I've read a lot lately about the ineffectiveness of short term missions. Good thing we're not on a short term mission! We may come here each year for a short time, but we have long-term relationships. I wish I had access to my pictures from previous years, so that I could show a then and now, but this is Emma. (Emmanuel).
When I first met Emma, he was five, and Ms Agnes' youngest child. My own children were very taken with his adorable pictures, and Bryan would even select his most special hot wheels cars for Emma's Christmas packages. Today, Emma is clean, healthy, and in P3 (third grade). He can read and write, he has clean water, food, shelter, and he knows Jesus. He is so far ahead of where he should be, given his life circumstances, thanks to the love and generosity of Agnes and the people who faithfully contribute to his care.
Last year, we met Pamela, a girl from the community surrounding Agnes'. Pamela attends nursery school at the orphanage and has special needs. She has attended nursery school for a year with the other children, being treated just like them. A year later, she barely seems different from them, and she did this today
She wrote her own name too! :-)
We are about long term relationships. The workers at the hotel, the people at the churches we visit... They remember us and us them. We can't wait to catch up and check in. It's our way of saying, "we're invested. We consider this 'home' too.