happy joyful faces of the kids was incredible.  Knowing that they are loved within the walls of their home was reassuring.  But, they would never know family in the sense that I do, nor would they ever even have that opportunity.  Children at this home can never be adopted.

Part of the difficulty of the day was that we didn't really "do" anything.  We sat and talked, painted nails, sang songs, smiled, played games and just tried to love on everyone there as best as we could in the short amount of time we had.  Our team had raised funds to put in a bathroom/bathing area for the orphanage.  While that might sound like a lot it really was just a cement slab with some drainage in it.  It is hard to imagine how that is better than what they had but believe me when I say that it is. 

We spent some time in the streets surrounding the orphanage as well. We played games, painted nails, taught them songs.  I taught the kids several different camp songs and the favorite was Ha la la la la.  The kids laughed and played and it was great. Except when it was hard.  When a single mother approaches you and asks for money, when you can't even begin to understand how the size of the school could accommodate the number of children in attendance, when you feel like there is nothing you have to offer....it's tough. 

God grew a lot of hearts on our team that day.  It was short, we all felt inadequate and many of us didn't see that we made any difference whatsoever.  It is in moments like these that I must remember that God see all and knows all.  So, little Chantalle is not without a loving father, Bryan does have a future mapped out by His Creator, Mama Rose and Mary depend on the supernatural love of their Savior Jesus Christ to help them pour out everyday into the lives of the children they live with and teach.  

Words cannot adequately express the pictures my mind and heart took that day nor can I understand how anything our team did that day could make a lasting impact. Then again, I don't have to.  I serve a great God who is able to do abundantly more than any of us could ask or imagine.  I don't have to understand everything or have all the answers. I don't have to take on the responsibility to do it all.  I just need to trust the One who engraves every one of His children in the palm of His hand to watch out for them. 

Blessed Lord, I pray for the children and teachers at Victorious Joy Children's home.  I pray that You would minister to them and bless them in ways that I could never understand.  You have a future and a hope for each of those kids and I pray that Your love would surround and protect each of them as they grow up.  Strengthen the women who run the home and give them the wisdom to love with Your love.  I pray dear Jesus that You would intercede on their behalf.  Amen.

Mama Rose and Chantalle

Chic-Fil-A cows we gave away

The boys room

Giving away silly bands





Finger painting - I brought home quite a beautiful collection if you ever want to see them



Courtney and Scola

If you can't tell, this little cutie had quite the larger than life personality.  The youngest child at the orpahnage but such a great spirit.  She definitely stole a few hearts during our visit. Enjoy watching her with a soccer ball.