Day 6 Saturday, September 24th
I woke up this morning feeling rested as I went to bed at about 8:15 last night. When I entered the kitchen I saw the house ladies along with the Mike B. squared (We have 2 Mikes with a last name that starts with a B.) and Paula getting the breakfast ready for the team. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal and assorted fruit. Not to mention the freshly squeezed juice!
Today's service project consisted of a visit to LaPhere Orphanage. This is where 26 children from ages 3-17 call home. We started our visit by having the children stand up and tell us their names. That followed by all of us adults going around and telling the children our names. It was awesome to see all of the children remember almost all our names (Sorry Lois). We were complete strangers to them not 10 minutes prior to that time.
After we had a chance to meet each other, we headed out to a court yard where we all sat and colored pictures with the children. Even though this may have seemed like a simple project, all of the children were eager to start. Even the older children had no problem tearing out a page of a color book and started to create their version of a "Rembrandt". I had the privilege of sitting with 2 beautiful girls whose ages were approximately 8/9 years old. They continued to color and would look at me from time to time with their big brown eyes to see if I was watching them. All I had to do was to point to their creation and say "Tre Bel". That would bring smiles to their faces as the phrase Tre Bel means very beautiful. After we finished coloring one of the girls refused to leave my side. As a matter of fact, she wrapped her arms and legs around me as to say "don't let me go". I sat down with her and spent the next 15 minutes or so rocking her back and forth humming Amazing Grace into her ear. I think both of us came close to falling asleep right where we were sitting.
We also had a chance to jump rope, play with soccer and beach balls and blow bubbles. Who would have thought that these simple activities would bring out smiles and energy that are immeasurable.
As we were leaving and walking towards the gate of the orphanage, one of my little friends found me again and reached out her arms. I COULDN'T RESIST!!! I bent over, picked her up and held her as tight as I could. She put her head on my shoulder and we both clung to each other like we kind of knew that we may never see each other again. I whispered in her ear that God loved her. I gently set her down, held her cheeks, looked into those big brown eyes and kissed her forward head. Who knows, after my week down here, I may find myself coming back for a couple more moments like this. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to part of this trip. I will be forever changed.