July 19, 2013,1050 am
Today is our last day at with the children at the King’s Garden Orphanage, which culminates with a soccer tournament, the concluding portion of the VBS, a pizza party to celebrate all the children’s accomplishments and a goodbye time. Looking back, we have been very tired upon our return each evening to Dr. Morquette’s home, yet have all been filled with a mixture of joy and groaning. The joy comes naturally from seeing the enthusiasm of the kids inviting us into their play, worshipping together and having the kids share their hopes and dreams with us. Groaning comes also during these times though. One beautiful thirteen-year-old girl shared with one of us that she has friends at the orphanage when they notice that she has candy to share, but her real friends are the foreigners who visit that she can share her heart with. She shared that her highest desire though was to have a family, and that she prayed every day for this. We also feel burdened by the everywhere-you-look poverty in the streets of Port au Prince as we drive home: homes consisting of broken cement walls covered by US Aid tarps, three boys kicking a soda bottle around in a small circle, a baby being held on the lap of a motorcycle taxi passenger, a woman sitting on the side of the road with her head buried in her hands.
The times of sharing that we have each evening help us as we sort out both the joyful and junky things that are in our hearts. After a time of connecting with God through prayer and worship, we have been privileged to hear the testimonies of how God has worked in each of our lives. The vulnerable nature of what has been shared and the unmistakable interventions of God in each person have been so faith building and have really knit our hearts together. We have also benefitted from simply sharing with each other the things that we are feeling. Also, the ministry of the Scriptures through team members sharing a devotional has been key to keeping our perspective and persevering.
The theme of the VBS times with the kids have centered on facing challenges by keeping our eyes on God. Monday’s verse was Joshua 1:9 which encourages us to “be strong and courageous,” knowing that God is with us. On Tues, we were encouraged to “fix our eyes on Jesus” in order to overcome obstacles in the race of life (Hebrews 12:1-3) and Wednesday’s lesson exhorted us to run our race with everything we’ve got, like a runner who really wants to win (1 Corinthians 9:24). A heart-stirring song the kids sang for us captures this idea really well: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all------ your strength."
Today’s lesson (which I will lead momentarily) uses Acts 20:24: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Please pray for us as we finish this week, that we would complete the tasks God has for us here, and also that His work is completed in each of our lives for His glory.