Not only were they launching their very own Good News Family Club (similar to a VBS) for the kids in their neighborhood, it was also the day to celebrate the kids who have July birthdays.
The latter was an even bigger deal because it was the first time the three birthday boys had ever had a birthday celebration.
The boys took turns getting to share their testimonies in front of all of their neighborhood friends during the Good News Family Club. The youngest, who was turning 9, went first. His story about living on the streets after his parents died sounded much like the 12 and 15 year old’s stories.
The oldest was the last one to share. He began crying as he told his audience about how his “daddy,” the Director of the orphanage, came and found him on the streets, and took him into the orphanage home. In shame, he hid his face from the many who were telling him not to cry. The leaders did their best to make a smooth transition, and the boys went to sit down.
That’s when the 12 year old lost it. He walked to the back of the room in tears. Going against the flow of those telling him to stop crying, I sat on the ground with my arm around him, and let him cry.
These kids have lived on the streets of the 4th poorest country in the world, and their culture is telling them to be ashamed of their tears. Many people here, in fact, have ignored their tears in hopes that their pain will somehow disappear.
As a result, it feels like there are a bunch of robots walking around Sierra Leone telling everyone how “fine” they are. Even as I sat and listened to several of the kids tell me their heart-wrenching stories, they would look at me with a straight face after I asked them how it made them feel, and simply say, “fine.”
I want them to know that there’s so much more than fine.
As I prayed and prophesied over them individually, something in them shifted from being fine to being something of worth. God sees them. He knows their names and their destinies. He celebrates them with more than just balloons and cake.
A few months ago, I remember being completely undone during worship, weeping over all of the world’s orphans who have no idea how good their Father is. While singing about the Lord’s faithfulness in never once leaving us on our own, I cried out for them to experience the faithfulness of their Father.
These children, little by little, are tasting and seeing that the Lord truly is good. They are pushing past fine and into the realms of God’s faithfulness.
“I AM … filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” – Exodus 34:6
|The orphanage's cook, caregiver, and two of its teens prepared the popcorn over the coal pot.|
|This is what happened after I said, "Who's excited about the Good News Family Club??"|