As you can see from my last post, I felt like some of the most important work God gave me to do on the trip was just being a mom — seeing and loving the kids as a mother does.
The girls my daughters’ age, current 5th graders around 10 and 11 years old, and I seemed to find each other and hold a mutual admiration society. I saw girls on the cusp of young womanhood, equally apt to play ring around the rosey as sift through their personal beliefs and values. They probably saw someone who noticed them, who cared, who called them by name. “Write our names in your book so you will not forget us.”
They taught me Swahili. We swapped songs, games, and stories. I asked how I could pray for them. They say: protection for their school, protection for their sponsors, especially when sponsors are traveling between the US and Africa, that they would do well on midterm exams, that their school would be the best in their district, and for protection and health for their parents.
“You are the best mother,” they said. “I wish she was my mother.” I didn’t learn very much about their home lives. I can only assume that many of their parents are absent, or too busy trying to make ends meet to cover all of their emotional needs.
Nevertheless, they were able to minister to me when I was tired and unsure of exactly what I was doing there. Each day, I left them feeling refreshed, loved, and filled. They were the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus to me. “Will you come back?,” they ask. “If God wants me to,” I answer.
I trust God to sustain the connection between us. And to fill the empty places they feel in my absence. He is their hope and their redeemer. I pray that they will continue to sing for joy in the shadow of his wing.