Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Friends

Last night was ESL class, and I can't even express how much I look forward to Monday and Tuesday evenings when I get to see all of my friends. And really that's what I look forward to the most, just seeing their sweet faces and talking with them for the few minutes before and after class. I know they come to learn English, and I know that I'm supposed to be teaching them, but more than anything I love to love these people. I'm an awful teacher. I don't know how to effectively teach ESL, but I see the progress everyone is making. So this is totally God working through me, because every week they come back. I know it's partly for the English, but I also know that they keep coming because we've developed genuine relationships with each other. They all greet me with a hug, they ask me questions, they ask how Scott is doing, they invite me over for dinner. I am now part of a community and culture that is so completely different than anything I've known and yet I feel so welcomed and loved. And it blows my mind. These people have been through so much, and have witnessed things that I pray none of you have to endure. They've been hungry, they've been tortured, and they've been forgotten and tossed aside by everyone. But God, He hasn't forgotten them, he's brought them to Indianapolis, Indiana and he has allowed our paths to cross, and He told me not to forget them either. So last night, when my new friend Zenebe who is desperately trying to learn English (he's the one on the right and has only been here for a few weeks) said, "Whitney, please don't forget me, I need you to help me". My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. This is it. This is what God has been whispering to me throughout this entire journey. The word "HELP" has always been in my mind. I want to be in Africa so bad it hurts sometimes. I have no idea what I would do once I got there, no plan at all. I just know that I want to help. Sometimes I feel like that's not enough though, that I need to be doing something more specific. Then I think, it's not about me and what I want. It's about others, and if I see a need, then I need to help. I don't need to be in Africa to do that. I have spent alot of time focusing my efforts on getting to Africa. And right here in front of me is Africa, God has brought Africa to me and he has commanded that I not forget that these people are right here, and they need help too. I can't accurately express how much of an honor it is to serve my new friends. That God has chosen me, that He picked me to carry out this part of His plan for the Kingdom. How awesome!
I'll serve my friends here while I wait to be in Africa, and I will do it joyfully because I love them and I care deeply about them. And I know that if I do make it to Africa someday that God will choose someone else to love my friends just as much. Isn't it exciting to dream about these things? To dream about what God will do in your life 5 or 10 years from now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So I've finally finished reading all of the posts on Katie's blog ( Katie is the girl that I've been following for a while now, she lives in Uganda. I wish I were more eloquent and could use the right words to describe Katie and what's she's doing in Uganda, but for now, AMAZING is all I can come up with. To truly get a complete grasp of what is going on in Uganda you have to read her blog and do your own research and if you're able, go to Uganda. Anyway, I just wanted to share a few excerpts from a couple different posts that have broken my heart.

From Katie:

Friday was my favorite day so far, I think. Maybe it is because I had finally slept through the night, haha. When I woke up yesterday morning (next to sweet Sumini, my favorite sleeping buddy) Margaret, Prossy and Agnes, my three oldest daughters marched into my room. “Mommy, there are children we need to help please.” “Ok,” I said groggily, “where?” They took me to the abandoned house down the road. In the back room were seven children lying in a pile on the dirt floor. They were completely starving and filthy. The oldest is 11 and the youngest 2. I have never seen children so sick, and I have seen some very sick children. They all have severe ringworm, malaria and scabies (my favorite…) among other things. 2 of them, who I am guessing are HIV positive, are the skinniest things I have ever seen; I’m guessing 4’6” 35 pounds. So of course, we brought them home. I have never been so proud of my family as I was when I watched their reaction. Prossy, Margaret and Agnes went straight to the tub to give them baths. Mary combed their hair while Helen and Sumini rubbed lotion on them. Nabayego boiled eggs and made toast. Scovia made tea. Sarah, Joyce and Emily went to their room, sifted through their clothes and picked each of the children a new outfit. In less than an hour, they were a new bunch of children. All bathed, dressed, fed and running around my house. Margaret looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, “Mommy, I love these children.” Me too, Margaret. Me too. This is what it looks like, I thought. We sit in church and TALK about compassion, unimaginable love, revival. And then an hour later, we are still sitting there talking about it. REVIVAL is happening. NOW. Compassion is working; unimaginable, selfless love is real. It is right here. I can stand and watch the children I have loved and cared for compassionately love and care for others. My five year old knows how to be Jesus. My heart is so full. And I know that God fills my heart up in those moments to prepare me for the next one. As I help the littlest girl, “Jane”, my heart broke. My thoughts wandered. She doesn’t belong to anyone. No one will claim her. But God does. She is a child of the King. She belongs to a Wonderful Maker, and yesterday and today, as I lay her in my bed, she belongs to me. "Mommy, I love these children." Today, my family will claim the unwanted and unloved for He who loves all.

