let the children come
Children are incredibly beautiful to Jesus because of their ability to love and trust with an open, recklessly abandoned heart. Today, we began our day reading in Mark about Jesus asking the children to come to him. Our prayer during our morning devotional was to allow God to show us His amazing love for us through the children. He answered our prayers in miraculous ways.
When we arrived to Rock of Divine Orphanage for our second day, we found the children on the porch eagerly waiting in the rain for our arrival. What a blessing it’s been to have bright and smiling faces exploding with love for us. It’s been a truly heartwarming experience.
Despite the rain, we dove right into our activities. Our goal for the day was to finish painting both the boys and girls dormitories. The boys room was almost complete, excluded a few touchups. We were just starting to paint the girl’s room yellow, hoping to add some brightness a windowless, dark room. After pouring the paint, girls were recruited to help with the project.
Kristin, Taylor and a few of the younger girls spent the next few hours working in the room. Singing, laughing and words of encouragement filled the air as the girls hilariously completed their task. They dipped their large brushes into paint and stroked the wall, splattering paint onto them in the process. I don’t think a single girl escaped that room without yellow paint covering their entire body. By the end of the day, the girls were exhausted from the hard work.
Meanwhile, the boys were playing hard out on the soccer field. Dimitri learned quickly that playing futbol in Liberia is no laughing matter. After only minutes of playing he was drenching. Brad and Chris were inside playing games with the children and loving on them. It’s remarkable how children’s games, such as Duck Duck Goose and Simon Says, translate the same around the world. Children are children no matter where you go.
The VBS lesson of the day was similar to yesterday, including animated songs, a story and a craft. Dimitri led our VBS time with the children. He has a beautiful way of engaging the children and capturing their attention. This time he was moving on from Moses and turning the focus to the most important person in the Bible: Jesus. He shared the gospel through going through the “Christian bracelet” or black, red, white, green and yellow beads. The children eagerly raised their hands when Dimitri asked them if they wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior. They ran to all of us, and repeated a simple prayer after Dimitri while holding our hands. Moments like those are precious. Then, we distributed bracelets for the children to make. The children LOVED making the bracelets, and we loved helping them along the way. They now have a physical reminder of the cross and of Jesus’ love.
At first, Dimitri was concerned that the children just wanted to conform to their peers and accept Jesus. But Dave reminded us that it’s not our job to worry about the motive behind someone’s heart. Our job is simply to share the Good News and let God move in their hearts.
During our time with the children, God blessed us with incredible moments. One of the children who favored Taylor hurt his toe badly. Dimitri brought him upstairs to rest his foot. With tears streaming down his face, his brothers quickly surrounded him and began praying for him. My heart is full thinking about the love, community and power of the Holy Spirit that filled the room in that moment. There is nothing more beautiful than watching children embrace the power of prayer with their loved ones. After the prayer, Taylor heard he was hurt and came upstairs to comfort him. Taylor sat on the bed for the next hour, holding his hand and encouraging him. This was the most connected she has ever felt to a child in her entire life. What powerful love.
Saying goodbye today was nearly impossible. We gathered all the children together and asked them to pray for us. Without hesitation, the children in unison began loudly praying for us. I was brought to tears at unreal the moment was. Here we were, in a dilapidated orphanage, surrounded by children praying in concert over us. I hope heaven is like an extension of that moment because it was beautiful. We witnessed for a few minutes how deep the faith of a child runs. We then proceeded to pray for them before getting in our cars and driving away with a new love for the children of Liberia.
After the wonderful experience at the orphanage, we drove to the Greater Love Ministries to tour the radio station with Pastor Wesley. We had the amazing opportunity to hear his testimony. He knows what it means to trust God for daily provisions and living out the scripture. Through the war and other experiences he’s been through, God has given him the strength to continue and has always provided for his ministries.
Although we were unaware, when we went upstairs to the radio station, we were told that we were going to do a brief on-air interview. The radio host asked us where we were from, what we were studying and what our purpose in Liberia was. It’s not every day you’re on the Liberian radio!
We ended the day on the beach, relaxing and unwinding as a group. We enjoyed swimming in the ocean and jumping on the rocks together.
Ultimately, today we learned that no matter who you are, what you look like and what you have to offer, the children we were with today just want to be near you. You don’t have to even say anything. This is what our love for the Father should be like daily.