That's how I feel tonight. Blessed. For more reasons than you'd want to read about. But here are some.
1. The kids came to church for the first time today. Actually, we were already an hour into church when I decided to walk to their home and hear if they could come to church. We had invited them, but I thought it might be good to actually go and get them, if Silas would let me. When I got to their home, Silas explained that the girls were still not home. (They had run away last night and were sleeping somewhere in the corn fields...) He was busy doing repairs to the home, so he seemed happy to let the boys come with me. I put clean clothes on and started the hike back to our center. A little while later, the girls joined us in church!
After church, it was amazing to see our children's home kids rally around the little ones! When I looked up, some of the older girls were over at the tap washing Joanna's arms... Wow, wow, wow. While I was checking with our director if it would be OK for the kids to join the team for lunch, our children swept the little ones up, took them to their playground, and by the time I got to them, they were all gathered praying for them!
At lunch, it was fun watching Joyce from the team teach the little ones how to properly wash their hands, and how to eat spaghetti the Italian way! I don't think they had ever had spaghetti, and here they had a lesson in how to eat it the right way! Little Richard (Kiprono) was on my lap, and I realized how tough it is to feed a baby spaghetti without getting it all over. When he had had enough, he spat out the last bite, and when I handed him over to a Kenyan mom so I could eat, he promptly fell asleep.
While I packed a lunch for their dad, I looked over to see little Brian being given the biggest hug by Nancy! It was so precious! It was as if they were practicing what they had being experiencing as I and others have been hugging them... And then the interns and I took the kids back home. Silas was relieved to see the girls, but didn't seem angry. He himself was cleaned up, the garden cleaned up and a pile of garden scraps was being burned. He seemed thankful for the plate of food we brought him... Tonight, when the interns went back to give the kids their evening dose of antibiotics, they said that everything was going well at the house.
We're still trying to get behind why the girls run away, so I'd appreciate your prayers. But we've been assured by the village elder who found the home for them that Silas is no longer drinking. He also says that there is a pit latrine, but just no wall around it. (They'd need to encouraged to use the latrine... There was feces right outside their front door today!) And someone here has said that they would employ Silas for a job and see how he does; we might be able to employ him more often for other jobs... Things are really moving in the right direction! There's still a long journey ahead, but there's hope!
2. I got two care packages today. One came from home in South Africa, carried by a colleague of my sister to Nairobi, then by a team to Kipkaren, then by staff from Kipkaren to the airport where both them and I were picking up guests. So as I'm writing, I'm enjoying treats from South Africa. The other came from friends in the USA (also brought by the team). Fun stuff like brownie mix, trail mix, stuff like that. Amazing gifts, both packages, from amazing people. I also got a note from a friend, one of the team members from my 2003 Mozambique team. She recently got married, and the wedding favors were a contribution to my account at ELI. I am amazed and blessed by every person who finds a way to be part of this work God is doing in this part of the world.
3. I spoke to both my goddaughters tonight. In fact, Clara had put a hand-written note in my care package, saying (in Afrikaans), "Adele, I love you. And I love your cat." That's good to know. Later, I spoke to her and her little soon-to-be 2-year-old sister Anja on the phone. My first real conversation with Anja by phone, though her parroting everything I say probably doesn't really count as a conversation... Nevertheless! It was good to talk with my girls.
4. Every time I go the the kids' home and come back to my place, I realize how very blessed I am. I have a clean home, running water, electricity, more food than I can eat, even entertainment, and good health.
And I have a cat chewing on my arm... I'd better turn off the computer so she realizes it really is time to sleep.
Thank you for being part of this journey.