I love waking up in Africa. Instead of an annoying alarm clock, the sweetest sound of praise from dozens of African boys, the sound of their precious voices pouring through the open windows of our little room… there is nothing in the world like it. If only every morning could be like this…
The boys start their day together with bible study. Like, real, ACTUAL bible study. They gather in the dining hall with a big drum and a few bibles, open with the purest worship you’ve ever heard or seen, and listen as one of the older boys stands in the center of the room to lead the bible study. Today it was Christian, such a passionate young man of God. After some teaching from the scriptures, the floor is open to any who have a question or contribution. You do not interrupt each other in this space, and no question is too small to be asked. The boys are serious during this time, quiet and attentive. There is not whispering or horsing around, even the little 5 year olds close their eyes and raise their hands to worship and sit quietly through the long lesson. This time is sacred and more powerful than I think they realize, because of the way they ARE together. It’s community in the truest sense, without trends or agendas or food or small talk. Their patience and respect for listening to one another, learning with one another, wrestling and processing through truths together is done in such a pure way that people in America would be mind blown… and then go organize committees to oversee boards to commission authors to write strategy books to sell for all to implement this super effective group study style. But, it’s not a program or a format… they simply LISTEN to each other, they RESPECT the Word of God, and more than we could ever imagine – THEY VALUE THE GIFT OF LEARNING. You don’t have to tell them how precious education or God’s Word is. For us it’s a luxury, but for them, learning is all they have.
Morning glory here, is grabbing my coffee and walking into their resounding worship to join them, and then just sitting quietly as I sip and soak in all of their processing, watching their engagement and interaction, in awe of their raw questions, and gleaning from their deep digging… mmmmmMMMM. Does my soul something beautiful to be in this space.
One of the first things my amazing husband notices about the boys home is the busted basketball goal. Within minutes of seeing it, he is figuring out a way to take it down and FIX IT. A swarm of boys gather around him and before long he has let go of the project and has put the tools in their hands, teaching them how to use them and guiding the project. And, the boys are eating it up. Seeing them work together… seeing my husband here in this place, loving on those boys and working with them. Everywhere he is, he is a loving leader and teacher.
God, I love that man.
God, I love that man here.
I’m just over here with my camera and “tablets”. Ibuprofen are like gold around here. The boys have so many physical things they deal with from headaches to stomachaches, dental problems and eye infections, etc. Theo has been in his bed for the better part of 2 days feeling ill and with some kind of painful infection on his lip that looks like multiple popped fever blisters. Hassan, one of the new boys that I quickly fell in love with, has giant swelling on his lower jaw from some kind of tooth infection, as well as some time of skin rash. Of course I had to ask him about it because has hasn’t uttered a single complaint, although he’s in almost constant pain. We took the boys down to the nurse at the girls orphanage to see if they needed to go to the hospital. I got to show Chris around the girls home and take some pictures of them while Pastor was in a meeting. Oh how wonderful it was to see all of the BEAUTIFUL AFRICAN QUEENS!! They are just scattered upstairs and downstairs, chatting, braiding, washing… being women. 🙂 And their SMILES!!! They, too swarmed to Chris and he, of course, pestered them all until they each felt special and noticed.
It amazes me how my husbands very presence is healing and life-giving. It is for me, and I notice it when I watch him with others, too. Especially kids. 🙂
Before long, one of the children called to us that Pastor needed to speak with us privately about something very urgent.
Pastor gave me an adamant “NO” to the boys going to the hospital. He proceeded to tell us that he just received news that the hospital had been closed due to a death caused by ebola. He called a meeting at the church with some of the children and shared his great concern, need for prayer and caution, and instructed us to use lots of antibacterial soap and… well, that’s about all we can do right now.
I’m like, what?? This thing is KILLING people.. so, SANITIZE? And what about Hassan and Theo?? We don’t have what they need and they cannot get medical help until God only knows when? Am I to look into their eyes with “I’m so sorry” and nothing else? How do I comfort them and what else can we do? Until we can get money for the right meds or the hospital opens, or transportation to show up (a miracle in itself sometimes) to do anything, we can do…
Welcome to the Wellington Village in Africa. Where precious children don’t just need to EAT MORE, they need all the same things your children and my children need, like a dentist and glasses and ointments and all the things we walk out of Wal Mart with that costs us a good couple hundred bucks in a BLINK – for just our ONE family. No wonder they are so patient and content. Even in the midst of toothaches and tummy aches, pain and sickness is a reality for them often and not easily, and never quickly, alleviated.
“I have learned in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content…”
Philippians 4:3. That is what I aspire to. That is what they actually are.
The only thing better than Africa mornings is Africa nights with the boys. The few sweet hours before sleep, as many boys as can fit will huddle around our door or spread out on the veranda or squeeze between a section of bunk beds for late night talking. WE are just TOGETHER… the sweetest time sharing, laughing, getting to know them so deeply and seeing firsthand their spirits and whole countenance brighten and lift jsut from being with us. What a sacred privilege… the most incredibly humbling thing oppportunity, to simply be with them and for just your presence to be hope and life to them. I can’t even describe it, what it feels like in my soul to sit with them. Tonight, the huddle included the hilarious David Alimamy who keeps us rolling, my big little brother Dauda, Foday Mark who selflessly loans his clothes and shoes to my son, Joe who has been serving us constantly since we arrived, my beautiful nephew, Lamin, the new head boy, Ibrahim ,who we absolutely adore that wide smiling Francis, and of course, my sweet African son, Jamie.
Still no generator for light, but we carried on anyway.