- knowing that what I'm doing is part of something far bigger than I am; that I am just a small part of God working in the lives of the kids and neighbors here in Kenya
- the kids' smiles and how their faces light up when I walk into their rooms to read to them or simply visit with them
- the smell of the earth after the rains (which it's doing more and more nowadays as we enter the rainy season)
- when some of the little ones come and crawl into my lap during movie time, take my arm and wrap it around them - knowing that though most of them have experienced some pretty bad stuff in their lives, but that they feel safe with me
- sitting with women in the neighborhood and hearing how the training they have received at ELI has given them Hope and dignity
- hearing the little ones pray
- receiving visiting teams and seeing as their eyes open to what God is doing in our midst
- receiving guests in my place
- crawling into bed at the end of a long day and hearing the crickets outside my window
- walking home after reading to the children and looking up at the stars
- finally taking hot showers in my own place after months of cold and/or luke-warm showers
- capturing the beauty of the children through my camera lense
- working with an incredible team of people
Another highlight this week will be helping out at ELI's second annual Guardian's Day. Most of our orphans do have some distant relatives, and one day a year all these relatives are brought in to come and visit. This is a MAJOR event, with 700 guests expected on Saturday. I'll be taking photos all day and printing photos for the relatives to take home with them. All but two kids, I believe, have relatives coming. Those two literally have no living relatives, and some of the visitors will be "mom" for the day and escort the kids on the tours, photo ops etc. My heart breaks for them!
Will you please pray for this event? Many of the kids came to us not knowing Christ, but are now believers. This is an opportunity for them to share Christ with unbelieving relatives. It is also a time of forgiveness. Last year, for example, one girl extended forgiveness to her relatives who had abused her while she was under their care. For some of the kids--especially the very little ones--it's a difficult day. Last year, some of them refused to acknowledge knowing their relatives for fear that they might be sent home with them again...
Please pray that the kids will be able to share Christ with their relatives this coming Saturday, that those who need to forgive will take the opportunity to do so, that those who are afraid for what the day may bring, will be flooded with God's peace. May prayer is that all the events of the day will be pleasing to God and bring Him glory, and that the kids--all 97 of them--will be able to go to bed with a smile on their faces that night.
After the event, I'll be flying to Nairobi with the team to facilitate debriefing as the other half of the team will be coming from our site in Tanzania. And then comes a very special treat. Good friends have offered me a time of R&R, so I'll be joining them for a week. I was going to fly on Thursday, but since I'll be in Nairobi by the weekend, I was able to change the first leg of my flight and will be able to spend 3 days with my sister in Pretoria. I'll be working, but will be with family. And after that, I'll spend a week with friends. A double blessing!
Though I'll be going away, I'll be needing to work inbetween things as we're heading into our summer filled with visiting teams. Part of my job involves making all the in-country arrangements for these visitors and making sure that once they're with us, that they're well taken care of. For me, this also includes meeting with individuals to talk about their experiences, praying with them, and answering the many questions they have about the things they are experiencing.
Another part of my job is to document stories of how God is working in and through Empowering Lives. To this end, I will be going to Southern Sudan sometime in May with a medical team. While they will be doing some much-needed medical work at our new center near the village of Kolmorek, I will document the events on film and serve the team and the Sudanese in whichever ways God leads.
Please pray for our preparations for this trip, including financial provision. You can read more about our work in Sudan on the ELI Blog.
Please do keep in touch, and please let me know how I can be praying for you. It is my honor to be lifting you before God's throne in prayer.