One more from Katie:

Yesterday a sweet little girl named Rita came to my house with two teeth that had been completely eaten through by a cavity and were almost completely rotted away. The holes looked like they were starting to get infected and the nerve was exposed; I cant imagine how much pain she was in. I took her to the dentist, and they said they were closed. The dentist was in a hurry to leave and wouldn't help me, but he said I could use his things and do it myself. Of course I was terrified, but I was more scared to think about the teeth not being removed immediately; they looked so painful. I gave her a shot to numb her mouth, waited about ten minutes, tried to sterilize these tweezer things with a match and dug out what was remaining of her poor little teeth. I don't think she could feel it, but my heart hurt for her.
I took her back to my house, made her a hot bath and some soup. Then she had ice cream and slept in my bed under a big blanket. As i tucked the covers in around her and kissed her head she looked up at me with these big, wondering eyes. Unbelievable as it is, she was SOOO happy. She told me that this was the best day of her life, even though her mouth hurt. She said that she would get her teeth pulled every day if she could stay with someone like me. And that made my heart hurt even more.
There are so many children out there that don't feel loved on a daily basis. So many children that don't have a person to hold their hand or rub their back when they are scared and in pain. So many children who don't have the simple pleasures of taking a warm bath or sleeping under a blanket. I would move all of them, ALL of them into my house if I could. I wish I could love them all. I wish more people cared enough that they also wanted to love them all. Sometimes I just can't even believe how blessed I am. I have always been loved, always been cared for, always been warm and well-fed. Its frustrating sometimes, but mostly its just motivating. Sometimes I feel so tired, and then something like this happens and I am reminded that I can give a child the best night of her life simply by making her soup and kissing her forehead. Simply by loving her.
Sometimes I feel so tired that I think if I give away any more of myself I may actually be empty. And then I remember, It is only in giving away the love given to me by the Father that I am ever actually full. And so I keep going because of Rita. Because kissing her forehead and saying 'I love you" actually did change the world for that little girl. Because maybe through my hands she can get just a glimpse of a fraction of the love her Maker has for her. There is nothing better.

Whitney here:
I know people think I'm nuts sometimes, as much as I talk about Africa. But I picture myself there almost every waking minute, and it's real. I want to physically seek these children out. Those that have no one, those that no one wants, those that have lost all hope that anyone cares about them. I want them to know how much they are loved, I want them to know that they are not forgotten. Even just ONE, one child, if I can show this to just one child. Most women probably feel this in their heart, a longing to care for others; but how many of us actually go outside our family or close circle of friends to truly care for those that need loved probably more than anyone they "know". God didn't say, you should feel led before you help the widowed and the orphans. He commands us to "do what is right, help those who have been robbed, rescue them from their oppressors, help the orphans and the widows". (Jeremiah 22:3). I want to do this every day of my life.

Scott subscribes to something called Daily Reading from The Ransomed Heart and every once in a while he'll send me one of the daily emails. So this quote is an example of God's perfect timing. Just the night before we had a long discussion about how much my heart hurts for the orphans in Uganda and how I so much want to be there to take care of ALL of them. The next morning he sent me this email. This was the first paragraph: As large as the role our mothers have played, the word “mother” is more powerful when used as a verb than as a noun. All women are not mothers but all women are called to mother. To mother is to nurture, to train, to educate, to rear. As daughters of Eve, all women are uniquely gifted to help others in their lives become more of who they truly are - to encourage, nurture and mother them towards their true selves. In doing this, women partner with Christ in the vital mission of bringing forth life. There has never really been a desire in my heart to have a child biologically, it may happen at some point and for the first time in my life I think I'm ok with that. But please hear me when I say that I'm ok if it doesn't happen either. I believe there are lots of reasons why I'm here and lots of things that God wants me to do while I'm here and I think that one of them is to partner with Him in bringing life. And that doesn't mean that I must physically carry a child in my womb, that's certainly one way and that's totally awesome. I can just the same give an orphan life whether it's through adoption or just straight up LOVE, how amazing is that. God didn't give us specifications on what way to show love, he just said to do it. Through love, no matter who's receiving it, you can provide life. Sometimes it's hard for me to put all of my thoughts into complete sentences so that those reading can understand. What I'm trying to say though is that my heart physically feels torn in little tiny pieces for the orphans in Africa and particularly in Uganda. I know there are orphans all over the world, but God has specifically placed Uganda on my heart, I don't know why but that's just what He does. Thankfully He's placed Russia on someone else's heart and India on someone else's and Thailand on someone else. Thank you God!! But for me it's Uganda and it's sweet orphans, and I don't know what God has in mind for me beyond that but it's so exciting to think about. I'm excited about the hope that I have of being in Africa some day actually meeting the children whose faces I see in my dreams. I pray that God gives us the opportunity to adopt from Uganda. But even more I pray that soon God will use me in Uganda to just BE with the orphans. I know he already has an idea of what that is going to look like and there is a serious joy in thinking and hoping about this day.