As I sit to write this so many thoughts are racing through my mind. First of all, church this morning was incredible! Those beautiful voices singing praise to our Heavenly Father is universal. The Spirit filled that church in an amazing way. What an experience! It was wonderful to see our faithful friend, Musa as well. We were able to see a few of our Timbutini kids one final time. Certainly bittersweet.
The highlight of our day was actually being able to see (through FaceTime) part of Dr. McKinley’s message during the 10:45 service. We were also able to participate in the ending of the service in Simmons Hall. We gathered around an iPad in the foyer of our hotel and sang with Joseph. It was absolutely wonderful to feel a part of the worship!
There is no quick way to sum up our time here. I mentioned earlier that we have truly experienced what breaks His heart. And yes – it is breaking ours. We have all been able to experience home visits. This is where you truly see the need. The pain. The joy. The total dependence on God. We do these visits every year. We always ask to visit those homesteads that are in the most need because we always take a good amount of food for the family. This year, these visits were so much more difficult.
We all hear about the plight of the orphan and widow, but do we really know what that looks like? Visiting a homestead of 8 children with the oldest child, also the caregiver, being only 10 years old is what it looks like. If that doesn’t bring one to his knees, nothing will. There was virtually nothing in this house. This 10 year old comes to the care point each day and does what a 10 year old should be doing. He plays. He laughs. He simply has fun being a kid. But as he walks home, he must step into the shoes of an adult. An adult taking care of 7 other children. Seven mouths to feed. To protect. To comfort. He is forced to be both a mother and father. There is a nearby aunt that checks on them occasionally, but this is not the security this family needs. This 10 year old boy will never be able to completely be a “carefree little boy”.
This is just one of the many situations that we have encountered through these home visits. This is what breaks His heart. And this is what breaks ours. And this is why we come here. To care for the orphan and widows as we are commanded. It isn’t a simple suggestion, but a commandment. A commandment that cannot be taken lightly. And one that can bring more joy than you could ever imagine. We have seen the face of God here. We have experienced a love than can only come from Him. And because of that a part of our hearts will remain here. Forever.