There’s nothing that terrifies me more right now than to try and put forth a single word to explain the things that God has allowed me to experience this past month. I am just begging Him to help me… help ME to understand it myself, so that I can even attempt to write about it.
May God be glorified. It is for Him that I write, anyway.
I don’t know why God has blessed me so tremendously, but I have been given the privilege to love and serve 50 beautiful women at the Tabitha Center, as well as a billion children. Ok, maybe not a billion… more like a billion and a half. I pray every single day that God would teach me how to love each one of them. I am learning their culture. I am learning what makes them happy and what makes them sad. I am learning that God’s love surpasses any language barrier. The moment I stepped foot into their world, they accepted me. They loved me. They are so full of love and so eager to smile and laugh. They are some of the poorest women in the world. They have no electricity, and no running water. Most of them live on as little as 50 cents a day. Their babies are sick. They have no food. Life is hard.
But they have joy- they have the God of the Universe. He makes all things new.
Driving to the Tabitha Center is not an easy task. The paved road ends as we enter Sector 30, and there is a long, dirt road full of deep ruts due to the rain. After turning right at the puddle, going straight past the pile of rocks, turning left by the poles, we barely squeeze through the mud huts in our giant Land Cruiser before finally reaching our destination. Kids begin to emerge from every direction out of the brown, dusty landscape, running full speed at the car chanting “NA SARA”, which means “white woman” in Moore. The sea of little brown smiling faces fills me with the most incredible joy. I step out of the car and they all attack me, pulling on my arms and wanting to shake my hand all at the same time. I think that they believe if they pull on my hands hard enough, I’ll grow some extra ones and they’ll all finally be able to give me a hand shake without needing to wait their turn. Dream big. One little boy pushes his way through the crowd and allows me the honor of running straight into his arms. He shoos away the other kids somehow, and holds my hand the whole way to the building. He lets me hold him close and play blocks with him. His name is Arnaud. He has totally captured all of my love. In my heart, he is my son. My brain doesn’t know yet that he already has a family. It’s going to be the worst day in the world when my brain finds that out. When I leave for the day, I miss him. I dream about his smile.
There is a little girl named Safie. She was rejected as a baby. Her father tried to beat her to death. The Pastor’s family saved her life and took her in- and now she is a healthy little girl. Not only is she healthy, but she is full of sass. She is small and younger than most of the kids, but she sure enough bosses them all around with her puckered lips and scolding eyes. Sometimes, she even yells at me! I look at her with a big smile and say “you are soooo bad!!!!” She smiles knowingly, and sticks out her tongue. She loves being held, and burying her head playfully into my tummy. Her smile is contagious, and her laugh makes me happy instantly.
I am learning to love each one.
I read them books in English. I point at pictures and say English words and they repeat me. Sometimes they say the Moore word when I point to the picture. I try to repeat them and we all have a good laugh about that. They usually laugh a little harder at me than I am laughing at myself…rude!;) They love to do whatever I do, and repeat every word I say. When I walk here, they follow me. When I walk there, they follow me. They are starving for love and attention. They are the most crazy, disorganized, wild, and dirtiest part of my day. They exhaust me, but I am in love with them. And I want to teach them about Jesus.
God passionately loves every single woman and child there. He knows them deeply and intimately. I don’t even know most of their names, but when I look into their eyes, there is love between us that doesn’t need words. Their lives are so different than mine. They know pain and struggle too well, but they never complain. Every time that I walk inside, every face is beaming, eager to learn about Jesus, eager to work hard, eager to serve one another.
I have barely scratched the surface of explaining my life in Burkina and all that God is doing here. The good news is that I have a year to keep trying.
Lord, show me how to love each heart, just like You love them. This is my family; please take care of us. By Your grace and sovereign power, please open the hearts that don’t know you yet, and draw them near to you. May they see Your love and Your light in me. May You make a great Name for yourself in Sector 30. You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.
Wennaam ya soma. Amina.