Robert turned 13 today! (8 hours sooner than he would have in America!) ;-).
This morning he was pretty homesick when I gave him all the cards his dad and brother and sisters had made for him. We went to church, and the whole church sang Happy Birthday to him! He said later, "that was the best harmony I've ever heard on the birthday song!" I suggested that perhaps I'd never be able to compete with an African gospel choir singing!
We helped the medical team in a clinic today at the place where we found Baby Moses last year. Baby Moses is now buried on the property, and will always be remembered as the first orphan at the orphanage that is being built on that property.
I was amazed at how the property looks now compared to four years ago just after it was purchased. They already have 16 children living there... 8 to a house with a house mother. They have just completed work on two more houses, so they'll be adding children soon! The ultimate goal is 200 orphans! Such a blessing! Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston is the founding and supporting church for this orphanage. A team was there a month ago building a fantastic new playground for the children, and I have been told that the church is hoping to begin sending teams once a month so that there are always people there loving on and supporting the children at the orphanage. Wow. I visited briefly with the woman in charge of all the homes for the children at the orphanage, and am hoping to have more time to talk with her and find out how they plan to handle transitioning teenagers/young adults out of the orphanage in order to gain more insight about how to help Ms Agnes.
At the clinic I got to assist one of the doctors, and we saw mostly children... A dream! I need to tell you that God truly gives me the desires of my heart. This week I have gotten to be teacher and doctor in Africa... The things I have always felt called to and passionate about!
Robert asked to help with wound care
today, and I was shocked! I love that he was willing to try something new, and when he came and found me a couple of hours later, he was talking excitedly about abscesses and stitches, etc!! ;-). He may have some of me in him after all!
Last week after church, I talked about how restful it is to gather with your church family. This week, I will say again... If I could do African church all the time, I'd be sooooo happy!!!! ;-). We were visiting with a woman who came from the church to translate for us at the clinic and we said, "we don't dance in church.". She was SHOCKED and said, "don't dance???!! What do you do to praise the Lord??!!". I have video that I can't wait to show you! I can't get it on my blog, but I've attached a picture. During one song that was apparently about going into the world, all the people PIcKED UP THeIR CHAIRS and began dancing around the church conga line style holding the chairs over their heads!
It occurred to me yesterday during church (as I watched everyone wipe sweat from their faces 3 minutes into the hour long praise portion) that people in Africa give their ALL to church. They bring everything... Their best clothes, their most energy, their money... All of it dedicated to the One they believe deserves nothing but their best. They dance forward to give their offerings each week, praising the Lord all the way. They give everything to God, but go away refreshed. It's one of those upside down mysteries of the Gospel. We have much to celebrate every time we go to church. I believe that if we bring our best, we'll leave feeling our best.
It was a fantastic day with much to celebrate. I am so excited about what I see God doing in Robert's life, and pray that he will continue to grow in his relationship with the Lord, always listening to where God is calling, and always ready to obey. On the plane on the way here, at one point he was asleep with his head on my shoulder and the flight attendant came by and asked if he wanted a drink. He woke up and said, "apple juice please" and suddenly he was 2 years old again. I got all teary thinking about my baby being old enough to turn 13 in Africa. I was reading Kisses from Katie and had been telling him in the van on the way to the airport that I always thought that's what I would do after college... Just move to Africa...but God had other, better plans for me. As if he had read my thoughts, a few hours after the apple juice incident, he said, "Mom, do you know why you had to wait to come to Africa? So I could come too." I couldn't be more grateful to God for always knowing the best plan.
Robert, happy birthday!!! I'm so incredibly proud of you, and I can't wait to see what your next 13 years bring...