There are a few moments I dare to hope I never forget.
Sitting in the dirt I try to take a “mental picture” of my sweet times in our mud hut village. I close my eyes tight and for a moment, pray these memories will stay with me til my hair is grey and my wrinkles can be counted like rings at the base of a tree stump. Here are few randoms I collected over the week.
The moment… The moment I drive into the village and my name is called by children throughout the main strip of town as they bounce up and down and clap their hands: “Sandra, Sandra! She’s back! Look at her, she’s back!”
The moments, with our boys, as they share their experiences from war. With courage they defy the normal culture of silence and encourage each other with handshakes and empathize with the massacres and beheadings they’ve all witnessed.
The moments, that our 10 year olds choose to act out (by their own initiative) a raid in which their parents were killed before their eyes. Though I fight back tears, the freedom we see that comes in partaking in their journeys, opens up their hearts to vulnerability and leaves me a puddle as they wink, hug and with great sass kiss my hand goodbye at the end of the day.
The smile, the size of Timbuktu, as the captain of our team receives their new soccer ball to replace his plastic bag ball and whispers “It’s the best quality I’ve ever seen, thank you. Thank you so much.”
The dirt. The dirt that covers my feet like glue from kicking off my flops and proceeding to play with our boys and the new ball on our school’s soccer field. (They’d popped the last one)
The left over food that stuck to my elbow. Odd, but I hope I never forget the mystery paste that clung to my skin while sitting around a table in a mud hut brothel. Four Congolese women, including the head mistress, sat across from us in a dim light while we prayed for them after they expressed their desire to give their lives back to Christ.
And finally on the other side of the mountain sitting in the tall grass, a woman in labor fought with the agony that she was still a 15 minute walk down the mountain, over the bridge and 20 more minutes up another mountain away from the maternity clinic. Our team went over every option, “Where does she deliver?” “Can we carry her?” “Does she want to be carried by the random foreigners?” (She eventually made it to the clinic and delivered a healthy baby girl later that day! Please keep her in prayer as she suffered from malaria among some other health issues.)
I could go on forever. We have such incredible stories from this last bush trip. Our times with the Leadership League continue to wreck me for life and motivate me to get our school ready for them by September.
We’re redoing the walls, building desks and all the Justice Rising teachers, staff and main leaders will be coming into Goma town for a mass conference to prep for the upcoming school year.
Raising up healed and whole world changers to replicate and produce more world changers. I’m undone.
Some stories feel too precious and too tender for a blog. I feel like I can’t do them justice. Some feel like I would just be rambling and oozing out more babies and brothels, soccer stories and massacres.
Thank you for your support. I guess that’s what it comes down too. Thank you for standing with us and though you may not be eating beans and rice from the joint plate and same spoon, you are investing in these young men. You’re standing with their rehabilitation process. With their education. With their future families that they will father and wives they will love with a love that lays down one’s life. So thank from the bottom of our hearts! Your prayers and contributions mean the world to us!