Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Echoes From Yesterday

Do you have words or actions that echo in your mind years and years later? I do.
I think we forget how harmful our words are, especially the things we say to children. I frequently have battles in my mind with words that echo from the past, words that tell me I'm stupid, words that tell me I'm worthless, that I'm not good enough, words that remind me of all my failures.
I frequently wonder what I would have been or how my personality would have been if growing up in different circumstances. Would I have been an artist or a doctor? A pilot? If I hadn't been told what I couldn't do, would I have done it? If I had been encouraged academically would I have gone to a different university. Probably so.
But, I wouldn't be where I am or doing what I'm doing, something I'm so grateful for. I wouldn't be surrounded by the amazing people that touch my life every day. I wouldn't be watching so many children finding their way in this crazy world.
These battles come from time to time. Sometimes I give into them and find myself getting down, feeling bad. But, more and more I'm learning to wash my mind with the Word of God, reminding myself of who I am in Him, how He sees me.
I pray that as I work with the children that I work with that my words will encourage and build up, never discourage or tear down. I pray that they look back and even with all the obstacles they face in life will hear my voice (as well as God's) cheering them on, letting them know they can do and be whatever they want to be.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yet Another One

This is Okello. After he saw my excitement on some of the other students' school reports, he made sure to point out his position to me. He was number 8 in a class of 40 students (same class as Douglas).
I'm really proud of Okello. I met him and his two older brothers a year ago when I moved into my former apartment. There was a house being built just behind it and that's where these guys were sleeping. They weren't true street kids but in a way they were. Their dad has 8 wives and something like 30 children. He sends none of the kids to school. The boys basically do what they can for survival. So, they were sleeping in an unfinished house and would move around the village during the days looking for food or scrap metal to sell for food. The three of them returned to school at the beginning of this year. They've been working hard, especially Okello!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another One

So, I was looking through the reports from the kids in primary school and realized that I had another student that performed exceptionally well. Douglas was first in his class of 40 students! I'm excited for this little guy. He's around 8 years old and lost his mom about a year ago. He was living in a two room house with his dad, six siblings, and several orphaned cousins. He had never attended school before so began this school year without even knowing how to write his name.
I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oprah and Pauline

You guys may remember reading the letters from Oprah and Pauline a few months ago requesting sponsorship. God provided and both girls were able to be sponsored. Both are attending a Christian boarding school. They have loved it!
Oprah (top photo) is in Secondary 1 and Pauline is in Secondary 2. Both have blown me away with their performance and behavior, proving over and over how badly they wanted to be in school.
Both girls are highly motivated, have clearly set goals for themselves, and teachers have only good words to say about them. I've been told that both discipline themselves to wake up early in the morning to study and make sure they spend an amble amount of time revising their work in the evenings. It has paid off for them.
Second term reports have just come out. Oprah was number 9 in a class of 170+ and Pauline was number 10 out of a class of 170+.
I am really proud of both girls and so appreciative to their sponsors for giving them a chance.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Praise Report

I'm sure you guys get tired of hearing Jackie stories all the time....... but her story is so incredible. Out of death's grip to the child she is now. Every time I look at her I see a miracle. All in only one year. We had her appointment at the hospital on Monday to get her meds refilled and her blood results back from the previous appointment.
One year ago from Monday, Jackie's CD4 was 2 (yes, ONLY 2). A year ago from Monday, Jackie was diagnosed with cancer. Fast forward a year later (although at times it didn't seem to be going by so fast), Jackie is cancer free, has a CD4 count of 1005, and an undetectable viral load!!!!!!!
Only God can do that.
Many people here that have watched her story unfold tell me that I saved Jackie's life. But, God saved Jackie's life. He has a plan for her. And I tell people over and over again that Jackie being in my life has blessed me more than I think it has blessed her. My life is forever changed. I've learned so much from her. My mission changed after her coming into my life. I never had dreamed of being so involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Now one third of my kids are infected. Over half have a parent that has died or is infected. Jackie has opened the door for so many others into Vision of Destiny.
In her four short years on this earth, she has made more of an impact than the majority of us will in a lifetime. I thank God every day for giving her to me and trusting me to care for her life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

They Really Do Get It

Every day at school and every Sunday at church, the kids get to hear about Jesus. I've never really been sure how much they really understand. I still don't think they get it to the level that adults get it (or at least some adults) but they do get it. In their own simplified way, they do understand truth.
Jackie comes home after school and "teaches" me her Bible lesson for the day. Yesterday, she went even further and was talking to the house helper we have at home. A little side note: I finally had to break down and get someone to help me at home. It was proving to be way too much to fight sickness, take care of 3 children, run a school, and actually keep my house clean. So, I hired someone to be helping me at home with cleaning up, doing some of the cooking, and helping me from time to time with the kids. And, it's been a God send.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. The house helper is Muslim. She prays regularly so I'm not sure that Jackie really sees any difference in the two religions. I was sitting in the office on the computer. Jackie and Yosam were outside playing when I heard Jackie begin to tell our helper all kinds of things.
"Do you know Satan is weak?"
"Do you know God is strong?"
"Do you know Jesus walked on water?"
"Do you know that when we pray God hears us?"
"Do you know that when we have a problem or are sick, we can tell God and He can help us?"
I was so filled with joy hearing all these things. In her own kiddish way, Jackie is getting it! She loves God with all her heart.