Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love Does

Love does marvelous things.
Love changes the world.

When I think of Jesus, I think of love. And when I think of imitating Jesus, I think of loving people.

But that is much easier said than done. Giving up of oneself is one of the hardest things a human will do. Becoming humble, being a servant,'s all part of love; love for our Savior or love for other people. When Jesus sent me to Tanzania, He sent me to learn how to love. In the midst of learning how to love the people surrounding me, my love for my Savior grew deeper and deeper.

The first time I walked into Hisani Orphanage, I decided then and there that I never wanted to return. It was chaotic inside as construction was being done and children ran free. Their clothes were falling off and they were all shouting "mzungu!" I went home and said, "Surely there's another orphanage around here. I'll do anything but go back there." And I'm sure God, in Heaven, was chuckling since He knew what was to come.

We did return to Hisani, Monday through Friday, for five months. Our first day was crazy and chaotic and a huge mess. We were supposed to have orientation from the director, but when we arrived that morning we were simply informed that he was gone...and no one else knew English. Every day for the next two weeks I came home at lunch saying "This is awful. It's too hard. The kids are so lost and hurt. I can't do this!" But my sisters and I kept going back. Something was just not letting us quit. Determination. Strong will. Call it what you want, but I think it was the Holy Spirit alive in us keeping us going because I know that we could have never made it without God. He carried us through.

We thought we'd be teaching English and math and playing sports and doing all sorts of stuff like that. But God had a different plan. We thought we'd be teaching them, but really they were going to teach us. My days were filled with holding broken (hearted) children and loving them. My days were filled with giving piggy-back rides and swinging children around in circles. My days were filled with playing card games and learning a new language. We sang songs and did homework and washed clothes. I laughed with the joyous child and cried with the broken. I told them everyday that I loved them. Because I really did. I learned all 40 names. A million lessons and moments filled these days that I cannot even begin to fill in these pages. But the greatest of these was love.
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in majesty
When we love the least of these.

Moody was sad for months, but then he became happy. Sieda was rather hostile, but then she became one of my dearest friends. Junior, well you never knew when he was laughing or crying and drool dripped down his face all day, but his joy brought me joy. Jackie was mean to the younger kids, but then she became like a big sister and was loving. Ashya was always rude and testing, but then she became polite and loving. Esther always had a smile. Irina was so happy. Ralente was so polite and a dear boy. In the months we were there we saw so much happiness enter into Hisani. Happiness that wasn't there in May. 

We went to Hisani and Jesus came with us. 
And His love transformed the lives of the people we met.

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