I write to you all, with great joy in my heart!!! I just got back from South Africa this week… where we held the most amazing PJ party a child could ever dream of!
After many months and hours of preparation our PJ party was a big success!! It’s always sooo exciting the morning our kiddie clan arrives for ‘their’ day. To be honest, I get twisted up in knots… good and bad… when I hear the buses arrive with excited kiddies… peering out the windows… yelling and screaming, “Sister Sally!!!” A tide of raw emotions wash over my soul… as I know the day will roll in with squeals of elated joy… and roll out with a feeling of great helplessness.
Hearing the jubilant voices from down the road and seeing them cheer as they pull into the dirt parking lot sounds a lot like angels to me.
In their small worlds full of tragedy, coldness and fear—here, they are given a moment of time just to be kids. They walk into the warm and loving atmosphere of the church and feel… not only the bigness of God’s love—but, our smallness in human love as well.
A big part of our preparation for welcoming this “hungry hoard” was the massive amount of food preparation by our kiddie’s cooks. Beef was prepared in mass quantities…
… not to mention pap…
… and getting the dishes all spic and span!
Before I forget to mention it… in the wee hours of ‘preparation morning’… prior to every event, we have our precious Go-Go’s (grannies) marching around the entire church interceding for us!
They tell me, “My sister, we can’t have a gathering in the church, without prayers covering every corner!” After an hour or so of prayer they go and start the cooking to feed the 300 orphans!
Only in Africa….. will you find precious old grannies treating the power of prayer as the mainstay of protection. To see them march around the entire church clapping their hands interceding, asking for God to come… is like watching the walls of Jericho fall down at the commanding power of their prayers!!!
After the kids arrived, they sat down to a program of singing, dancing and bible stories! The program was led by the faithful youth of Flames Church, and it was quite “African”… exciting as only the African way can be! They even included singing and dancing competitions…
to which the kids responded with out of control laughter… till their stomachs hurt!
We then presented Certificates of Service awards to our three cooks. These dear ladies cook for three hundred orphans every day at school.
Their look of humble gratitude as the children clapped…and gave them a standing ovation… stirred my heart to tears.
Life in Africa is not easy. Cooking for our orphans is not easy labor. Yet, everyday these three ladies cook ‘al fresco’… in the ‘all outdoors’… in huge pots on a cement floor…with no modern conveniences… in order to serve our children.
I am in awe at their dedication, hard work and compassion for our orphans.
After this, Sister Sharon gave the children a Gospel Magic Show which captivated the attention of all 300 kids!
This would never happen where we come from. Technology today has robbed American children of their God given attention span and social skills… and yet, our orphans, void of technology, are so thirsty to learn… sooo open to being loved!
A simple magic show which teaches a simple Gospel lesson is enough to hold them captive! For this moment of time, they are someone’s number-one priority. That someone being, us… you… and, everyone who supports ZoeForKids!
After the ‘fun’ part of the party… the children feasted on mountains of beef, pap, and cabbage.
Our dear African sister, Lorraine, presented 6 huge frosted cakes that she had made just for this party!!
Each child ate until their bellies were beyond full. Even better than that, I could tell the hunger that groaned in their bellies in the past, is no longer preoccupying them… they look happier and healthier each time we visit them.
Lest I forget, the kids ate EVERY crumb of EVERY cake that Lorraine made… and like every child around the world— each one ‘needed’ one frosted candy to be placed on top of their piece of cake!
Kids being Kids—they are all the same, everywhere!
I think…every child wants sugar and every child wants love. Sugar and love go together like a big piece of frosted cake! The reality is… the worst disease in the entire world is the disease of being ‘unwanted’… and that, my friends, is being cured in our small corner of the world with your and God’s help!
After the big meal, every child got in line.
We had gift bags prepared with several pairs of warm PJ’s, scarves, and toys in every bag!
Each child received a bag filled with treasures… fit for the royalty they are!
Can I also mention—the handwritten cards that you donated, got precious treatment… tucked away safely in their pockets and book bags after they read them!! They held great meaning to them… you could tell by the width of their smiles and the way they carefully put them back into the respected envelopes and tried to reseal each one.
Every child hugged us and told us, ‘THANK YOU!!!’ This, to me, is treasure directly from heaven…. But, I don’t stop there. I tell them about all of YOU. They then tell me to give to you—THEIR LOVE AND HUGS. I tell them that, without their family all over the world, this day would never have been made possible. … .
I humbly say, “Thank you”
I have no words.
Well, yes, I do….ONE MORE THING!
Many of you have been following the story of little Aida.
Her granny is a Sangoma (witch doctor) and threw away everything Aida received from us. On a prior trip, while visiting Aida at her shack, the granny threw me out. Aida cried on my shoulders and I cried too. She didn’t show up at our 2013 Christmas Party and I figured I would never see her again. I believed mixing with Christians would be prohibited by her granny.
BUT, by the good grace of God and much prayer I am sure… she came to the PJ party! I was over the moon in happiness!!! Of course I loaded her bag full of great things and a few pair of warm PJ’s. When I asked her how it was at home, her eyes just filled with gigantic tears…
I think this is the greatest ache in my soul: … “to be so close to this precious child that I can hold her and comfort her for a moment… and yet, so far away in the relieving of her continual pain.”
It may not seem like much is being done in our little corner of South Africa. In the scheme of “mission greatness”—we are quite small. There are over 1-billion children in the world who are deprived of shelter, food, safe water, sanitation, health care and education. When I hear of such statistics I become ill inside. The task before us is huge, never ending, and very daunting.
For my own sanity I have to scale the billion down to a city… and even the city… down to a few. If every one of us prayerfully provides for ‘the few’ that God has placed under our care, we can grow to a point where He will entrust many more to our care.
If we just focus on the ocean of orphans in the world we will be unequipped, overwhelmed and paralyzed from action. We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed into inaction. That is why, for us not to act for the ‘few’, because we can’t help them all, is heresy. If we all assisted just the ones we have been given, we will eventually be challenged to accomplish this work for many more… BUT one step at a time, as God lights our footsteps.
He goes before us… he stays with us… and now He stays behind, watching over our wee orphans when we cannot. He opened the way that not one gift was stolen through customs and our orphans were served as royal Kings and Queens—now, we trust Him to stay with them as we leave.
There are no words that can fully express my feelings right now. Just know, I love you all… from the depths of my heart, and I thank you strongly for looking beyond the borders of your heart and expanding those borders to cover them.
I love you so very much