Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh my, I had forgotten how much I DO NOT like internet here! I have been too enthralled with my children to tear myself away and go to town to find internet access, so please excuse the delay. The following are several journals of the last few days strung together..

Oh, if I could paint you a picture of my home… Beautiful just doesn’t suffice.
I guess I should start at the beginning.

Tuesday night my taxi from the airport was driving down the road to my house. About a block away from home the car was jumped on from all sides. Don’t worry, it was my children> I could hardly get out of the car in all the excitement and once I did, it was impossible to keep my balance because I was being squeezed and kissed from all sides. I wish you could have heard their shrieks and laughter as we ran and skipped and jumped all the way home, the bewildered taxi driver following.

You know the feeling when you have been away from home visiting people and finally come home to sleep in your own bed? Yea. It’s like that, only after 5 months. No one wanted to sleep of course but it was well after midnight so finally all 12 of us (oh, I have 11 little girls now... but that is another story for another time) piled into my bed and drifted to sleep. As I was laying there under my mosquito net and several children, I smiled just to think of their excitement upon seeing me. “Mommy, Mommy! Mommy! Welcome home!” they shouted. I think that must be a glimpse of Heaven: the angels shouting your name, Jesus saying, “Welcome home!”
I spent Wednesday playing. Making 28 pieces of cinnamon toast, nothing 11 little girls and rubbing their beautiful brown skin with lotion (Aveno with menthol ladies!), changing sheets, doing laundry, mopping the floor, dancing, jumping rope, singing, coloring and laughing. At dinner we were all still in pjs and ended the day by watching Charlotte’s Web on my laptop (thanks May family!). My kids thought the idea of a talking pig was the most hysterical thing they had ever heard of; I think we fell asleep laughing.

Thursday I walked around the 6 villages our program serves visiting our children and even adding some. We have now grown from 156 to 202, and counting! I was once again devastated and blown away by the extreme poverty, the horrible circumstances in which beautiful children are living. I returned home with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. To see the state of destitution these children come from and then compare them to the children who have been in our program for a year, who not only look healthier but so much happier, is incredibly encouraging. Their eyes have a new light. They are stronger, cleaner, and most of the KNOW JESUS. Beautiful. As I finished registering new children last night, my children watched Charlotte’s Web AGAIN, and I marveled at how awesomely blessed we are. Most people I know would look at my house and my lifestyle and say that we are poor with our leaking ceiling and a sink that shocks you whenever you turn it on and rice and beans for lunch and dinner every single day. But we are so rich! We have beds and even pillows to lay our heads on. We have shoes and are rarely ever hungry. We have each other and we know how to LOVE. We usually have bat poop in the shower, but we have laughter; we are rich.

Friday was my favorite day so far, I think. Maybe it is because I had finally slept through the night, haha. When I woke up yesterday morning (next to sweet Sumini, my favorite sleeping buddy) Margaret, Prossy and Agnes, my three oldest daughters marched into my room. “Mommy, there are children we need to help please.” “Ok,” I said groggily, “where?” They took me to the abandoned house down the road. In the back room were seven children lying in a pile on the dirt floor. They were completely starving and filthy. The oldest is 11 and the youngest 2. I have never seen children so sick, and I have seen some very sick children. They all have severe ringworm, malaria and scabies (my favorite…) among other things. 2 of them, who I am guessing are HIV positive, are the skinniest things I have ever seen; I’m guessing 4’6” 35 pounds. So of course, we brought them home. I have never been so proud of my family as I was when I watched their reaction. Prossy, Margaret and Agnes went straight to the tub to give them baths. Mary combed their hair while Helen and Sumini rubbed lotion on them. Nabayego boiled eggs and made toast. Scovia made tea. Sarah, Joyce and Emily went to their room, sifted through their clothes and picked each of the children a new outfit. In less than an hour, they were a new bunch of children. All bathed, dressed, fed and running around my house. Margaret looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, “Mommy, I love these children.” Me too, Margaret. Me too.

This is what it looks like, I thought. We sit in church and TALK about compassion, unimaginable love, revival. And then an hour later, we are still sitting there talking about it. REVIVAL is happening. NOW. Compassion is working; unimaginable, selfless love is real. It is right here. I can stand and watch the children I have loved and cared for compassionately love and care for others. My five year old knows how to be Jesus. My heart is so full.

And I know that God fills my heart up in those moments to prepare me for the next one. As I help the littlest girl, “Jane”, my heart broke. My thoughts wandered. She doesn’t belong to anyone. No one will claim her. But God does. She is a child of the King. She belongs to a Wonderful Maker, and yesterday and today, as I lay her in my bed, she belongs to me. "Mommy, I love these children." Today, my family will claim the unwanted and unloved for He who loves all.

