- several children under the age of twelve coming foward and kneeling before the Lord at the front of church during worship Sunday singing with all their hearts, arms outstretched, some with faces to the ground as they soak in His glory completely unaware of how it looks or what people think
- being greeted by all the tots in the baby house everytime I walk in the doors with lots of screams, smiles, giggles, baby babble, portuguese I can't understand, but mostly outstretched hands, waves, and hugs
- the youngest baby room of 8 learning that their favorite word of the week is hola and uh oh this week......so now they all say it to me and wave whenever I come in their room (5 months-17 months). probably cause it's what I say all the time. But they think it's a fun game and that I should respond ALL the time. Today I was really trying to get work done in my "office" that happens to be the closet in their room...the twins are on either side of the door and can swing it back and forth to each other. They kept saying hola over and over getting louder in unison till I stopped and answered back. So I decided I would shut the door and they would forget I was in there. Not so fast. One of the twins started saying uh oh and screaming really loudly till he could get the door back open then started back up with the holas. A few minutes later my counterpart Erin 1 walked in the door and had to take a phone call. She decided she couldn't hear over all the baby babble so she shut the door completely. Well after about a minute of hearing the door knob jiggle, Francisco figured out he wasn't going to be able to open it and he started screaming and crying and the rest joined in. Finally I opened the door bak up and immediately all their tears dried up and they started right back in with "Hola!" and waving. They are a mess but I love them! Did I mention if I don't come right in and give them a hug when they are in their cribs they start saying hola and wiggling their fingers at me to get me to come over and when I do they wrap their tiny fingers around me and start hugging and smiling. It's incredibly precious. And to think most of these tots came in to us within the last 6 months malnourished, very sick, and near death at times!
- A new intake of a 6 year old girl that has been left at home alone all day while her caretaker 16 yr old brother is away at school. She was being sexually abused during those times she was alone. She immediately adapted to being placed in our center. In just an hour she was all smiles, playing with the other kids in her house, laughing, and immediately taking to mana Tracey as her new mom, provider, and protector.
- starting building plans on a new nursery for 8 more babies under 6 months since we are over capacity in our current casa dos bebes (baby house)! It will hopefully be up and running in just a few short months (oh and yes, they will fall under my care as well)
I've been reading a devotion provided by one of my good friends (thanks Andrea) and last night's chapter really encouraged me for the moments when things here get hard (as they easily can when you work and LIVE with over 300 children fulltime). They were scriptures all referring to walking with our Lord and His ways. I am here because His paths have directed me here. They may not always be the ones I would choose or the smoothest, but they are His and I am trusting and resting in my faith that He will provide and protect. Here were some that really spoke to me:
"Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth."- Psalm 26:3
"The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them." -Hosea 14:9
"Let us walk in the light of the Lord" -Isaiah 2:5
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voic behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it." -Isaiah 30:21
"Love the LORD your God...walk in all his ways...hold fast to him."-Deuteronomy 11:22
"The Lord will establish you...if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways." -Deuteronomy 28:9
"I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble." -Proverbs 4:11-12
"The LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." -Psalm 84:11
- for me settling in here and transitioning into a healthy schedule of rest, God time, and time to study Portuguese along with the rest of my responsibilities.
- language acquisition (I'm taking 4 hours a week from a private tutor with three other new girls, plus one of the other Brazilian missionaries whose fluent in English as her third language offered to help me one-on-one if we can find a weekly timeslot)
- for health and strength (most all the kids and missionaries are getting sick since the temperature swings almost 40 degrees daily)
- for the new Mozambican nurse that is starting on Monday (and speaks not a word of English) to be knowledgeable, teachable, dedicated, and patient as I will be training her. Ha Ha.
- for all the 40 children under my care and wisdom for me as I care for them. I'm acting as pediatric nurse practicioner, pharmacist, physical therapist, case worker, nurse, mom, nutritionalist, and medical director.
- Praise! Everyone has been amazing to me here. So patient, encouraging, and loving. They have opened their homes to me, cooked for me, loved on me, and just in general invited me into their lives. For this I am thankful and grateful!
- Tino died 1 week ago. He quietly took his last breath at the dinner table. He jumped lovingly into our makers hands without pain or the seizures he had been having throughout the past months. He was a 4 year old quite a few of you heard about earlier in the year who had a lot of chronic conditions before he got very very sick and was realeased back from the hospital with a feeding tube in a vegetative state back to us at the center to love on. He can now see perfectly, run without limps, is strong and healthy, has no pains, can stand tall and is dancing with Our Father!