“Therefore, I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” –Romans 15:17-20
I haven’t written on my blog in a really long time. I could say that it is that I have been busy, and it is partly that but to be honest it is also me being lazy haha. Well at the beginning of November I left the place that I called home for over 3 years. City of Angels in Tijuana, Mexico truly will always be in my heart until I go home to be with the Lord. I cannot lie, I miss the kids each day but I know that God has a plan beyond what I can see. The whole year was a roller coaster of emotions, difficulties, crying, laughter, joy, growing, learning, love, and grace. I would have never thought in all of my life that I would have been the administrator of an orphanage and mission in Mexico but God surprises me each step of the way in my walk with Him. I was stretched in every way possible.
My last couple of weeks in Tijuana were probably my most difficult. I moved back to the orphanage for my last six weeks or so to be the caretaker of the toddlers and babies at night. I literally shared my bed with a beautiful 16-month-old named Abram. I was able to wake up every morning to him hugging my head and smiling at me. I fell deeply in love with that child. Then in the day I did all of the administrative work. I loved living back with the kids full time. I was incredibly tired but to be with them constantly was something my heart needed. Now on to hard times… Our teens decided to have an uprising against all of us workers! In that time I didn’t really understand what was all going on but I knew it was deeper than what we were seeing, so I took each child one on one and just talked to them about their lives, their hearts, their feelings, and their troubles. Each one broke down in talking about the pain they really feel for their families and some difficulties they were having with everything.
I got to know the kids even more in those moments, we would pray together for their attitudes and their families. I told each of them how much I loved them and that Christ loves them so much more. So much happened with each day, I would find myself in tears almost everyday just praying for strength and words to help these children. More love! More patience! On my last morning, all of the kids were still in bed. I went bed to bed to hug them all goodbye. I kept myself together until I hugged one of my older girls. Then the tears came rolling in… as I hugged our director goodbye, I was bawling. My mom had come to help me move my things back to Nebraska, she was crying as well along with all the workers. We prayed together and I looked over at 4-year-old Antonio with tears streaming down his face as well. I hugged him one more time and told him that I loved him with all my heart. I got in my car to drive away and all of them waved goodbye.
Driving the 20 some hours back home was long and I would find myself crying at random times but it was a great time with my mom. About 5 hours into the trip my mom got sick with a horrible eye infection and couldn’t drive anymore. The first night I only drove to Flagstaff, Arizona because the weather got bad. The next day we drove all the way home to Nebraska and my moms eyes were horrible, for the next week she was home sick. I felt so bad but it was good to be back with her and see all my family and friends. I tried to see as many people as possible and my church prayed over me as well. I was only in the states for less than 3 weeks and wow did it go fast. The week before I was about to come back to Burkina Faso, West Africa, my friend Edouard from Burkina who was in the car accident last August, died unexpectedly. It was a shock and a blow to my heart that I can’t describe. I found myself crying the whole week as I prepared for my trip. I know my sweet brother is now with Jesus and dancing in Heaven.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…” – Isaiah 60:1- 2a
On December 1st I stepped off the plane back into Burkina. With the hot wind and red dirt hitting my skin, I felt in my heart that I was right where I’m supposed to be. The director of the orphanage and another missionary came to get me at the airport, and then we stayed in the capital for the night. I was so out of it; I only slept maybe 3 hours since I left the morning before from home… then my first night I couldn’t sleep. Finally around 4am I fell asleep for 3 hours and then it was time for us to go. I was so excited to get back to the orphanage about two hours away. When the gates opened to the orphanage my heart jumped in excitement. All of the kids were at church but I went to visit the babies first. They were SO big! I got to see my sponsor baby again, Marie! She is now 2 and half years old… and super sassy! After a little bit, she figured out who I was again.
After a little bit the older children started to come back from church! They all walked in, so incredibly tall and grown up! With big smiles the greeted me and asked how I was. It was a joyous time of catching up! Over the last month, God has really been working. And I feel so blessed to be His daughter and to be able to be here in Burkina. It is difficult to not have Edouard here but I know right now, he is perfect and in the glory!
So much has happened and each day I am in awe of God’s goodness. I love all the new babies and children with all of my heart. There are so many that seem to have captured my heart the moment I met them. One little 4-year-old named Gelilu really has me. He is incredibly loving and so smart! Each day he runs to me for a hug and tells me so many stories. His cute smile and chubby belly captures me more and more. He is one of the children at the orphanage who is HIV+ and it breaks my heart to know that, but I am so thankful to be part of a place that can care for children like him.
I will write again soon with some more stories of food distribution to our sponsored children, worship, adorable little ones, buying bibles, evangelism, and Christmas in Africa! Thank you all so much for your constant prayers, love, and support—I am overwhelmed by how great God really is! He is moving and working constantly… open up your eyes and heart to MORE of our Savior and what HE has in store for your life… He will surprise you and take you places you would have never dreamed! Happy New Year!
“But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, You are my God. My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine upon your servant, save me in your unfailing love.”- Psalm 31:14-16