As friends know and readers have probably guessed from recent posts, I traveled to Kenya last month. From start to finish, it was a journey of overflowing joy.
When I left Kenya in 2012, I felt I heard clearly from the Lord,”Stay.” Stay in the US, don’t travel to Kenya. So I felt I needed a pretty clear reversal of that word. My husband and I talked about me traveling to Kenya earlier this year and wondered if the time could be right. Then we immersed ourselves in parenting issues and forgot to return to the subject. But, my dear friend and Pamba Toto business partner, Debbie Lee, said out-of-the-blue in May, “You should come to Kenya. It’s time.” When my husband eagerly (and heroically) concurred, I didn’t ask twice.
Stepping off that airplane, feeling the air, and smelling Kenya felt like coming home.
I’ll be sharing photos, thoughts, and experiences from the trip as time goes by. I’ve already written about a magical day Debbie and I spent at Kitengela glass factory.
Today, please allow me to share one of the most profound moments of my visit.
The binding thread of all my visits to Kenya is a heart broken for orphans. Since I first set foot in Kenya to adopt our son from a Mother Teresa orphanage, my soul irrevocably bleeds and my bones are on fire for the orphans of the world. For five years after bringing our son home, the flames burned hot. Then, in 2006, God opened the way for our family to help open Sanctuary of Hope through Hope’s Promise, which today provides a family for 24 orphans.
I first met Esther in Mathare Valley, the second largest slum in Kenya. She was viewed by her community as cursed because she was born with obvious disabilities. At age five, she remained unable to speak or walk. I shared details of her story in my blog post Every Child A Precious Gift.
Today, at age eleven, Esther is cherished by the Sanctuary of Hope family. She walks, she talks, and attends a special education school.
I experienced flashbacks while I stayed at Sanctuary of Hope last month.
In 2010, my then ten-year-old son Jedd and I helped Mama Karau take Esther to a doctor’s office for her initial medical evaluation for potential admission to Sanctuary of Hope. She sat on Jedd’s lap, still as a stone, not making a sound, not twitching a muscle. The only movement were huge silent tears, coursing from the corner of her eyes.
Fast forward six years. The Sanctuary of Hope family gathers every night for devotions – time to sing, talk about the Bible, and pray. Joining them one night last month, I couldn’t take my eyes off Esther, flitting happily around from one family member to another, grinning ear to ear, and making each person laugh.
It’s just too much for words. My heart swells with overflowing gratitude to a God who never stopped adoring Esther! And for ordinary people like you and me in Kenya and the US who went to extraordinary lengths to express God’s love and to give her the family she deserves.
Just in case you are interested, you can learn about co-sponsoring a child like Esther for only $40/month by clicking here: Hope’s Promise Thrive 305 Child Sponsorship drive.