Friday, November 29, 2013

A Happy Family Heading to Germany

We are so excited for Rita and Christiane to have a new family. For the past few days the proud mama and papa came to spend time with the girls to give them some time to adjust before taking them to the capital with them where they will go through the process of getting visas for the girls and then travel to their home in Germany.

It was precious to see how the girls bonded with their new mom and dad. They are going to have such a wonderful life!
This is such a cute picture and captures the moment!

Although Rita and Christiane are sisters, they did not meet until Christiane was over a year old. Rita came from another orphanage and we were able to unite the girls. It didn't take long for Rita to assume the role of Big Sister. Christiane came to the orphanage when she was only three days old.
It was both a sad day and a happy day for the tantie's who have cared for the girls. What a bittersweet moment! I will miss their laughter and chatter as a part of my daily routine, but I am joyful and my heart is full for them and for their parents. AND I can't wait to see a picture of them in their new snow!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Special Visitors and a Special Gift

This past Friday Jon and Annelie arrived in Yako. Jon visited the orphanage about a year ago and now, after completing a work assignment and getting married, he and his wife will spend a month with us. It has taken no time for them to jump into life here. They have cleaned out and organized storage areas, played games with the children, visited our malnutrition clinic, help take pictures of our students for sponsorship, had some lessons in Moore...and it hasn't yet been a week!

With them, they brought a special gift of toys, books, games, puzzles, sports equipment, clothing, and other supplies that were donated by military families stationed in Germany. The wives rallied together under the direction of Sandra Thomas and Christine Lane. These ladies organized the gathering of items and there were huge suitcases filled with wonderful things!

What should we play with first?

I'm having a hard time choosing!
I found my toy!

What a great day!

We immediately distributed the clothing to our children and a few of the toys. We are excited to receive some developmental toys that we will be using during one-on-one time with the children and when our new toddler play area is completed.

We are ever thankful to the U.S. Military for their generosity and we want to thank Sandra, Christine and all of those who collected and donated items. What a tremendous blessing this is for the children. God Bless!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

For God

I was in a meeting when my phone began to ring. Not being Burkinabe (pronounced Burkina bay), I chose to hold off until after the meeting to answer the phone. A true Burkinabe answers his or her phone at any and all times...... I'm not there yet. I called back and found there was a 7 year old girl who was in the hospital, but needed to be placed in the orphanage once released. I exclaimed, "Of course! We would love to have her!". Two days later Social Action shows up at the orphanage with this little young lady whose name translated from Moore' means "for God." I can say with all my heart, this is the name was right on mark. I walked in and she looks up at me and smiles from ear to ear. Not too uncommon for a child, but the story attached to this particular one makes this smile nothing less than remarkable, amazing, and humbling.

I was told that she had just had surgery on her mouth and tongue due to severe damage done by drinking lye. Lye is the acid used to make soap here in Burkina. It literally melts all that it comes in contact with at full strength. She was rushed to the hospital in Ouagadougou for surgery, and for the most part, the surgery was a success. Unable to speak, she can only communicate with emotions, and the emotion she used when she arrived at our orphanage was a smile.

The history of the difficult childhood this little girl has had nearly made me collapse. There was a evidence all over of the hardships she had faced, but this child was different. She was "for God", and He had a different life in mind for His little princess. We handed her a small doll, and she instantly started caring for and hugging the doll. All the staggering details of her life just stopped, a u-turn in life with the hope for the future.

As impossible of a place Burkina can be, at times you think to yourself, are we truly finding "the least of these"? When we get tired, and worn out from running long hours 7 days a week, many times we ask ourselves "are we making a difference"? When I find myself once again walking into the cemetery with a heavy heart there are times I could even ask myself "why am I doing this?", and the answer is all wrapped up in this little girls name, For God. It was God who brought me here, it was God who brings me each of those who the world considers the least of these, but God sees the diamond in each of them.
Life is hard, but my life is not. People I know have suffered, but I have not. It is much easier to appreciate the life I have now that I live in Africa. When you see a smile on the face of a 7 year old girl who has endured more than I will in my lifetime, I am humbled. This smile was not for me, this smile was "for God."