I'm borrowing Don's tie between the last two days
because, in my mind, they are as different as they
We started Monday morning with MCC Kenya and the peace
trees. Hearing about how the different trees symbolize
peace was very interesting and got me thinking. Mostly
it was about my family's interaction in Olepolos and
the peace symbols that played a role there. I was
also struck by a comment Ben Bixler made that Africa
starts peace at the roots, at home, and goes out.
He mentioned that so often in the U.S. it seems that
we start with the government and work our way back
to the home. For me that has been a frustration in
understanding a lot about pacifism.
Leaving those thoughts on hold, we heard from Bishop
Okeyo in the afternoon. His comment on missionaries
and church were profound. One of my favorite quotes
from him was that missionaries must "work with,
not for the people." I think going to bed Monday
night was a bit frustrating with so much to think
Tuesday for me was less fact and idea learning and
more emotional learning. I didn't think going back
to New Life Aids Orphanage would be as emotionally
hard as it was. Having been there a week before the
group came allowed me to make some connections with
the kids. Camila was a girl I became especially attached
to. Thankfully she was being adopted so I thought
she would be gone when we came. Nope! She was still
there and still came to me. Just spending that time
with her and knowing that her adoption is not going
well was really hard for me to deal with. I didn't
realize how much of my own heart I had given to her.
Thankfully, it was naptime when we left so I didn't
have to fight with her to let me go like before.
That stayed on my heart the rest of the day. It is
so true as they say in Senegal (or so I hear): children
are "God's bits of wood."
Going next to the craft place was really heard. The
way they made the bone and carvings was interesting,
but my mind was very far away. Yet, even in the crafts
place, the way they worked and helped each other was
Our debriefing Tuesday night was a good way to tie
all these pieces together. Don was right, these are
all pieces of wood that God is working with, even
Ben Tyson writes:
I like being at the AIDS orphanage? Yeah, not so much.
Don't get me wrong, the work they do there is great,
but not for me.
In fact, I've never had a thing for toddlers or infants.
I don't know how to handle them, and I really don't
like holding them. Plus, it is super hot out here
in the sun, and I'm tired. What's this I hear? The
group wants to stay until lunch time in order to see
them eat? Oh, my! Another hour or more in this place!
I'm not sure I can keep my sanity much longer. I guess
I'll go inside and see what's happening in the infant
room since it's hot out here.
That's the way I felt the whole time I was touring
the AIDS orphanage and sitting outside watching the
toddlers. I was glad that others were having fun holding
the babies and playing with them, but I was bored.
So, I went inside to check out the infants and met
my dad. Before I knew what was happening--and much
to my regret--I was holding one of them. My dad had
passed her on to me to hold for a while. Alright,
I can do this. I know feeding time is soon, so I'll
just hold her for a while and then be able to get
rid of her and let someone else feed her.
Whew! It's feeding time. All I need to do is finish
putting her in this high chair, and I'll be able to
go sit down. What?! No, I don't want to feed her!
Making me watch her eat will probably make me loose
my appetite for lunch. Fine, I'll do it! Alright,
here comes the choo-choo train. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
Actually, this isn't as bad as I thought. Most of
the food is going into her mouth. Okay, now to the
bottle. Now what?
She is done eating and drinking. Nap time, right?
Nope, I have to hold her. "sigh" Alright,
I've done it before. It won't be that bad. Plus, it
is only for a little while. I held Molly for a good
twenty to thirty minutes after she was done eating.
By the time nap time was upon us and the nurses were
ready to put her in the crib, I did not want to let
go! I was having fun!
Molly and I played together, clapped together, played
airplane and horse, and just sat together. I talked
to her, sang to her, and developed a relationship
with her that I will never forget. It felt so refreshing
to break down that wall and be able to hold and play
with infants. I was able to carry Molly all the way
to her crib, and though I will never see her again,
she changed my life in a way she will never understand.
All she had to do was be a baby, as the Lord took
me out of my comfort zone and softened my heart.