*shout out to Gwen as she and her family claim Lola Belle for Jesus :)


finally. THANK YOU. thank all of you who make this possible. thank you for praying for us, thank you for helping us reach that "unreachable" goal of 75,000 to operate for this year. without your support, I may not be here. I feel a Peace today that I have felt pretty infrequently over the last several months, and I am so incredibly grateful. Home sweet home.

15 comments:

emily said...

My heart is so full just reading your post- you are home and I couldn't be happier for you. The thought of your reunion with your girls makes my soul swell.

I can't wait to continue this journey with you! Please give our love to Kato and Wasswa. :) They smile at me each and every time I open my fridge!!

Scott and Erin said...

Katie, I am so glad you are back home. We are rejoicing with you.

Your girls wanting to take care of the new kids is just proof that love breeds more love... Thank you for starting that beautiful domino effect. I hope that I am as successful in teaching that lesson to my kids as you have obviously been in teaching it to yours.

LOVE LOVE LOVE you! Please give Rita a hug for me and tell her that Auntie Erin, Uncle Scott, MC and Jackson pray for her every day!

Mallory said...

Your home! i have been watching your blog waiting to hear your words! Glad you are home and with your family and rejoicing in what God gives you!

Love ya,
mallory

Tanya Evans said...

Thanks for showing us what being the arms and feet of Jesus looks like. Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to us all.

Shannon Wallace said...

AHHH SCABIES!!! I'm so glad you're home :)

Oatsvall Team said...

oh sister i am overwhelmed w/ tears of joy because now that i know each sweet face in your family i pictured all your daughters doing their part to love on these new precious children ... i saw them in my head pouncing on you as you arrived home by taxi and i can actually hear their voices as they say "mommy i love you."

what a treasure they each are and i am beyond thankful to know you and now them ... please tell them i love them all ... i love the new 7 and all 202 ... they are REAL to me ...

i know Jesus is so proud of your claiming these angels of His ... You are the hands and feet sister ...

i am giving you a hug right now !!! i love ya so so so much !!!

Oatsvall Team said...

P.S. Emily wants all the girls to know she can almost say all their names in her prayers w/out forgetting any of them ... Elijah said to tell Marvin he will send more toys w/ the Mayernick's and if he has any thing he really wants to let him know and he will get it ... Jeremiah said he misses you being here and Scott said "Keep on Keepin On" .. Maggie just says your name over and over when we pray ... hee hee ...

Anna said...

Hey sweet friend,

I am so happy that you are home, but then again sad I don't get to see your face almost every other day...I love that now know your girls personalities a little bit just from the stories you've told because I can just imagine them all taking care of the 7 they found...

Bunches of love and hugs,
anna

Tuerff Family said...

How beautiful. Thank you for all you do. Know our class prays for you as Emily always has you at the top of her prayers. You are such a wonderful picture of Jesus here on Earth one so many need.

Rhonda said...

WOW...WithOutWords!!! You're awesome! God is awesome in you! I can just see the picture of you being pulled out of that taxi and all those little brown faces surrounding you with such jubilation! Girl, you keep on keepin' on....Be of great courage (like you need any! haha!) God bless you! You may or may not remember me, but I met you at Suzanne's, ate lunch with you at Renee's, then visited with you again when you came to speak at CPA....Speaking of CPA, I know the $ and T-shirts were still rolling in for Amazima last week! God's mighty hand and favor is all over you, my dear!

Can't wait to hear more!

Blessings from Tennessee!
~Rhonda

MaRia said...

Thanks for your wonderful update. You bring tears to my eyes but a smile to my heart. God bless you and all you do. Keep us updated when you can, but in the meantime, I keep you in my prayers.

A friend from Indiana

Kelly, Mom to the Putty's said...

Wow! I had a complete visual of your post. I remember how hard it was getting to an internet cafe when we were in Africa. I picture your kids raiding your car and my Lord, those precious children that God led you to by the hand of your daughter. It reminds me of the video I have posted on my blog. It just breaks everyone's heart to watch but you are actually living it. You are renewed in your strength and God will use that right now. You are awesome. Enjoy this time with your kiddos. We will be praying.

Renee said...

Sweet Katie,
How beautifully you paint the picture of the "welcome home!" We are so happy for you to be reunited with your girls and suspect that your face may have been the happiest one in the place! Reading your words helps us to feel connected to the amazing work God is doing through you, and we are so blessed! Know that you are in our prayers and hearts! Blessings!

redeemedintohope said...

im weeping. praying. seeking. trusting. alongside you sister. loving you, ali

Greg Mc. said...

I am sitting in my office crying.