Wednesday, May 28, 2014
“How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.” ― Mother Teresa
Jesus, in Matthew 18:3, says this, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The picture at the right hangs on our living room wall to remind us of our daily mission. We are here for the children. Many die from malaria and other diseases and the occasional snake bite, but for the most part, they are safe and happy here. In our immediate neighborhood, in the last six years, twelve children under five have died (I paid for six of the little coffins), but every morning forty-five children are lined up at our gate laughing, singing, and waiting to get in so they can run to the schoolroom. Kindergarten here is called “chekechea” which means “laughing children.” We have helped start five preschools, feed orphans, have an English school here in the afternoon, help other orphanages and the albino children, and provide school fees for the children of our staff, pastors, and evangelists. The children are the future, and they are safe here. A five-year-old girl can walk a mile into town to buy a loaf of bread and return home never having to worry about being beaten, abducted, molested, or harmed in any way. Not that we don’t hear children crying from time to time. What mother would not punish a child for chasing a snake, or pulling clean clothes into the dirt? What we hear most is laughing and singing. To be able to go to school, to have a uniform, to have food to eat, and a place to live that protects them from the sun and the rain—that is what makes them happy. To know that Christ loves them as well, is, well, almost gravy. Especially for the orphans, the love of Christ is essential. If you ask them, “Yesu anapenda wewe?” (Does Jesus love you?) they shout “ndio” or if they’re from our schools, they shout “Yes!” in English. Our visitors almost always fall in love with them from the first time they see them. Our Finnish visitors couldn’t wait to visit in the school and came out holding children and smiling. One visitor from Australia was always surrounded by a puddle of small children and that Aussie’s smile was as big as her country. Our biosand filters mean that they don’t get cholera, dysentery, and other water borne diseases (and don’t miss school either). We just put fifty filters at schools in the city of Nansio so that 1,500 children have safe water to drink. If you come to visit, you will be loved and adored by the children and they, more than any other reason, make it so hard to leave—that we didn’t. They love so freely that we all need to learn from them. Christ knew that.