We have a mission team in Ethiopia this week. The following is a post written on Monday by one of the team members about their first day visiting children. Enjoy!
Beautiful Big Eyes
Today was our first official trip to an orphanage and it was a great day. I think we were all very anxious to get going this morning! The morning was spent at a private orphanage and we began our visit with sweet little babies. And oh how precious they were! What beautiful big eyes that stared back into ours. Some of us were a bit rusty at the baby thing, but we all quickly found one, two or three of them to cuddle and play with. It was such a joy to get a giggle and a smile and to be able to provide them with the warmth of human touch. It was beautiful to see their innocence and openness to the love and affection of others.
After we visited with the babies, we took a short tour of the older children's rooms and stopped in to see the children with special needs. Again, the beauty of simple love and affection and the effects of that on each of these children was overwhelming. We got to share with one boy his enthusiasm for music and celebration as we broke into impromptu singing and clapping. Human touch is a powerful thing, make no mistake. So much can pass between people even when there is no voice, or when there is no hearing or visible understanding.
Next we played and sang and danced with the other children at the orphanage and what a great time we had! We played football, basketball, we taught them songs and dance and they taught us a few songs and games too. It was like the best recess ever! They really loved the new soccer balls we brought. One little boy just would not let go of the one he held in his tiny little hands. The older girls were very interested in us and I enjoyed talking about school with them. Some of them spoke English quite well. Even with the older children it is still quite clear that human touch is craved and needed. They were quite curious about us too and of course loved to get their picture taken but don't forget to show them the picture after you have taken it! What a wonderful time of play and music and talking with these children.
After eating a quick lunch we headed over to another private orphanage in what seemed to be the opposite side of the city. Upon arrival we were greeted by a beautiful welcome song in English that the children had obviously practiced many times. My heart was definitely filled with joy at this sweet gesture. We then went to see the baby room where the little ones were just finishing up their naps. Anyone who has children knows that they are most precious when consumed in slumber. But alas, that was quickly interrupted when one got up and almost all the rest were awakened! Only two little boys sleeping in the same crib would not let the noise deter them from their sleep. As in the morning, the eyes of these babies and their tiny fingers and toes were captivating to me and held my heart if only for a few minutes. We quickly had to move downstairs to join back up with the children who had so lovingly greeted us with song. They surprised us with even more songs including "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" sung in both English and Ahmaric . How beautiful to hear those little voices! We then passed out rhythm sticks and bells, which they loved, and taught them "This Little Light of Mine." Music is so powerful and beautiful to communicate so much in such a short period of time. We all hated to leave so quickly but time passed more quickly than we liked. In all of the places we visited saying goodbye was very hard. It is difficult to feel as if you really loved well when time is so short.
The last stop of the day was at a youth center in a small community facilitated by a group of private sponsors. This is a sponsorship program that allows parents to continue to keep their own children in their home by giving them the opportunity to make a living while their children are well-cared for, receive three meals a day and learn life skills. It is the rainy season break here, which is like our summer break in the US, and this center bridges the gap and gives the kids a place to come and learn and have meals they may not otherwise have. These children are not orphans but to support them is a way to support the local community and the families living in them. The youth again greeted us with the same beautiful welcome song. We stayed only briefly but enjoyed meeting them and seeing what they are doing there. The English spoken by the children there was very good and they were all extremely polite. It was a privilege to meet them.
It was a wonderful first day and there were so many examples of God's grace and mercy interwoven into it all. It is so amazing to see God's image in the people I meet here. He is a beautiful God that has made beautiful people. He loves them all and sent His son for them all. If you keep that at the forefront of your mind, loving them comes easy as His love flows through.
Written by: Keri Bosch
If you would like more information on joining future trips to Ethiopia and many other countries please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 800-429-3369. You can view the schedule for our remaining 2014 trips and our 2015 trips already scheduled by visiting our website.