Friday, December 21, 2007

Because He Lives

Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

If you ever want to feel God’s presence, be around when 93 orphaned children sing this song. I guarantee you it will help put life in perspective.

Today was Guardian’s Day at ELI’s children home. It’s a day in which people who took care of the children after their parents died can come and visit them. Mostly its grandparents, aunts and uncles and neighbors who, while unable to provide long-term care, are still important people in the children’s lives. The kids put on a special performance that included dancing, singing, speeches (of course), prayer, memory verse and poetry recitation, and a dramatic reenactment of the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Sidebar – the part about the father killing the fatten calf takes on new meaning in a culture where wealth is measured by the number of cows you own.) The day started at 10 and it went continuously until 3 – and this was a short celebration by Kenyan standards.

In so many ways, the day was extremely special. To see children with joy on their faces is always a pleasure. To watch them as they visited with those who they hadn’t seen in over 6 months warmed the heart. But in other ways, it was a heart-breaking day because there were some children who had no visitors. For them, they relived their abandonment all over again as they watched their adopted brothers and sisters open presents, receive hugs and kisses and be told that they mattered. Although the Director of the children’s home try to make sure that members of the community would be providing gifts for those kids who he didn’t expect to have visitors, still some were neglected. For a few, it was a pattern of repeat behavior, as they had no visitors in April at the last Guardian’s Day.

The Scripture teaches that pure and undefiled religion is to take care of orphans and widows in their distress. In many ways this was put into action today. But in many more, there is still much work to do.

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