Sometimes, people say, "Yes, I'll go. Yes, I'll serve. Yes, I'll love as if there is no tomorrow.
Yes, I will GO. Yes, Lord, Yes."
One of the great benefits of serving here is that we meet others who have said one simple little word, "Yes"
This week, we said goodbye to two incredible Feeding the Orphans volunteers who have been living in two separate orphanages in Teshie. Seth Goggins and Rebekah Vanderford have relentlessly loved on the children here. Their circumstances have not been easy. The temperature here continues to climb hovering near 100, so sweat matted with dust covers the skin. Bucket baths from carried water are a daily routine. There is no such thing as a hot shower in the homes where these two have served. Meals consisting of rice, rice and more rice keep them fed. Illnesses of the children and exhaustion of their own bodies are battled continually. Children climbing, tugging, and reaching for them fill the day. Drying tears, wiping noses, settling arguments, and treating ringworm are part of the daily routine.
But these two said, "Yes."
We are grateful to you. Our family has been inspired to watch the two of you live out your faith. Rebekah, while serving alone, maintained her joy. She struggled with some health issues, but she persevered. The children grew to love her, and she loved them in return. It was beautiful. One of the most precious memories I have of Rebekah was spending Thanksgiving with her. We both longed to be home with our families. I remember the two of us sharing tears over the fact that when she called her family in the US, they were sitting down to the Thanksgiving meal. Her parents asked Rebekah to pray for them. What an honor to bless this traditional family meal of Thanksgiving from the opposite side of the world.
Please pray for Rebekah. I just learned a little while ago, she was in a car accident after leaving the airport when she arrived home. She is okay overall, but her body has some injuries to heal and bruises to subside. Please pray for her recovery and also her transition home after serving here for three months. Three months of living here will require some serious readjustment returning home. (Basswood family, please love her well. Give her an abundance of hugs for us. Katie, Amanda, Diane, we are counting on you. Seth, you need to take good care of her too. Actually more so, because you served here in country with her. We are counting on you too! Rebekah, our family has been and will continue to pray for you! You've already been lifted up today.)
Although Seth was only here for one month. God used him to make an impact. Seth played "rough and tumble" with the boys in the home where he served. Because the home is nearly all boys, having Seth there was a perfect fit. One of my fondest memories of Seth happened on a day we delivered food in Chorkor. Seth was hunched over the ground dredging a broken shell through the sand drawing a cross. Seth shared the gospel of Christ with all of the children surrounding him. It was beautiful.
Seth said this about it, "It was so cool, because I had nothing to do with it! The kids were just drawing in the sand, and I had decided to join them, but then undoubtedly the Holy Spirit just put the idea in my head to draw a cross (I'm sure the thought to join them in drawing was His idea too). Then they all just fell silent, watched, answered my questions, and listened as I drew! They were entranced with sand and a broken shell!! I couldn't have done anything with those things! But God can use even the the simplest of things to catch everyone's attention, and turn things, like a broken shell and sand, into tools with which children, so in need of love and care, hear about Love Himself! So amazing! Our God is just the coolest! And all the glory is due to Him alone!"
Aren't we privileged to meet some incredible people? We have been so blessed by all of the volunteers we have met. Young people, I can not urge you enough to "give your lives away" while you are young and single. Young people, RISE UP and GO. You will be the one blessed.
So, as we have bid farewell to two precious volunteers, we have also welcomed another one. Stella Stewart has arrived from South Georgia, which is close to where Reid and I met. Her Southern drawl makes us feel close to home. (I'm sure ya'll know what I mean!) Stella has stepped out completely on faith to commit the next month of her life serving orphans in Bolgatanga at the orphanage our family just recently returned from visiting.
Reid drove Stella to the airport early this morning. Lugging suitcases filled with activities, surprises, and treats for the children, she was ready to begin her "great adventure." Stella's heart was raw from saying goodbyes at one orphanage, seeing the dire poverty in Chorkor, and she is beginning to feel some of the depths of pain of the people here. God has been preparing her.
Rebekah, Seth, and Stella spent their last day delivering food in Chorkor with Reid. (I was home with four sick boys.) On this day, they had the privilege of delivering mattresses for Agnes's children/grandchildren. Her husband, Abraham, died on December 26th, and she is still grieving. God is using her monthly delivery from us to bring her HOPE and CONFIDENCE in the God who provides for our needs.
I love this picture below because I think it depicts what the volunteers come here to do...
DELIVER LOVE in the name of Jesus. They come to spread the TRUTH of Christ. Children, widows, orphans, impoverished people are all touched by their willingness to serve. God is using them to impact the world for eternity because they said the little word,
"Learn to do good;
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow."
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"
Then I said,
"Here I am. Send Me."
"Yes, Lord. I will GO."