It is 10pm. In just a few hours I need to be up and ready for work, but I can't seem to sleep. For the past few weeks I have been waking up from a dream. It is hard to describe. I am not even sure you could call it a dream. I am in bed, freezing...I am back in Africa. I hear dogs barking and people yelling in a language I can not understand. Oh how I wish I knew what they were saying. A smell fills my nose and I wake up, but I still smell it. I can't even describe in words how bad the odor is, but I can tell you what it is. It is the smell of a 3 day old child found at the bottom of a toilet pit. I have been home for 9 months and I still smell him. The first thing we did when he came to BG was given him a bath. Even though he was bathed with soap and lathered with Vaseline, I still smell the odor of the pit.
As I lay here tonight, I wonder...
I wonder if his mother kept her promise when I handed him back to her. She said she would not do it again.
I wonder if he is still alive, how big is he. He has to be around 10 months old. He was so small when he came to us. So fragile.
I wonder if he is healthy.
I wonder if he is loved in the way every child should be.
I wonder how big his smile is, or if he smiles.
I wonder about the children at the bottom of the pits that are never found.
I wonder a lot of things, and then I pray.
I pray his mom kept her promise.
I pray he is big.
I pray he his healthy.
I pray he is loved.
I pray for the children at the bottom of the pit who now sleep in the arms of Jesus.
I also pray that by me writing this, I can sleep a little tonight.
Monday, April 4, 2011
There are some days when it feels like I left for Africa yesterday and there are some days when I feel like it happened 10 years ago, but the fact is, I left for Africa April 7, 2010. The past few weeks I have been reflecting a lot about my time at Beautiful Gate. While there I learned one very important lesson...Jesus is enough for me. While caring for the children, I saw joy. While seeing those who have NOTHING, I saw joy. While having everything striped away, I experienced joy. Joy that you can't describe unless you have walked through it. Joy that came with the pain of caring for a child that just wouldn't eat and was extremely thin, or caring for a child that spent their first 3 days of life at the bottom of a 6 foot deep toilet pit. But it was also a joy that came with seeing 10 children united with their family. Seeing 10 moms meet their kids and watching them love them. Joy that comes, when that child eats, or when the scares from the bugs and feces have healed. Joy that can only come through the Father. Living in Africa and proclaiming that Jesus is enough for me is just one side of the story, another huge side is coming home and discovering life is completely different and finding yourself questioning again, is Jesus enough. Since being home I have walked through a lot of journeys that brought pain, confusion and joy. Since being home, I have walked a journey similar to the one I experienced in Lesotho. You see, since being home, I feel like I have been striped away of everything that seemed right, again. There were no more children calling out my name every morning. No more children expecting me to make them breakfast, get them dress and play with them. No more children to look for me when they got hurt and needed someone to hold them. Also, since being home, relationships are different. I experienced it right away, but was hoping it would change. I feel distant from people that I was extremely close with. I feel alone in a large group of people and try to find away out of social gathering I used to crave to be invited to. In Africa, it was easy for me to say that Jesus was enough, because He was all I had. When I returned home, it got harder to experience God the way I did in Lesotho and because of that I became distant from the purpose of my four months in Africa. I became distant from God. Then something happened, I got sick. I started feeling bad in September, but didn't want to alarm anyone, so I toughed it out until I couldn't anymore and on January 12, I walked into Holland Hospital and had surgery, but also had some work done on my heart. God striped away relationships, and he striped away health and the chance to give birth to my children and I believe he wanted me to be reminded of the questioned he asked in Africa. "Am I enough for you?" My answer is Jesus, you are more than enough. So here I am a year later and I am still journeying. I still have days when my arms feel so empty and I feel like a hypocrite handing out a $5 beverage at work, when there are millions of children dying from dirty water. There are moments when my heart is so heavy and I feel so alone, that I just can't breathe, but then God's still voice comes in and some how I know it will be okay. When Jesus appear to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection, she was so excited. I imagine she felt like life was going to be like it was. Jesus was back and his ministry would begin again. But He had other plans. Life wouldn't be like it was, He was not going to stay this time, but His ministry would go on. His ministry lives through you and me. Every time you smile at someone, you share God's love. Every time you comfort someone, you share God's compassion. Every time you take a moment and realize you are not in control and the person who is, is telling you everything will be okay, you are saying, "Jesus, you are enough for me." Life has been different the past year. In everything I know Jesus is more than enough and I know that life will never be like it was before I left for Africa. Even though there are moments when I feel completely alone and question what is next, I am trusting that God has a plan, because I know...Jesus is enough.