They want to know about DC, New York, Chicago and Hollywood. These are the places they have heard of. They ask countless questions about snow and cold air. They want to know what time it is in the USA. When I explain the different time zones their faces go blank.
Yesterday we went to one of their maize fields so they could see the growth progress. They truly rejoiced - shouts and whistles to see that some of the stalks have already grown 1-2 feet tall. The teenage children are all responsible for working a portion of that land. They are assigned sections. Beyond that laborers are hired to complete the rest of the field. The children take part in each phase, from tilling and plowing to planting and weeding. What I LOVE about the spirits of these kids is that they do not view it as work. They view it as a necessary step to produce a harvest. I think that we as Americans forget this on a daily basis. We view our jobs as work often and quickly forget that the work is producing a harvest. Whether it is harvesting wisdom in children or the accomplishment of a system or the provision of food on the table to feed the babes. The kids here go to work for the harvest using their hands, backs, legs, and very rough feet. They remind me to sow for what the seed will produce ultimately. I thank them (and God) for that. The seed and the laborers were paid for by Beautiful Feet Global Outreach thanks to our donors. Glory to God and thank you for your faithfulness in giving; planting seeds.
This morning I awoke to a practically empty house. All of the boys have gone to the field and will be gone all day. I must confess - I deeply hate being separated from the boys. But this morning I have had a wonderful (2 hour) conversation with one of the older girls. She is 22...the one who also just had a birthday. She is the chef for us while I am here and she is amazing. Last night I taught her how to prepare American mashed potatos (they have never had). It was a par-tay! The potoatos with butter and salt in creamy milk were gobbled up quickly. The older boys began to barter with one another for shares of the others portions. It was so sweet to me that none of the boys was willing to give up his portion but for the one who does not like butter. But - back to my conversation with the older girl....
I felt comfortable to ask her how her parents passed away. She shared openly. But after she finished telling me the stories of their passings she looked at me in the eyes and said "aunti Melly, God has since raised up wonderful parents for me." She is speaking of her aunts and uncles whom love her so much and are caring for her like she is their own. She is attending university and learning to drive. I'm just not sharing her name yet because I haven't asked her permission but I will show you a photo soon. What I love about her is the immense amount of Godly wisdom from which she speaks and thinks and does. And I love her love for others. She will tell me about a friend of hers and say "she is a most beautiful and wonderful girl...she is truly amazing". She will talk about her friends for a very long time in describing her love for them before she moves into giving me the detail of what she wants to share. It is just incredibly beautiful. She had explained to me that one of her friends had to go away and she hasn't seen her in a long time. But then she had a large small on her face and stated "but God is faithful and He raised up for me another glorious friend like a sister". I could weep at that. In fact I did dispense a tear and tried to hide it from her but I think she saw.
Yesterday late afternoon my tender one, 17-year old Boaz pulled me into the dining area and I could sense that he wanted to have a serious talk. Because otherwise we are laughing and he loves to sit on the sofa with me and rest against me...either on my shoulder or with his head in my lap. Tangent: one morning he came and rested in my lap (yes a big 17 year old)... and he said "I am just so happy. I can't believe I am resting here on you lap and that God sent you into my life." Sometimes I hear things like this and I just sit in silence. I cannot imagine how they feel - especially the ones who have lost their parents or the ones who have never known them (like him). Off tangent: so at the dining room table he wasn't sure what he wanted to say and so nothing was said for a moment. I asked him what are his greatest temptations and from there he poured and spilled and gushed. When I see the tenderness and openness here it really causes me to see that we in America are missing something. We have learned secrecy, privacy and shame. Here it is a bit different. He shared with me exactly his temptations and the inner turmoil and struggle of not wanting to go the way of the world but to remain constantly attached to the vine of Christ. His greatest fear - messing up his destiny. He refers much to his "background" of being very low-class (my wording). He knows that in this country he is a reject but that in God he is a champion. He has been blessed with much love along the way through the orphanage, Fatima (myself), etc. He doesn't want to mess that up. I am stricken by his ability to see the big picture. I am frozen by his determination to overcome all temptations in the name of Jesus. They think I am here to love them and impart wisdom. They have no idea.
This is enough for today. If you missed my first post on my personal website you may see it at www.jasperwalls.wordpress.com. Also I have posted several updates on Facebook if you would like to search for Beautiful Feet Global Outreach and follow along.
For now I will leave you with just a photos.
These were just a few from our Christmas party. Their first tree, EVER!