Many times I sat in front of the computer, attempting to continue the story I had promised.
But each time I failed, I found myself getting lost in the emotion of memories that it was almost impossible to bear.
I walked out of the Calgary airport with mixed emotions, having left part of my heart behind, but the other half was anxious to get home....I think I was secretly hoping to get distracted and forget the memories that had remained thousands of miles away.
But I was wrong, as the days have gone by, the more memories flood my mind, and although it can be painful at times, it is all part of keeping a moment alive, as well as the hope to someday return.
Thank you for your patience! I hope today is the day when I can finally continue to share those memories with you.
At the beginning of this trip I was feeling pretty grown up about it all, but my proud "almost 20" feeling faded as I confronted many things for the first time on my own. I don't think I was ready for what was ahead. But if we waited until we were ready to do everything in life, would we do anything at all? God often calls us to do things before we feel ready, to teach us to depend on His strength alone.
That's what was on my mind one beautiful day at the mission, before God sent another quite remarkable moment where I had to learn to depend on Him.
my side whom I recognized as one I had tried to talk to previously, but she had always shied away when I tried to go near.
One of our main goals during the trip was getting to know more about the children and getting them to open up with us, but that also became one of the biggest challenges for me. Some were extremely shy, others scared and withdrawn, but each of them quietly communicating that they needed someone to be there for them.
Unlike the girl at the village I shared about last time, this one was clean, well dressed, and her dark eyes held a bright light of hope.
I said hello and tightened her hand, but there was no response. We stood there for quite a while...still no word, only her hand firmly holding mine.
We continued watching the kids play, once in a while I glanced down and saw her smiling, but when I asked her if she wanted to play, she held me tighter.
A few minutes later, a teacher came out and called some of the children that where nearby. she grasped my arm quickly. I leaned down and asked her if she had to go. But for the first time I heard her voice, barely a whisper: "Please don't let me go, I want to be with you, I need you." I stared at the child in front of me, I was but a stranger to her, yet through her pleading eyes I could see she needed someone to hold her, to make her feel loved, to tell her she was special, and for a peculiar reason, that someone happened to be me.
While I had tried to offer all the comfort I could give, she was really the one who gave me so much more in return. She taught me how God's love shines through His children, she helped me to see how our attitude should be when we are broken and come to God to find refuge, and she reminded me that people walk into our lives for a special purpose.
We might live in a place where poverty isn't a main problem, or we may be around people who do not suffer the way this young girl has. Yet, every person walking on this earth will, sooner or later, need someone to be there for them, someone to comfort them, to make them feel needed and special.
Every time we come into God's presence to reach up and touch the hem of His garment, He is there to give every bit of His love to us, and listen to us when no one else would, are we not called to be like Him? Should we not try to do the same when someone is in need of us? And who knows....you might be surprised, like I was, when you find that who really needed that person in the first place was you!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
Being welcomed for the first time at the mission.
Singing for the childrens' devotionals at the AOJ chapel.
Sharing with the high school students.
Getting to work as a translator was a wonderful experience.
House building days were different than days spent at the mission, at the school you encounter people who already have support. hope, and love in their lives.
The villages where we went to build houses were full of people that still have no hope, but because of their need, their hearts are full of unique thankfulness, and they appreciate things in such a different way than we do. A place where one handmade toy is enough to entertain a boy, and where a tiny hut is enough to hold a happy family of nine.
The most special time of the day came when the house was all finished and the house was dedicated. It was a very emotional moment for both the family and the team.
The family was presented with bags of food, clothing, and a personal gift especially picked out for each family member. Then the leader would say a few words, which they all listened attentively, and afterwards we would spend precious moments in prayer with the family.
Don't miss the next post!