Shem. Shem is one of the youngest at Fiwagoh. The first year I met him I was won over. His personality was hilarious. He was bold and brave and silly. He wasn't scared to crawl up in your lap and demand your attention and love. It didn't take much demanding on his part. I fell... head over heels. This child whose mother had given him up in the market place because she could not care for him and all his other brothers and sisters... chose to let go of him. When seen out in town the first few months after giving him up she was asked if she wanted to come visit him and see him... she didn't want to. It broke my heart to hear that... I can't even try to imagine what she must have gone through to want to give him away and never want to cradle him and kiss his squishy cheeks again. All I knew was that he was given an opportunity to be loved so I would do my best to remind and reassure him that he was dearly loved and precious everytime I saw him.
Sammy. Sammy is the most joyful child I have ever met... including in the states. Sammy is full of life and silliness and smiles. Everytime you call his name he will look at you and laugh and smile ear to ear. You would never know that he is fighting HIV. It doesn't change his mood. It doesn't change his view on life. It doesn't cause him to shrink back into the shadows. He walks around with an outlook that convicts and challenges me to my core. He is precious and has changed my heart more than I can ever express.
These are just a few. These don't include every child I have prayed over, cried with, held, and sobbed as I left. The Lord turned my heart to Kenya, Africa years ago and I know now it's because of these children (plus 220 others). These children have shown me a beautiful picture of what trusting in Jesus looks like. They have pointed me to the One who loves the least of these... and has a plan for His children. These babies have reflected how I should look as a believer. They have shown me how to have faith when the world tells me that I am being ridiculous. I have learned to love fully and wholly and in a way that my Savior loves me (without expecting anything in return). It has been humbling and hard and heart wrenching. I don't know what the future holds... I don't know if I will ever get to hold these babies again. I don't know if I will ever get to travel back to the continent that stole my heart.... but I am going to try. And I am thankful... I am thankful for the four opportunities I have been graced with to live life with these beautiful children and for what they have been used, by Jesus, to work into me.