I am determined to get this children’s home operating! I think I feel like what Paul must have felt – like, does anyone else even feel the urgency, the vital importance? “All have deserted me!” Children are suffering out there! I don’t know which babies God has ordained to live and grow with us, but I know they are in most desperate straits right now, living on the edge of viability. Yet week after week goes by and we still have no house parents, we still have no director, we still have no children crawling the floors of our beautiful house.
Just last week I was sitting with a young disciple, discovering together God’s banquet in a random story from the Bible, and this 4 year old child kept crying – then he would be fine for a few minutes – then again crying as if in pain. Finally I asked –“is he sick?” “No,” was the simple answer. “Then why does he cry?”, I persisted. “Hunger” – as simple as that.
Why did I ask? It breaks my heart.
My grandkids cry for food when they first wake up. But this rail-thin boy is different, I suspect. I have never felt the pain of real hunger. I fasted for 25 days once, but I just grew weak and dreamy. But I’m told that when a person is occasionally fed, but never enough to quench the hunger, it grows into a gnawing pain that knots the gut.
Then there are those children that are starving for love – like Julius and Mama, his little 3 year old sister, or Xavier. These three love-starved kids live on the west edge of Singanga Village – a sordid microcosm of village dysfunction: seven little family huts (on some of the most beautiful river-front land imaginable) – there was one more family hut on that side, but in the last 18 months two men have died of AIDS and one of the widows has moved away; four husbands – all of them drunks; two jobs; ten orphans; the father of Julius and Mama was thrown in prison last year for killing a man in a drunken fight; the father of Xavier was one of the AIDS victims (one wonders when his mom will start getting sick and leave the five children as double-orphans); One father was killed just a few months ago when he was caught fishing on the Zimbabwe side of the river and the Rangers forced him to swim back across the river with his young son – they both died; One illegitimate son (that we know of) with an anger and depression problem; and most of them go to church on Sunday – one’s a priest!
Compassion runs deep for these three kids. Julius and Xavier are the naughtiest little terrors you have ever met. They come running when they see any of us – the only adults with compassion for them; the only ones with physical touch to offer; the only place for a kind word, a picture book, a little individual attention. But we all know – it will not end well. Something will always rise out of the unfathomable pit of rejection and sabotage our best attempts at love.
I assumed the hard part of this orphan ministry would end with the completion of the building – we would automatically flow into production of making little broken lives strong and true and whole. But it is not panning out that way. There is nothing too difficult left to do – simply interview people; make some decisions, get some chickens going and a garden… But there is a hedge in the way. I could get thru it if I forced my way. I feel the pressure behind me like a threat of a stranger on a dark night – compelling me to make a way thru the hedge.
Last Tue night I turned and faced the dark pressure behind me and the hedge before me – I could not sleep. God, why can’t we get this thing done? What about the children? What is keeping this building that seemed so full of promise, yet it sits vacant for month after month! Why God?
God spoke – I love how He gets to the root in one word. How he brings a whole new way of reasoning with a whisper. “Why do you feel so much pressure to move forward?”
Hmmm – well, because of the children…?
Well, actually – and here is my confession – it is also because I want to satisfy those supporters who put their faith in our vision to do this great work. I want to show them they made a good investment. I want so many people to experience the thrill of seeing these young lives changed. I want young people to come and fall in love and leave their imprint in the moldable hearts.
A ha! The lights went on. The realization flooded in. The contrition… the peace… the confidence. I have been living too much to please men rather than God. I have said I am determined to make every move only as God leads. But when He stops progress? Will I sit and wait? Happily? Confident that He will come thru yet?
This is hard for me.
But then again He spoke – one simple word – “Wait On Me!”
Ok, now I am at peace and can wait – because I trust God is in it. God has been so so faithful to me over the years – to send his correcting Word when I need it most. I am so very confident that in His time He will accomplish much more than I could do in all my great efforts.
But progress is being made: Yesterday we dedicated a new venture – a discipleship house in this same West end of Singanga. Nimisha will move in with Sandra – a lovely 18 year old disciple. They will be the presence of Jesus in that place, yet for the first time, on their turf – with their rules and schedule. Nimisha has always lived in the village, but with the people she is discipling.
And Thad and Mary May are finally moving into their “house” on our property among the villages. They have been working on a cement pad and covered structure for a month now, and are finally ready to set up their “Big Blue” (tent) and live for a couple weeks in the village, “unrescued” (while some of us are gone to SA for a conf.).
There has been a rich Presence of Jesus with us lately – worship is deeper, more sustained prayer times, more insight (given by none other than our unseen Guest, I’m sure!) and consecration to do the work with all our hearts. It is not an easy path, and only as we are fed and bathed by the Spiritual Food and Wine do we find courage to give it all. I wish every one could experience the community life we enjoy – it is rich.