This is a picture of the sum total of a nine-year-old boy’s personal belongings (not including some stuffed animals on his bed. What do you see? Are you shocked at how little he has? This is what he sees: Order. Our kids come from chaos, often violence, unpredictability (will I be able to eat today?) and lack of care. He happily and expertly folds his clothes and carefully puts them away in his own space. His own space! Abundance. He has more than one shirt, pair of pants, socks, shoes, etc. They are all clean and they fit. When he outgrows his clothes or when the season changes, he gets more clothes and shoes. There are several loving people who make sure he is clothed and fed. The kids are young when they arrive and don’t realize they will begin to do something they have never done before and, likely, have been told is beyond their reach: They will begin to dream about a future.
During the pandemic we welcomed 13 new children. New children always arrive malnourished, bewildered, often in shock. M. has serious health issues, some children were extremely neglected, some abandoned, some came from loving homes but so impoverished the parents couldn’t care for them. Suddenly Social Services whisked them away from where they were and delivered them to us. New kids have no idea what to expect. We, including the all the “already-here” children, know exactly what to expect. We expect to love them and include them as members of our family. The children patiently guide the new ones through the schedules and routines. They remind them not to use bad words. They share all their things with them. Recently, our newest boy, exclaimed when yet another meal was put in front of him. “Food again!” It doesn’t take long for the new children to figure out they are in a good place, free from violence, full of love, with plenty of food. They learn a new meaning for “family.” As A., who has been with us since he was 14 months old said,
“I am thankful to God because here we have a large family. [A. is an orphan.] We have grandparents, aunts (caretakers) and the supervisors. The grandparents love us, the aunts are like mothers and the supervisors are like fathers. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t parents by blood, they are our parents through the Holy Spirit.”
Most important of all, this is where they meet Jesus. The truth is, it takes awhile for them to know Jesus. That’s ok. We do our devotionals, attend church, sing praise songs, pray together, and wait for the Holy Spirit to do His work.
I have been teaching some of the older kids English. I asked two of the girls to write 15 sentences while I made a quick trip to the US. To my surprise, they both wrote about their dreams. Naturally, the first sentence for each of them was, “When I am an adult, I will be a trillionaire!” M. wrote, “When I am an adult, I will have the best restaurant in the world.” C. wants to be a missionary and to be a role model for others. She wrote, “The best moment of my life was finding Jesus,” and “I thank God for giving meaning to my life.”
What we do here isn’t easy.
Some days I wonder how the staff puts one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes the kids have melt downs or go through very difficult phases. We all hang in there and hang on to Jesus as one day we celebrate a university graduation, or another day a mute child beginning to speak, or when a troubled child is smiling and opening her arms for a hug.
There is such joy in being a part of these transformations. It often feels like a miracle. Would you like to be a part of
that? There are so many ways. One way is by prayer: we believe strongly in the power of prayer. Another way is through sponsorship: many people enjoy special relationships with a child they sponsor and giving financially keeps food on our tables. Finally, and most fun for the kids, another way to help is visiting! The staff received their first vaccination (thanks be to God) and will be fully vaccinated by early fall. We are delighted to begin receiving teams in September. We long to share LAMB joy and hope with you!