Thanks to Jackie's parents we have had a good few days this past week to be able to just have some quality family time away, without much of an agenda, to see some of the beauty of God's creation that is the E Coast of South Africa and to be able to sit back and reflect on the past few months and the incredible journey we have been on.
It’s hard to believe our time in Zimbabwe is over and we are heading into the second part of our trip here in South Africa.
After we left Lasting Impressions in Kadoma and the wonderful Croudace family, we headed over to Chinoyi. For those that have been on Facebook, we kinda did a picture chronicle of our time there, as we had internet access, but not much time to sit and keep a journal.
We spent a good majority of our time there visiting with everyone at the Good Shepherd Center. Daniel Timothy and Abby just had the best time there, playing and making new friends with the children their age.
We have been so proud of them this whole trip, as the Lord has just given them each individually a very tender and unjudgemental heart towards whoever we have been with. When Jesus talks about “suffering the little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven, and that whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Mark 10) this portion of scripture, has truly come to light for us, in watching how our children just go adapt to wherever we take them and just jump right in and get on with life, and how much we have learnt by just watching their example of how we are called to love and do life.
A major concern for some in bringing our children on this trip had been their exposure to children with ‘you know HIV and AIDS’ how could we do that, but how much more blessed is it to give than to receive and to be in the center of the Lords will. Knowing He is forming our childrens hearts just as much as He is ours during all the seasons of our lives and that Jesus, in making this statement in Mark, truly does know best, in that children are so less judgemental than us adults with all our perceived ideas and agendas, they just accept each other where they are, regardless of race or language barriers, find their common ground and get on with life! and enjoy it to the fullest.
What a blessing to be able to bathe sweet Abby (all 5 years of her) at night and scrub (literally) the dirt off of her little feet and body, and listen to her relay the excitement of her afternoon spent running around barefoot, playing with children, new puppies, pushing each other round in wheelbarrows, all with children she cannot understand verbally, but with whom she has had such a wonderful time playing and interacting with.
The Good Shepherd family and those that serve and do life with them, are a precious group of souls. We did not have any one particular project with them, but instead chose to just spend time with them, visiting every day. Much counseling and parenting advice with dispensed to many of the teenagers from us. Many of the younger girls especially just want to walk and go with you and hold your hand, and be close to you. As a mom you just want to stay with them and tuck them all in at night, and pray over their sweet lives, asking the Lord to give them a mom and dad everyday to hold their hand and walk through this oftentimes cruel world with them. However it is sweet to watch how some of the older ones ‘mother’ the younger ones, like sweet Rejoice who at 10 and has such a tender heart, and carries one of the 18month old babies around with her and plays with her, feeds her and mothers her every moment she can.
Possibly our favorite day with the kids was one Saturday, we had set aside some funds, to throw them a birthday party – we asked the Mothers to draw up a menu and we went shopping and bought loads of good foods, and treats and got some cakes baked, and then threw a birthday party complete with balloons and napkins and glow sticks for everyone. For us our childrens birthdays, out of all the holidays and special days we have in the US, we choose to focus most of our energies on the day the Lord chose for them to be born into this world, so with 60plus extra kids in tow, we had a big birthday bash and celebrated each of their lives, and let them know how special they all our in the Lords sight.