You know when you love a place a whole lot that you can't even think about the possibility of not being able to come back? That's how I've been feeling about leaving Nairobi. While we were saying our goodbyes to the staff and children at the BCC, I had to tell myself it's more of a "see you later!" than a goodbye! Mostly because I pray that God allows me to return here and also because the idea of not being able to return hurts my heart too much!
The joy. The pure, sweet joy from the Lord that the children and staff has been such an encouragement to me.
Today was my last day with my sweet knitting girls. Yesterday, the girls shared their testimonies with me. Many of them were similar, that they have gone through times in their lives where people put them down, told them they weren't worth it, that they wouldn't succeed. Two of the girls were formerly street girls. Some of the girls struggled with drugs. One of the girls is currently orphaned. Learning these hardships about my knitting girls, my sisters, was hard. I could feel their pain as they were sharing their stories. A verse came to mind when I was listening to their testimonies, "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" Acts 14:22. I don't know how to begin to justify or explain why the girls went through what they did, but provide hope. Our God is faithful. We aren't put through hardships for no reason. Quoting my quiet time reading:
"But although hardship is thus the path of God's children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach 'the kingdom' it will more than make amends for the 'many hardships' through which they passed to enter."
Some of the things my knitting girls have gone through I will never be able to explain. I'm so thankful that God is faithful and that He has already paid the price. These hardships aren't in vain. Being able to look into the eyes of my sweet knitting girls and watching them begin to water as I tell them how LOVED and VALUED and TREASURED and PRECIOUS they are to God, makes these hard moments so worth it. Lots of these girls have been told their whole lives that they don't deserve the things they have received or that they aren't going to make anything of themselves, that they are worthless. Today, I got to tell them how their hardships won't go in vain. Today, I got to tell them how much those hardships are worth it when we will be in heaven one day. Today, I got to tell them how valued they are, how they were bought at a high price through Jesus.
Today was hard. But it was so good. God is so good, all the time.
We made about 450 bracelets to give to each of the children/staff before we left. When I brought the bracelets to my babies class, my eyes were already watering. I hugged each baby extra long and told them they are so loved one more time. I told them "see you later!" because my heart knows this isn't goodbye.
My sweet babies class. How thankful I am for each one of these 28 all over the place babies. How special they are to me. We played a game yesterday after our craft that talked about how Jesus loves the little children. Everytime I asked them "WHO'S LOVED?!!?" They would tap their hearts and yell "ME!". How special they are.
Sweet Monica and Mary, two of the girls who are at the orphanage at the BCC. I wish that I could take these two home with me!
And my precious Edwin. Saying "see you later!" today to Edwin was hard. Partially because he has such a sweet smile and heart that makes you want to stay at the BCC forever, and partially because he has so much joy that I had to run up and down to snap one final picture with him. I'm going to miss this sweet boy.
Today was so draining. I couldn't imagine saying goodbye, so we settled for "see ya later!" for now, and I pray that the Lord allows me to return to this place that I left my heart at! Tomorrow we will be going to an HIV/AIDS baby orphanage and the next day it is SAFARI TIME!