Just wanted to update you on some decisions I have made in regards to my move to Kenya in the coming days. I realized recently that throughout this entire process of preparing/waiting to see what God has in store for me there, I have been limiting (or at least trying to limit) His power and viewing Him as a smaller version of Himself. I think the fact alone that He is allowing me to go across the world to love sweet orphans/children seemed so incredible that I did not expect there was anything else He could possibly add to that.
Before this summer, my prayers were big. I graduated knowing one thing: I love kids--especially the ones who need a little extra loving. :) My heart is definitely drawn to children who have lost their parents, children who are sick, children who have been sexually exploited --all in all, children who have been told by the world in some way, shape, or form that they are unworthy of love (I am fully aware it is HE who has implanted this desire to love these specific groups in my heart). The hardest/greatest thing for me has been to discern why He has given me these burdens and what I am supposed to do about them [right now]. It has never been a matter of forcing myself to act on these things--He has made them inescapable to me in the most loving ways possible. Kenya is wonderful and I love everything about it, but it is the people I am drawn to... I am drawn to the same people in Nepal and in India and Atlanta and Athens and in other places I have never been to.
Anyway, as I was saying--I was dreaming big dreams and praying big prayers this time last year because I could not figure out which of these burdens would 'win my heart' as I supposed I had to narrow it down to just one. Would I work with sick kids in America? Would I work with sex trafficking victims in Asia? Would I work with orphans in Africa? The word 'work' ultimately needed to be cast out of my vocabulary. It was so hard for me to decide which burden would dictate my life (or at least the circumstantial time bracket I was willing to give to it) and direct my steps. I could not do it. Even after confirming that I needed to move to Kenya, turning down my dream American job, planning my dream Kenya life with orphans-- I could not shake the aching in my heart for the sick and for the sexually abused. I was asking God repeatedly if I really had to put those children who have my heart on the back burner for now so that I can fully give my heart (just) to the kids who have been abandoned to orphanages. Honestly, up until several days before I booked my plane ticket to Kenya--I was looking up tickets to Calcutta to live and love the kids in the red light district there.
Several months ago, I heard about an orphanage for HIV+ children that was broken into by thugs during the night. Some of the children were raped, some threatened, and most all viewed the traumatic events, if they were not directly involved. This broke my heart. I do not think a broken heart over this type of injustice is something unique... I do not know anyone whose heart is so hard to be immune to the effects of this unfortunate reality. My heart was broken, like yours even as you hear about it, but it took several sleepless nights before I realized that these children are exactly those whom I long to pour out every single ounce of love He gives me. I cannot get them out of my head or out of my heart because He has given me a burden for them and I am meant to act on that burden, not silence it.
The director of HOREC, in Joska, has expressed the strong desire for psychological support for the children who are trying to cope with what happened that night and how they are different now because of it. I want to help. I want to love them and stay up with them when they have nightmares and rub their backs as they fall asleep and pray over them like you (who have them) pray over your children and hold their hand when they're scared and dry their tears and watch Jesus soften their hearts and most of all, tell them about our Father and how their names are written on His hand and He loves them and will never forsake them, regardless of what the world has taught them in their short time on this earth.
I have no idea how long I will stay before moving on, but fully trust the Spirit to guide me and make clear when to be still and when to move. Honestly--I am open to spending two days there and I am open to spending two years there as well. We'll see what He has in mind. I am hearing so clearly that right now He wants me to spend some time learning to love the children that are so dear to His heart by living among them and walking with them through some hard times. I truly feel that I am being obedient to what He wants for me now and will be constantly listening for His future direction. I am so beyond humbled that they would allow me to come and stay with them and learn to love the children that are so dear to His heart. I am even more humbled that God would use ME to be a part of making His love complete. Let the adventure begin (though I guess it really began a long time ago...)!!!