The Promise of The Tree

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This week finds me preparing for Christmas, which is just around the corner.  I put my little Christmas tree on my front porch, with lights and ornaments, and the children just stand there and gaze at it.  They stood there for over an hour at least and just before bedtime, some of the little girls came back to look once again.  That’s the part of Christmas that I love and miss, where a tree brought so much promise for those who gazed upon it.  As I have grown older I look upon another tree, the cross of Christ, which holds so much promise in itself.  It is my prayer that those whom we come into contact with this holiday season who don’t know about the promises, well, that we would tell them by the example of our living and giving.

I have had a few people tell me that their children want to give a portion of their present money away to someone who needs it.  These parents have taught their children the heart of Jesus for sure.  If it weren’t for those who have given my children clothes, they would be in rags on the day of Christmas.  If it weren’t for all who have given and still continue to give, These children would be suffering terribly.  The most important thing I can do this Christmas is to give thanks for all who have been faithful to God’s word by giving to the poor all over the world.  Thank you!

So, I cleared my living room to make 111 piles of clothes for 111 children, looking at my list and checking it twice.  This was no small feat and I had some help from Betty and Beida, our finance manager and our eldest girl who is going to Mozambique in June.  Then we stuffed small gift bags with small toys and jewelry and flashlights and such.  Wouldn’t you just love to pack over 100 present piles and put them under your tree – hehe?

Our four oldest boys have also come home from Uganda for their holiday.  The boys here are beside themselves with happiness as one of the older boys, Safari, does all kinds of projects with them.  This week they have built a really big goat shelter.  Our goat population is growing so fast.

This week I had a nice meeting with my staff and talked about a better way to manage things here on the compound.  I really explained the end result and how it would benefit all of us.  Usually when one tries to make a change, many will kick against the goads or refuse.  I was so surprised when all week I have seen them making the changes!  There are rarely crying children anymore and our mamas are making their houses more like a home, serving their children in love.  Even the children have commented on the change positively.

I also had a long talk with the children and told them where we stand financially and what we need to do.  We have agreed that every Friday would be our day to fast and pray for two hours.  I told them that I am only one and I only know so many people so I can’t do everything, like, running after them reminding them to do their chores that they know to do, like being disrespectful to their elders, being good in school, like praying for the finances to come in, etc…  If we pray then God will move hearts to accomplish things that He has in mind to accomplish in us, for us and through us.  Amen.

This week we had 35 girls from our sister base in Juba, Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC), staying here with us for four days and nights.  They and our children had such a great time.  The staff organized activities for them to do together and they played volleyball every afternoon.  The CCC girls loved it so much that many of them seriously asked if they could come to live here.  The director for CCC just called me and told me that Yei Iris is a special place, there is something special here, because people are literally transformed, even in just a few days.  I believe that too.  Holy Spirit dwells here with these small ones and they know His love and comfort.  All of our children and the CCC girls have parents that are addicts or that passed on.  They have had difficult lives.  They come here and feel a peace and love that transcends all and that is the special thing.

Case in point, many of our girls are from Juba where drink and adultery run rampant.  Along with this is severe poverty.  These girls and some boys come from that.  They cry that they want to go to Juba, they want to see their relative or mama….  I usually don’t send them because of the bad influence there.  Cathy, the director of CCC, and myself decided to work together on this.  We sent one girl to Juba last week and boy were her eyes opened.  Cathy took her to find her mom in the severest of slums, where this little girl grew up.  This girl, eleven years old, just stood there and cried and told Cathy to take her out of there.  They couldn’t find her mom but she came to the compound later.  This little girl really laid into her mom and told her that she had to quit drinking or she would not see them again.  She said that her life in Yei is good and that is where she wants to stay.  The mom asked for the little sister who is with the little girl and she said no way, you cannot have her.

This mom listened because she knew her daughter was correct.  I love the forthrightness that this culture displays when it is in their face.  They tell it like it is and hold nothing back.  I am so glad for these two sisters and for them to come and tell the others that they don’t want to go to Juba, really.

So that is my crazy week.  I have all three of my school kids home this week from Uganda and all are going back except for one.  I do not have the school fees for him to continue at the university.  It breaks my heart because he shows so much promise and has always been such a fine young man.  I told him we must pray, pray, pray and see what God will do if it is His will for him.  I bless all who read these words and testimonies with the love of God and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit.  May you find rest even in the busiest of times.