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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Their Voices ... (Ethiopia!)

While we spend time with the kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints, we are working closely with them in their classrooms.  Investing in their educations and investing in each child (it gives us the opportunity to spend time with each child, letting them know how precious and valuable and worthwhile they are!)  Janine Kruger was one of our volunteers this year, and her background is in teaching and youth minstry.  Below, Janine shares her experiences with the kids in November ...

From Janine:

I can hear their voices in song, greeting us to their school as our bus slowly pulled into Trees of Glory on the dry, crunching gravel. Anticipation of all sorts filled my mind and heart. Will they like us? Will they want to talk with us? What will I say? How will I communicate? I have no idea what they were saying while they were singing, but I could hear them singing. 

I stuck my head out of the bus window so I could see them and immediately my eyes filled with tears. Huge smiles were plastered to their faces as they “yell sang” for us. We were finally here. We were at Trees of Glory, the first of the two care points we had traveled hours and hours to visit. We were here to love, to teach, to listen, to smile, to share, to hug, to kiss, to hold hands, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I hear their voices sing. 

Later, as we taught in the classrooms, I can hear their voices talk of their troubles when I asked the question, “What problems and issues do you have here in this life?” Soft, quiet voices muttering answers to themselves. Knowing full well that they have a multitude of troubles, I waited for the first hand to rise to give an answer. 

“When my dad died.” My mind whirled at this answer, knowing that it would come, but unable to be prepared for it nonetheless. 

“Car accidents.” Yes, that is a real and true fear of the children attending Kind Hearts School, children who live just outside a city populated by 5 million people; a city that has zero traffic laws. 

“Being attacked by animals at night.” What a horrible thing for a child to worry about. 

“Economy problems.” What 8 year old has to worry about such a thing?! 

“Sickness.” Of course, which child has not had to deal with some sort of major illness in themselves or a close family member. I can hear their voices talk of their troubles. 


 I can hear their voices as we ask our class if they would sing a song for us at the end of a long teaching day. Their voices, somewhat quiet at first, gradually growing louder and louder as they gained confidence and momentum. Seeing our faces filled with joy and excitement, they sang, oh did they sing! 

Their teacher, one of our translators, started pulling children from the desks to come and join in the song and dance at the front of the room. The children sang loud and danced with such passion and happiness. I didn’t know what they were saying, but I danced along with them. Later I was told that it was a song about how good the Lord is. The way they sang and danced held both chaos and energy and yet it was organized and peaceful all at the same time. They sang and beat drums and smiled and held hands and we all danced together. I can hear their voices sing out loud. 


It's a long video clip, but even a few minutes will make you smile ...

And after ten days with these kids, I can hear their voices as they said “goooodbye!” The time had come to leave this place that I had quickly fallen in love with. 

I had fallen in love with the rolling hills off in the distance. I had fallen in love with the sight of the trees native to Africa . 

I had fallen in love with the paint colors on the buildings. I had fallen in love with the innovation and determination that the staff at TOG has to deeply love and care for the “orphan and the widow.” 

I had fallen in love with the beautiful faces of the 200 children whom we were privileged to meet, to love, to attend to.

I had fallen in love with seeing just how huge our world is, but just how intimate the Father’s love is for each and every one of His children. 

I had fallen in love and now my heart was breaking as we, for the last time on our trip, drove away on that dry, crunching gravel. I can hear their voices say “Goodbye…”