Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Familiar Faces

I am sure some of you are curious as to what has become of ‘the boy named Christian’ that I met on our last trip in March. Well, I can tell you that an equally impressive outcome as the one I posted yesterday is on its way for him….I just can’t dish the details yet!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh…..it’s killing me, but hang in there, I’ll be able to share with you soon.

For now, I can tell you that Christian was practically part of our team on our recent trip! Doug and Cory got to Asikuma one day earlier than the rest of our team to start on the construction. Doug called me the day the rest of us got into the Accra airport to say that Christian and his buddies had been out at the construction site helping with the demolition! He said Christian remembered all of our names from our last trip and was asking all about us. :) By the time the rest of our group rolled into Asikuma we had a large gathering of village children waiting for us, and of course Christian’s smiling face was front and center ready to give me a big hug!!!On this trip Christian got to know our team very well, and all of our team got used to him ‘hanging around’.

Dee shows Christian some pictures of her sons, and also some pictures of snow!

As we unloaded and sorted all of our donations Christian spotted some paper and a pencil and asked if he could draw. Who could forget this smile?!?!

There he goes............................................................

Everywhere we went, Christian tagged along with us and was always a great help. He insisted on carrying our bags and helping with all our structured activities. He was eager to give some of the gals on our team a ‘tour’ of his house, and Dee told me she was humbled at how proud he was to show them around his little shack. Interestingly, Esi had arranged for some eye doctors to come to town to do the free eye screenings for the village of Asikuma. We had planned on taking Christian there, but the doctors beat us to it and pulled him aside one night after dinner. They were interested to know what happened to his eye. They said that it would be best if he could have surgery soon to get a prosthetic in place, otherwise the muscles around it would atrophy and the bones would start caving in. I know that God often chooses to heal through the hands of doctors, and perhaps this was the sort of healing I had felt was coming for Christian. :) For now, Christian has moved into foster care with Nana and Esi! They have graciously opened up their home to him and have gotten him enrolled in a great school in their town. God has literally picked Christian out of the hundreds of kids in Asikuma, and set his feet upon a rock. God is SO good!

On our last trip in March I had also met a young girl named Ophilia. By day 2 on this trip I ran into her as we were heading down the road to bible study! When we first spotted each other walking along the road it was like one of those airport scenes where two people start running towards each other and then embrace in a hug. :) I love how the kids here look forward to seeing us, and us them. I remember their smiles and our conversations for days and days after we return home. Jake and I were talking about how I am usually the one who identifies the vulnerable children, and he the leaders. But this is not the case for Ophilia. Ophilia is well-known in Asikuma for her school smarts. As we walked on the road many times villagers would see Ophilia walking along with white people and curiously holler out “Ophilia are you headed to study abroad?” It became almost prophetic as I heard person after person ask her. Ophilia’s potential really came to the surface on this trip. In watching her interactions with the other village children it is clear that they respect her leadership….when she speaks, others listen. She carries herself confidently, yet humbly which is a hard combination to find here. Jake and I both started to feel that she would be a GREAT first female host student for Kingdom Cares International to bring over on a student visa. I think we’ll have to wait a few more years until she is older, but she is on our radar.

Ophilia is pictured here in the yellow on the far right. I am holding her little brother Joshua who she cares for each day so that her mom can work.

She would often ask to read my Bible as we walked along the road to our different activities. :)

One of our bible study crafts............................................

Over our time in Asikuma Ophilia started finding delight in helping me hand out pillow case dresses! She loved seeing all the different patterns and sizes and digging through to find the perfect dress to outfit a girl in need. One afternoon when she was taking Jake and I to her school we came across a little boy with no pants (a common find here). I had a perfect pair of shorts in my bag for him and Ophilia was so excited to be able to GIVE to him!

And of course an Asikuma update on familiar faces would not be complete without mentioning our main man Albert. Meeting Albert was Jake's trip highlight from our last trip in March. Here is Albert pictured with his mom.

Oh Albert. Love him! Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and he will tell you the President of the United States. :) That in itself pretty much sums up his driven personality. He is a leader and proactive in this community at the age of 11! He has a great family, with a father and mother who are intricately involved in his life. He is smart, well-spoken, helpful, resourceful, and yet compassionate. If you ever get to meet him, he will quickly find a way into your heart!

These are the relationships we’ve made here that will always bring us back. I watched these kids standing there on our last morning in Asikuma as our bus loaded up and left the hotel to head to the airport. I will never forget watching Albert try so hard to fight back the tears, and then just let them loose as we drove away. We are now oceans away, but these kids remain in my heart.

It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle ~Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution~

(Ophilia and I standing in front of her house)


Lori said...

I love this post. So true about the relationships. Precious!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and priceless. Oh that we may all be JESUS each and every day wherever we go. Love reading your stories. Inspires me to serve in everyway God opens a door.
Thank you!