Saturday, April 9, 2011

By:  Angie Simon/Liza Butler

Today was a special day for many of our team members as they had the opportunity to meet with their sponsored child at the True Vine campus.  Elizabeth always does a wonderful job of working out all the details for these visits to occur.  Sometimes children live on sight at the boarding school, others go to school here but live at home and still others must be brought in from villages farther away.  It takes lots of time and coordination, but it is always worth it when you see the children and their sponsors together.  There is nothing like looking in to the eyes of your child, seeing their beautiful face and engaging smile, holding their hand, seeing their joy at the small gifts you can bring for them, sometimes meeting their siblings, talking to them about their family and school and things they like to do - in short, forming brand new heart connections that will be what you think of each time you look at their picture from now on.

The kids were treated to an extra special day when Stevie Bender performed “The Hungry Caterpillar” puppet show for them, with Dr. Kerry Johnson helping.  Oh to watch the giggles and laughter as they see the caterpillar continue to get bigger and bigger - and then their delight when it turns in to a butterfly.  Stevie also received an extra special blessing when she got to see her sponsored girl, who she hadn’t seen in several years.

Some of our other team members also got to play games – Cindy Jarvis, Donna Katzen, Cindy Craig and Stevie got out the big, colorful parachute.  Children everywhere absolutely love to shake the brightly colored material, run underneath it, hold the sides and make it go up and down - they could do this for hours and still have wide, happy grins on their faces.  Even the boys like it, although when Raul and Larry brought out the soccer ball, many of the boys scampered away as if drawn by a magnet.  Football is very popular in Africa, even before the World Cup, and these kids not only know all about their favorite professional teams, they are very skilled at the game themselves.  They can usually run circles around us muzungus (white people) – quite literally!

In the afternoon at True Vine, Rachel and Wendy hosted a Women’s Tea for 30 widows.  One of the most incredible experiences from these events is washing the women’s feet in small, plastic basins.  To hold these lovely women’s calloused, rough feet in your hands and lovingly wash them and put moisturizer on them is truly an amazing, humbling experience – just imagine how many miles they have walked and how many hardships they have experienced in their lives.  And what an awesome reminder of how Jesus washed his disciples feet during this time of Lent – and how we are charged to serve others in the same way. 

Wendy had a hard time even finding enough water to put in the basins because water has been extremely scarce in the area.  Unfortunately there was an issue with the electric company resulting in the electricity being temporarily turned off.  The electricity is needed to access the water pumped from our well in to a tank.  The women did get to experience something they have probably never witnessed before in their lives, when Dr. Kerry Johnson stood up and apologized to them for any mistreatment they had received in their lives by men.  Even with scarce water, God blessed these ladies in such a tender and compassionate way today with his words.

Painting was the other order of business today.  Raul, Larry, Ric and Cindy Jarvis painted the medical clinic in Bukaya and it looked fantastic - right up until the rain washed it off!  Our team got caught in a MAJOR thunderstorm - the kind where the skies open up and you are reminded that God is in control and we are not!  Kent also utilized his artistic skills today as he went back to Juba to paint the temporary classrooms for the Vision Primary School. 

Tomorrow we are looking forward to praising our Lord with our African brothers and sisters!

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Hope 4 Kids International is 501c3 faith-based non-profit committed to help children around the world that are suffering from extreme poverty through Dignity, Health, Joy & Love.

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