Day 3 ~ July 12th, 2011
Written at 10:08 p.m. Local Time/4:08 p.m. EST
Praise the Lord, He is so good to bless us when we ask outside of ourselves!! I just can't even write fast enough to keep up with the joy in my heart right now. Today was a huge day! We were heading out to the Passion Center today to take a tour and meet the staff.
When we arrived we were welcomed by the staff~ so many women and men living their life for Christ and pouring it into the children. Such gracious, friendly souls it was such a blessing to be welcomed with hugs as if we had been there for years! This morning I had prayed that God would allow me to meet Kalipo and Phalles on my first day at the center. I knew this was a little over zealous as our sponsor kids live in the village not at the center, and since school was out they may not be around very much. I had written both children a letter a few months ago letting them know I was coming to visit and I included a picture of our family.
We toured the residence and offices, the kitchen and new office building. The dorms were so neat. Chris Prater and her daughter had done a fantastic job the year before painting murals and decorating the bunks for the children. Too my surprise the boys dorm was clean as a whistle! After our tour was complete we headed down to the multipurpose center where the children gather from the residence and the villages to have breakfast and lunch and to play. We were also able to tour the soccer fields. Some of the men from our team played soccer with the older boys and the rest of us took pictures of the kids which was so fun for them. They would just giggle when they got to see themselves and then there would be a multitude of little voices in broken english saying "Picture Me".
It was time for us to head back up to the residence to have lunch ourselves. I was bummed because I knew that Kalipo and Phalles would probably be heading to the multipurpose center soon to have lunch and I was going to miss a chance to meet them. I enjoyed the walk back, just taking in the scenery and chatting with another team member.
At the top of the hill I turned the corner to walk into the security wall of the Passion Center and there before me was a picture of my sweet family in Ohio. And the hands that held it were Kalipo's!! He recognized me immediately and my heart skipped a beat. He had just received his letter and was waiting at the gate for me. He was so handsome with a bright joyful smile ~a smile you never forget~his whole face lights up just like my Parker's when he smiles! He was so neat and clean and healthy! I can't tell you how beautiful he was. We didn't chat much because I was too busy hugging him and staring at his beautiful face. Some of those around me realized I had just met one of my sponsor children and before I knew it, Joni was walking up behind me and said, "Ms. Summer we have someone else for you." It was my Phalles (pronounced F-ALICE)!! She was just a beautiful but a bit more shy. She's only five and who knows what she thought of this crazy Azungu (white person) who was gushing over her. Oh her eyes, they led right to her soul. She was also holding the picture of our family. After several more hugs for each of them we took some pictures and I said the only thing I knew in Chichewa at the time, "Jesus Amawa Conedo~ Jesus Loves You." And children so do I.
I am quite sure I could have ran to the top of the highest plateau at that moment. God had whipsered in my ear, "Nothing is impossible with me". It was such an awesome blessing to have met my kids on the first day, within 12 hours of being in Zomba!! I am still so excited!
After lunch we visited Mercy who belongs to a Child Headed Household. Actually she is the child who heads the household. Children in this role have been orphaned by their parents, grandparents and any other guardian that could care for them so the oldest child must step into the role of caregiver for the rest of the family. When the Passion Center found Mercy she was 17 and now she is 20 caring for 7 others in her home. Our team and the Passion Center Staff were able to give them mattresses, pans, plates, cups, bowls and buckets to help make daily living a little easier. However, at that age with that many depending on her I can't imagine anything being easy. She was all smiles from the moment we arrived! Some of us were able to do a mini bible school for the village children while the Pastors shared the Word with Mercy. The children loved being able to make necklaces and bracelets and despite the language barrier it went very well. It was my first experience being surrounded by children that I really couldn't relate to. It was no accident that the greatest commandment is LOVE~it's universal! I wasn't sure how I would react, but God allowed me to simply be his hands...wow!
I am just in awe that the first day of this mission could be filled with so many blessings. If God said, "Okay, Summer this is enough for you time to go home." I could leave being completely changed and content! However, I am excited for what tomorrow holds! Now to calm myself down enough to sleep!
It was so fun to rewrite this today~I still can't believe God chose me to go on this trip.....11 1/2 months is a long time to wait for the next one ;~) Enjoy the pictures below!
|First "Family" Photo|
|The Child Headed Households & Team|