"to bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair"
The day before Christmas, Katie Kat's sister Aimee was telling me about how she had a dream journal she would keep and pray about until God answered her. Thus I decided I would like to start a journal with prayers, dreams, and promises or Bible verses. I didn't have an empty journal other than the one I was using for Peru, so what strange timing that on Christmas day my friend from church Christian gifted me with a special present. In it he gave me a small book that contained three separate beautiful journals. Thus God gave me the perfect book to start my prayer, dreams, and promises book Christmas day.
I was discouraged and weary, tired of my spiritual life, my selfishness, and mostly pondering why God would lead me to the orphanage to live for only three weeks. I was discouraged because the orphanage was alot rougher than I could have imagined complete with bucket showers, a non working toilet, and strange unclean meats often smashed together with bland rice. Thus my first prayer in my book was "God reveal to me why I'm here living at this dirty orphanage. What can I do in three weeks that will reveal your love to these kids? Why am I here for such a short time as this?"
To be completely honest, I did not enjoy my time at the orphanage much at all. In fact, Megan and I disliked it so much that we decided to come back to AMOR every weekend instead of sleeping at the orphanage and hanging out there like we originally planned. It's hard to explain why it was so hard but excruciatingly tough it was emotionally and physically exhausting. The children have a vast number of needs and problems- stories that no child deserves to have and problems not one of them should ever have to face. There are children with great disabilities that have special needs that are not adequately cared for. In other houses children simply cry because they want to be held (constantly).
I would like to blame the children and the uncleanliness of the orphanage as the main reason why Megan and I couldn't stand it, but honestly there was so much more. We were tired; we were weary, exhausted of our relationship with God and burnt out on service. We had no energy nor no motivation. We would simply do the minimum our job would require and paste plastic smiles on our faces so the children would think we were happy. Yet inside God was ripping us apart, questioning us about our faith, our love for Him, and our promises to serve in Peru.
The orphanage refused to give us their wifi password thus we had no form of entertainment while we were there. When we were done with working with the children we only had three options: study our Bibles, sleep, or study Spanish. We had no distractions. While Megan and I found this quite miserable and dissapointing that we could not talk to our family who we dearly loved and missed Christmas Eve, nor the day of Christmas, nor the day after.. God was working in our hearts. We began to study our Bibles and we wrote down scriptures that were meaningful to us. We talked about the meaning of life and searched God's Word for the answers of the deep questions. When we were tired, we would lay on our beds, hand fan in hand, and fan ourselves until we would fall asleep dead tired from emotional exhaustion and the heat of the day.
Needless to say as Friday came and Megan and I talked about going home- back to AMOR for the weekend we were delighted with the possibility. We checked in with the "tias" or house moms to make sure they didn't need extra help and took off. With the idea in the heads that we were going "home" to see our sm family who we dearly love and talk to our family for the first time, not to mention eat normal food and take a real shower, we were overjoyed.
Since we have been home, God has been restoring me and remaking me. I have been so encouraged by being with my sm family and especially Aimee, Katie's sister, this week. We have been studying the word of God and now I know without a doubt while I am serving at the orphanage for 3 weeks (and why God didn't let them give us the wifi passwords)!
Jesus is coming soon! I need to get ready and I need to get serious about Him. Going to the orphanage is preparing me and teaching me so much! God is challenging me and putting Megan and I in a place where we are forced to study His word. God has also brought me to the orphanage to bring hope and light to the orphan's lives. Though I can't stay forever, I can do something. I can make a difference. God has renewed my hopes. I now know again that my kisses and my hugs can change an orphan's day and can give them hope. God has given me the strength that I need to continue serving at the orphanage and I am so amazed at how He never ceases to love me. I am now ready to return Sunday night and love these children of His- these orphans who have many needs. Please pray for the orphan kids and please pray for Megan and I as it is not an easy time for us. Yet God will be faithful..
Isaiah 43:2 is one of my favorite scriptures I have been trying to meditate on alot lately.
When you pass through the waters I will be with you
And when you pass through the rivers they shall not sweep over you
When you walk through the fire you will not be burned
The flames will not devour you