God coordinated the best team to visit these kids in Gulu! I feel so honored that God included me in this awesome mission to the children in Gulu, and especially at Village of Hope. I was blessed by Bethany Haley who is a psychologist and runs a ministry called Exile International. She is a best friend of mine and works passionately and without end to help heal the children who have been traumatized by abductions and murders of the LRA. Most of these atrocities are just 2 or 3 years old and these children carry these horrible memories and emotions with them. She taught us how to take them through art therapy to share their stories. Without sharing and talking about their stories, they will continue to hide them in their heart and the darkness can consume them. But when they bring these stories into the light, the shame is broken and they heal.
The team also consisted of singer/songwriter, Britt Nicole. This young woman has a heart ONLY for God and to LOVE all His people. She was a walking ministry, constantly being led by the Spirit and determined to not miss Him if He called her to speak or reach out to someone. Through out the airports and into the displacement camps, she would constantly stop to tell strangers that Jesus loved them. She has the gift of worship as well and would constantly sing over the children. She was my constant companion and I loved how she would pray over me as I prayed over the children.
We were also accompanied by Jake Birdwell. An avid traveler who came as a photographer and videographer to tape the trip for a documentary for Exile Int'l. He brought safety, security and care to our team..and he loved on the children and participated in many activities.
We were blessed to lead these children through the prayer of salvation so that this God who says He is a father to the fatherless could become their heavenly Father. I wasn't sure how many of them understood that God adopts us into His family and becomes our daddy. I knew many of them missed their earthly fathers and I wanted them to know that God our Father could be their Abba, their Daddy, if they would accept Him as the Lord of their lives. We were amazed at how many of them raised their hands to invite Him into their hearts. I think most of them knew the salvation message and most of them had already accepted them, but when I told them about how He could be their daddy, every single one raised their hand.
One particular little girl stands out to me. She had a very hardened, angry face but was the first to raise her hand to receive Him into her life. Literally after the prayer, she was glowing and smiling and showing compassion to a toddler boy in the room. She continued in this new found hope and happiness during my entire stay with the children. She is the little girl whose hand I'm on as we are praying in the photos above. I love the photo of the two children who just lived in the nearby village who were listening through the window. At one point one of those little boys literally climbed up into a tree and sat there to see and hear better. (reminded me of Zacheus..)
It was awesome to see how God used each one of us to bring His Kingdom come into the lives of these children. I'm just so thankful to have this purpose in my life. To be able to be used by God into the life of one of these very precious children. You will never be the same again once God has used you to minister to an orphan. The vulnerable, helpless and abandoned. I write these blog posts with the hopes of inspiring you to as, Britt puts it in her song, "Walk on the Water". I read a quote on the way home yesterday that said, "Your life begins at the end of your comfort zone". This is so true. I encourage you to go and minister to the orphans or ADOPT one (or two or three :)).
Follow along as I take this mission seriously and minister to the orphans in this world.
Visiting Orphans...It pretty much speaks for itself. Our lives are made to give away to others and I love it that helping orphans is pure and undefiled religion! Follow along as I take God seriously about this mission and minister to the orphans in this world. He is constantly at work in our lives..we just sometimes have to shift our perspective to notice Him. I pray you will hopefully see Him in the words and pictures below..through my perspective.
This blogpage follows the mission trips I lead to minister to orphans in this world. I am the Executive Director of a mission sending agency called Visiting Orphans. (www.visitingorphans.org) I believe my mission in life is similar to the President of Compassion International, Dr. Wes Stafford. In his book, "Too Small to Ignore" he says, "On one side of this international bridge, my role is to minister to the poor, to the orphans, to "comfort the afflicted." And then I cross the bridge, coming back to the Western, more affluent world, where my job is to speak and write and to "affict the comfortable" to call them to action." Loving people on both sides of the spectrum...
I pray that something in my words or pictures will inspire you to reach out beyond yourself...to GO and help the "least of these".