Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Orphan Crisis

This is the most amazing video I've seen on the actual statistics of how many orphans there are in this world. Please take a moment to watch it and realize the crisis the world is in. If you are moved to help just one, please consider buying a "ticket home" for an orphan through the campaign I direct called "An Orphan's Ticket Home"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pictures of 2008 Trip

To view all the pictures from both our trips, please click here for Ethiopia and her for Rwanda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Young & Hopeless

The first two days of our time in EThiopia were spent at the HIV orphanage called AHope. The first day was spent at the young orphange where the kids were below age 8 or so. The children here were like most children, except a few had sores all over the faces. We had to watch which ones we painted, whether we painted their faces or their hands because of this reason. They did seem to have a little less energy than children their own age. I believe this was for two reasons...some of them were most likely battling illnesses and also they just seemed to have such little hope in their eyes. We held puppet shows for them and they delighted in being surprised by Chris who was a wounded man in our play/puppet show. Every once in awhile Chris would yell out, "Oh, Woe is Me!" and boy, did he ham it up and it was scare the kids and they would just delight in it. They probably didn't understand one word of the show, but they got that part! We had them up and dancing and jumping rope. Of course, playing soccer...
The next day we went to the "Older" HIV orphans home. These children had even less hope in their eyes. They seemed to understand more fully their plight. We played more soccer and volley ball and loved on the older girls by painting their hands and faces and nails. There was one little girl who had a gorgeous face, but she was so thin and you could see how tired she was. As the day wore on and the team grew busy with the other kids, we forgot about her. As we were getting ready to leave we were invited to walk through and see where the children live and sleep. I invited some of the team to go with me. We walked into one room and observed all the bunk beds and were about to leave again when I finally noticed that frail little girl all balled up sleeping in one of the bottom bunks. It was obvious she was sick. So, we all laid hands on her to pray for her and she did not budge one inch or respond in any way. Nate, one of the single guys began to weep as we prayed. I truly felt the anointing of God fall on us and that little girl and do believe some healing was exchanged through that time of intercession, but we were so sad as we left as she never once responded to us. The nanny said she gets very tired early and goes to bed for the day around 5 PM.
Many of the team wrestled later that day and week with the reality that not only are these kids orphaned, but they also may not live to be an adult...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rwanda - Light in the Darkness

Hi from Rwanda...

So sorry it has taken this long to finally update you all. As you can imagine, our schedule is fully packed and I had to opt to stay back from the mother Theresa orphanage here in Rwanda to be able to let you all know that we are doing very well.

So far we spent 3 nights in Addis and it was truly wonderful. We visited two HIV orphanages where all the children had lost their parents from AIDS and 90% of them had the virus. The name of the orphanage is AHope. The younger children can be adopted and it was so wonderful to see even those with the worst case being adopted and spared a death sentence from this virus. The older children's home though was heartbreaking.. We had some GREAT moments and time with them all playing sports and games and painting, but their energy level and light in their eyes was drastically diminished compared to other orphanages. At the end of our time there we went to see the rooms where the children slept and saw one very thin beautiful 9 year old girl curled up on her bed. She'd been there for the last 2 hours while we played outside with all the others. she would not wake up or respond to us. The caretakers said she was very sick and would tire easily and go to bed for the night very early. So, we all laid hands on her and prayed for her. She did not respond again...But, I know that God's anointing was there as I felt it...how could it not be? He loves her more than we do and is her FATHER. I did see an image that God was surrounding her as if in an incubator with a wall of protection so He coudl heal her, if not of what was temporarily ailing her, then for her ultimate healing of AIDS. I will let you know how she is doing as I hear.
Many hearts broke there in our team. By far the best part of leading a trip is watching those in our trip become wrecked for the Lord and changed forever. It is the biggest blessing and why I do what I do..yes, for the orphans, but I love to watch those who have never seen the reality of the orphan crisis be changed forever and go back and make eternal changes for them.
Rwanda has been difficult for me...We arrived yesterday and went straight to the Genocide Memorial. It was very thorough and detailed leaving no room for your imagincation in both pictures and video. So last night I woke up and grieved and still am. Mostly though b/c after learning of the genocide and the brutality of it just only 13 years ago and then meeting orphans who are now in their twenties who share their story of survival and witnessing all their family's horrible deaths, has been the part that has been hard for me. This is where I can use your prayers. I want to pull it all end and absorb and understand..I want to feel their pain, but I also need to be strong for this team, so pray for my Spirit please....
We go to 3 orphanages today and then another two while we are here. I will share more with you when we get back to Ethiopia on Monday night.
This team is wonderful and unified and the best team yet.
In His very Loving Arms..