(We are sorry that we can't share with you, the beautiful faces of the precious children that we worked with today, but we were asked not to publish their photos.)
These children look as healthy as any child anywhere. They are clean well cared for. Most of them are 5-10 years old, and they are HIV positive. Most of them have been in the center that they are in, since they were infants. They rarely get a glimpse of the world outside thier center.
Today was a day different from all the rest. We got to take a group of children to the beach, children that are full of boundless energy and fun. The ocean was beautiful. There were huge, massive, rolling waves. The ocean is something that many of the children we took with us had never seen. It is obvious that there is a reason all of us are here. Leaving here we each will have a different story to tell but throughout the stories told one thing will stand out, God is amazing and He works in wonderful ways. Each day God has worked with all of us. God has used each of us in a unique and powerful way; this is Matt’s story for how our day at the beach went.
When you think of the word beach what comes to mind? How many of you think about black sand, rolling waves and group of HIV positive kids and teen aged moms? Well today for this group it was no less than reality. The day started off with prayer and devotional time and then we packed up the bus and headed out. During our one hour trip to the beach house we stopped at a convenient store for ice. While we were there two police officers on motorcycles rode up. I went and asked if I could have a photo of them. They were thrilled to pose for a picture and when done asked what we were doing here. One of our blessed translators explained and you could see the joy in the officers face. He told me if you need anything just call because they were here for us. Once we arrived at the beach house we unloaded and headed for the waves. Now imagine a bunch of kids, surf, sun and sand. Yes, these kids were no different. However today was one of a kind for not only the kids and mom but for this ministry also. Today was the first time any of them had been to the beach or allowed to do anything of out of their center with this ministry. God opened a huge door today for all of us giving everyone involved an experience that will last in their hearts forever. We played all kinds of games with them like building sand castles, digging holes, collecting shells and of course swimming. After awhile of the rolling waves everyone headed back to the beach house to swim and play in the pool were the crashing waves and undertows of the mighty ocean weren’t an issue. They loved the pool and played for hours giving our group of ladies a workout they won’t soon forget. These kids may have an extremely difficult disease but you would never know by looking at them or watching them play. Before we knew it was lunch time and as we prepared the food for lunch the disappointing news was delivered. The kids would be leaving at 2:00 to return back to their center. This news hard because the second half of the day is when you really connect with the people here because you spend the first half making those bonds and gaining the trust of all around. God had a plan for use though we just couldn’t see it the time and these kids have a very important medicine schedule they must keep. So as we sat eating we figured out the game plane for our last hour with these special kids. We played soccer, sat and talked, played Frisbee and just shared Gods love. In this last hour is when a truly scary event occurred for me and this group. I was over by the pool area and there were two little girls at the edge of the pool on the deep end splashing water at one of teen girls in the pool. What happened next I will never forget. One of the little girls fell head first into the pool and I was the only who saw it. I reacted in a split second realizing she was in panic and coming back up. I ran and jumped in grabbed the little girl and held her tight to me. She was coughing and gagging I yelled for help but no one heard me. I was able to set the girl on the edge of the pool and before I could get out she ran to her Tia (care giver). I ran and grabbed a translator than headed to check on the girl. She was ok, just shook up and I explained to everyone what happened so no one would panic or get in trouble. There’s no doubt in my mind that God placed me there in that moment and it all was part of a bigger plan he has in motion. I have been told that God could not have picked a better man to be on this team of all women. Though I’m not sure of this I have seen many reasons God lead me here and put this team together the way he did and I can speak for everyone here that God has pierced our hearts, opened our minds and changed not only our lives but the way will view things forever in the future and this is only day 5. Power and glory to God as none of this could be possible without him. I want end this blog by telling you all what occurred last night. I had sat up for hours writing this and had what I knew was truly great blog written but just as I finished I turn to another team member to ask her what she needed and the computer just went black without warning. For the first time since being here I thought things in my head I knew were wrong and was just so full of anger. I laid in bed and began to pray about what had happened. This morning as I sit writing this God gave me the answer to it all. Satan attacked me but God held me up and helped me see the answer. See I can write all the fancy words I want and explain what happens here but God is the Power and until you have come here, experienced this for yourselves…. then the words you read are nothing more than just words on electronic paper.
|Our team with our WONDERFUL translators!|