I told you this “heaven thing” was going to be a freestyle writing project. True to my word, it’s been a week and a half since my last post.
Back in May I had the opportunity to attend Summit9 in Nashville. My friend Melissa describes it as the Superbowl for those of us who are crazy about orphan care. That’s a pretty accurate description. I guess you could also say it’s the orphan advocate’s equivalent of Comic Con. The experience of being in a gathering with thousands of people who are so like-minded is A-MA-ZING!
While breathing in all of that amazingness, I heard the sound of bongo drums coming from somewhere in the exhibition hall. They were enchanting and I found myself following the sound in search of the source. The source was a video playing of a group called His Little Feet. It’s a ministry that gathers children from around the world to travel the US for a year in a choir and spread orphan awareness. I spoke with the founders of the ministry and the couple who were traveling with the children and walked away with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart.
Fast forward to Monday December 2nd. After several months of asking God to use me in tangible ways outside of my family, I had a day filled to the brim with purpose. I started the day coordinating and setting up for a women’s ministry Christmas event being held that night by my friend Cindy Dennis. My hubby and I spent the afternoon finding a way for the Psalm 91 Bandana Project people to ship more than a thousand boxes to soldiers in Afghanistan for free.
And then, I got a phone call from His Little Feet. It went something like this…
“Hi, Kaci. This is Jeff from His Little Feet. I’m not sure if you remember me, but we met at Summit last May. We’re not looking for a place to perform in your area right now, but we are passing through your area this week and I was wondering if your church might be interested in providing us with host homes for a night.
I told him that I remembered him, asked a few questions about the details, and told him that I would make some calls and get back to him. It was Monday afternoon and they needed four host homes for Thursday. I wasn’t sure I could make it happen on such short notice, but I was certainly willing to try.
This is my chance to give a shout-out to my friends. I have THE BEST friends!! I count my blessings daily that I get to do life with the kind of people I can text on a Tuesday morning, ask if they would be willing to provide a room and dinner for three strangers on the following Thursday, and have them quickly respond with a “Yes.” without any details about who it is they’re going to welcome into their home. Good. People. I wouldn’t trade my people for a shiny new car. That’s saying something. I have three cars in my driveway. None of them are shiny. They are all in need of repairs. And the newest was built in 2004.
Three of my amazing friends showed up at my house on Thursday afternoon just as a bus filled with orphans from India and their chaperones pulled up in my driveway. Our home was gifted with the presence of two boys from India (David and Kima) and their chaperone (Uncle Josh) for the night.
Shortly after they arrived, my oldest son had to leave for work. He works at SweetFrog, the coolest frozen yogurt place in town. Apparently there’s no froyo in India. The boys filled their bellies with sweets and came home to help us decorate our Christmas tree.
As I tucked my own former-orphan in bed that night, I choked back tears. She had had a particularly rough day at school. Her every action and reaction that day evidence of the emotional and mental scars she carries as a result of spending the first five years of her life as an orphan. The scabs on my own hands and arms, my fat bottom lip, and the ever-present self-inflicted bite-marks on my daughter’s biceps; all evidence that the scars she carries within are still far from being healed. As she said, “Goodnight, Mama.” in her two-packs-of cigarettes-a-day raspy voice, I thought of her as a baby crying out for hours with no one to answer her cries; her vocal chords straining and changing her voice with each unanswered cry.
And then I thought of the precious boys sleeping on the other side of the house. And the children traveling with them. And all the children sitting in the orphanage in India that didn’t make it into the choir. All the children still sitting in the orphanage in Serbia where Sofija began her life. So. Much. Heartache.
John 14:18 “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.”
That night I cried. Today, I smile. In ten days we will celebrate the birth of Jesus. Because he was born, he was able to die. Three days later, he arose from the dead. And because of these facts, I will spend eternity in heaven. In heaven, there will be no orphans. I’m excited for heaven.