Someone once said….
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
DECEMBER 1, 2012
Today, I stand in awe. We did it! God did it through you. Who would have ever thought that a dream of this size could ever be realized? Who would have dreamed that people from every part of the globe would gather in South Africa and give 250 orphans a party they would never …ever forget? I think our Pastor Martin stood up in heaven on Dec. 1st and gave us all a grand applause!
I believe if there was a half-second chance that he might have wished to come back to earth-it would have been for this one. I believe he would have jumped to be ‘in on the action’ if only for a moment… I cried tears as this truly miraculous day unfolded…
As the 250 orphans got off the bus I could not hold back my tears. They got off the bus so excited. This day, I am sure they had been dreaming of as children in families dream of Christmas.
Not one was disappointed!
As all of you worked through the entire past summer making pillowcase dresses, buying super hero T-shirts, collecting stuffed animals, writing out cards, collecting jewelry and making hair accessories—this day was the grand finale! It was as if we were all here together in South Africa giving a hope and hug to 250 orphans!
The party started out with a speech and prayer from the principal of the school whereby she told these children they were the privileged ones who had mom’s and dad’s from all over the globe that loved and cared for them. Yep, that clouded my eyes.
It wasn’t too soon after that when our special ‘animal’ orphan appeared! Mr. Santa Cheetah Claws arrived at our party in his special car from his orphanage-DeWildt Sanctuary. He is an orphan cheetah who has been loved on and petted by more than 100,000 children. Now make that: 100,250!!
Every child stood spellbound and fell very quiet as they came up and gave our ‘orphan’ cheetah some cheetah love. You could have heard a wild cheetah call clear from Mozambique as not one child dared make a sound! Even the leaders got an opportunity to meet eye-to-eye with a real live cheetah… (Some leaders shared with me later that they never in all their born ‘days’ dreamed they would ever pet a real cheetah!)
I think my smile became etched in permanent ink that day.
After this we had a short drama done by The Flames Youth and a few of ‘our’ kids got up and sang. The Christmas Story was shared and
We gathered the excited little boys together in a line and each received a brand new T-Shirt, a toy car, a stuffed animal and a handwritten note from YOU. They were so proud! Never have I seen boys hug a stuffed toy as they did or do what boys do best, get on the cement floor and crash cars! ……
We gathered the girls in a line and each girl received a pillowcase dress ‘fitted’ just right for her in every way! I could see the birthing of worth and value as they picked the color and design they loved with the help of our women leaders. They hugged on their stuffed animals; started to put on new jewelry, tie their hair in new ribbons and read their cards. They glowed!
That day, they were transformed to Cinderella with worth and value that mattered to someone.
There is no amount of money that could buy or words that could capture all the precious moments of that day. However, I believe the greatest moment occurred in a place so deep it can’t be seen.
When the food came—everything stopped. Never have I seen such heaping plates licked clean by such tiny bodies! Even Bruce commented how a different ‘feel’ was in the air when the food arrived. It was as if time stood still and all focus went on eating as much food as each could without getting sick. It was said by some of the teachers that they rarely get ‘meat’. And, we had pap, big chunks of stewed meat, vegetables, juice and butterscotch pudding. I got a weird feeling while they ate. It was as if I dare not disturb any child who was busy eating-like their eyes lost all outsider focus. That is the only way I feel I can describe it.
This ‘thing’ only intensified our commitment to keep the feeding program at the school going for as many children as we can; for as long we are able.
When the party was over the kids wrote us thank you notes. There was one that I will share as it sent a chill down my spine. It really caused a ‘tug’ in my heart as the buses arrived.
“I love all but I don’t trust anyone. I trust in God. Good bye“
As the buses pulled away filled with ‘our’ kiddies my mind was spinning. My heart ached and my arms felt empty. There is so much they need; so much we need to teach them. I kept thinking and asking myself how did Pastor Martin keep doing this week after week?
These children are exposed to so much evil when they should be protected. They had to grow-up when they should still be small. How does one make a difference? I thought of a something I read a long time ago….
Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.
Atrocities occur in the shadows and in the secret places everyday in the lives of our kids. Such gruesome threats seek after the most precious commodity our children possess.
That commodity is: HOPE.
I think the ‘thing’ that kept our Pastor Martin going into this village week after week; meeting his orphan’s needs wherever he could-was accomplished in his astute wisdom of this one commodity. He knew if HOPE could be restored and preserved in the heart of every abused and neglected child—every dragon in that child’s life that needs killing–could be slain.
It is the hope of God that the lonely, rejected and abandoned be restored. It is His hope that all would find a place of perfect protection, uninterrupted acceptance and unspeakable joy. Although, we won’t find such a place like this until heaven, His command for us in the meantime is amazingly simple…..
“God sets the lonely in families” Psalm 68:6
A family is God’s answer to a lonely child’s prayer. And, I see it this way…
He searches the earth for those seeking a lasting purpose and matches them with those who need love and acceptance.
This past year, you have been a ‘family’ to these precious kiddies. I can’t even thank you to the full extent that is due. It would take me pages to thank you for one incredible year: 2012!
But, I think most of you would not accept the accolades even if I offered. I think I know who you are and most of you realize that in the gift of becoming ‘family’ to these precious kiddies-you already have all the praise you need. You are the answer to their most desperate plea…
“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven”
The HOPE of heaven on this broken earth is what 2012 was all about.
I love each one of you. If you were in arm’s reach I would wrap you all in a big African hug. But since I am not, I will wrap you in the wings of an African prayer. Thank you, thank you…thank you, for all you have done.
Awaiting in Hope for 2013—Sister Sally Herman
Original Link: December 2012 Zoe News