My time here is rapidly coming to a close. My heart aches even just to type those words. I still have 3 precious days here to cherish before the big bird flys me to MY native land. I don't want to weep these days away. I want to enjoy them like they will forever last, even though I know better.
I have learned so much more than I thought there was to learn about these orphanages and their fearless director. I have been to visit the cattle farm 2.5 hours drive away, not in the rural area, but in the "rural rural" area. There are great possibilites and there is great hope. One day the cattle can be multiplied and the bulls can be sold for $1,000 each. It is a great and wise vision. The work has started, but the time to build such an operation is long. The cattle currently are not being fed well. They need good feed so that they can be valuable cattle. The hope is there. When discussed, you can see the childrens eyes bouncing and exciting and hoping for the greatest things to come for their future. There too are some goats. We traveled with a goat back to the home in the back of the truck. A nervous goat who screamed "MAA MAA MAA" over and over again. It's feet and legs were all bound together. It's eyes uncertain of its destiny. I'll be honest, it was a cute goat and I had a hard time telling it goodbye as silly as that may sound. But I could see the goat as God's provision for some meals, or maybe for one meal for 60 children. Meat is rare. And by rare I mean rarely. Goat is good. And by good I mean protein. I will not be there for the slaughter or the partaking. But I am here for the rejoicing.
I was going to tell you about my daily details and I got sidetracked. It is easy to do here. The sweetest Emily is 17 years old. She comes from a rural rural area where her mother has Aids and her grandmother tried to sell her. Emily volunteered to be my personal hostess all the while I am here. Words cannot describe how special she is. The house has not been receiving tap water for quite some time. Each morning, and I mean each and every morning, Emily boils 3 pots of water and pours them in my bathtub. I have a personal tiny kitchen station that she set up in my room where she serves me only from their finest dish. She saves for me the finest fork and the finest knife. She keeps my coffee pot filled with ready and she starts it for me in the mornings. If I should beat her to it, it makes her either very frustrated or very disappointed. She wails sometimes with disgust that she did not get to serve me if I have taken the opportunity to just do it myself. We go to the market nearly every day to purchase some hot meals for me. She will not let me carry anything. Not a thing. I beg. She says no. Today I almost had to argue with her in the parking lot because her hands were full, as were mine, and she still did not want me to carry anything. I finally agreed to pile all of my stuff in her arms and she audibly praised the Lord for my surrender. Sometimes I call her into my room to come speak with me and she gets down low in front of me and I meet her there to see eye to eye. Her eyes glue to me as I speak and her lips part with a modest grin and I can see her teeth, just barely. More than anything her eyes say the most. She is so gracious. She is also a prankster but that is another story. Emily wants to be a nurse. She is a very smart girl....so smart and so wise that I cannot make sense of her to you. She is pure and she is concerned about her purity before the Lord. She does not want to be bothered with boys....but they certainly want to be bothered with her. Emily has a servants heart, not because she thinks that she must, but because she deeply desires to bring comfort and ease to those who are loving her. She is not unreasonably submissive....she is just so delicate and beautiful and hopeful. She recognizes love. She wants love, but only from the right places. If you ever meet Emily, you will fall in love. (I cannot post a picture now but I will when I am back in the USA). So, I add some cold water to my bath and I struggle in the tall skinny tub with my anti tall, anti-skinny body to get clean. Emily has determined that I cannot miss a single day of bathing, and some days she determines that I need another. If I get one article of dust in my hair, it is off to the bath I go. Bless her....she needs to chill out a little bit. (((wink)))
I take my morning cup of coffee and bread with peanut butter and sit outside under a tree at a table. The morning air is crisp and the wind blows. It is such confusion considering the sun will melt your shirt right off. Whoever is passing by me in the morning (of the children, or the pastor or the house matron) will stop and sit with me to talk about the morning. Every morning I am told over and over that I was missed overnight. "I woke up in the night thinking of you auntie melissa and just couldn't wait to hug you this morning.". I tell you....it's just too much. I am not ready to die, but I could and I would not feel that my life missed a moment.
I should have warned this will be a long post. Hope you have some caffeine.
One of the most interesting things I have learned here is about the children and their cell phones. They almost all have cell phones that have been acquired used, or traded for other things. But none of them have air time. It is quite a conundrum. The air time here is purchased in advance and it is very expensive. The children do not have money of their own so they are usually bargaining with other children in the neighborhood or the neighbors. The children can go and do some work for a neighbor in exchange for $2 to get some air time. They are constantly bartering with each other "Ah, do you have an SMS sis-tah be'coz I truly need to send a text?" And the reply is often, "ah NO, I do NOT have an SMS for YOU." Oh, the rejection is tragic. But this is daily an issue and it will continue to be. Money makes Zimbabwe go round though Zim seems to have no ferris wheel.
Boaz is 16. He is the one who will not leave my side, and I must admit I have zero complaint about this. My comfort with the kids has come to such a level that they will lay across me in the living room and let me scratch their backs, or they will lay their heads on my shoulders. The morning hugs are powerful enough to sqeeze the last ounce of air from my lungs and leave me gasping. Today was shopping day for me in such that I went to a local place where things are carved by hand and I bought several goods to hopefully do something profitable with when i return home, to send the profits back to the orphanages. Boaz experienced me in a new light. I was not paying attention to the children. I was scouting and thinking and bartering and refusing to buy some things and then getting into heavy discussions with the tradesmen. At one point all of the children were hovering around me and Boaz asked me what is wrong. I told him everyone is too close. The quickly all disappeared, even Boaz. Later in the car on the way home he asked me what had been wrong and I explained nothing was wrong but that I needed space to accomplish my task. He said, "Oh momma auntie I do understand nah but I do still have a wound." Wow, we really had to talk that through and soon he was smiling and so happy to learn that I had not been angry. Wounds are not acceptable, especially not from me and especially not to him. All is well now. What a gift that sweet boy has to come forth and inquire. His sensitivies will serve him well, because he is mostly extremely strong, shrewd and brave. What a nice blend of strength in character, not to mention that he praises Jesus day and night.
These kids have such incredible hope. I am inspired more than ever to raise trillions of dollars to serve these children and thousands of others around the globe. What a mighty God we serve to link us across oceans and continents. These children have been in my heart since before I was born. The sweet Lord deemed it that way. I couldn't praise Him enough if I tried. And I do try.
These children have such incredible potential. Zim has good schools, good colleges and universities but is lacking in the job opportunities afterward. If we can help these children to survive without being returned to the rituals and cruelties of the rural rural areas....if we can help to get them all educated, it is possible they can then take advantage of job opportunities in other countries. The prayer of my heart is that Beautiful Feet Global Outreach will attract enough regular monthly donors, and occasional gift donors to accomplish this work, in the precious name of God. I ask each of you to be reminded that every dollar that comes into BFGO is going straight to the benefit of the children. I am using my own personal money for marketing expenses and no one earns a salary. In addition, I am donating a large chunk of my real estate commissions into the organization as well....so I am not only seeking donors, I am a donor.
God bless you all who read this far. I am sorry for the length. I am almost out of megabytes and almost out of money, so I thought it would be best if I type as much as possibile into a word document and then just cut and paste onto the blog, for the best utilization of my online time. This is why I cannot post pictures today because the time to upload would deplete all that I have left. :-)