Two weeks ago, Reina and her cousin John came down here to see us and just BE with us… as well as check out the possibility of opening a bread factory down here. We anticipated that time so much, b/c we were craving a little slice of home, and that it was!
But, SHOOT! It was even MORE than that!!! When I walked out to greet them, one of my best friends on the planet jumped out at me with a giant hat on! Kelly Pastori! I burst into tears. Tears of joy. Gratitude. Tears that came from knowing my Father in Heaven cares for me and loves me as His child… a love so deep that He would find a way to send a friend here that I missed so dearly..
I can honestly say, that other than getting engaged, it was the best, sweetest surprise I have ever had! As most of you know, I am the only girl down here on our team, and that can be really hard sometimes. And right before they all came, it was a particularly lonely time for me. Again, tears are flowing as I write thinking about how sweet it was to have the three of them here.. Thank you Reina, John, and Kelly!!! That meant so much to all of us…really. <3
Can you believe they brought TED’s buffalo meat for us to have our favorite hamburgers?!
So while she was here, Kelly taught all my Kindergarten students “jingle bells” to sing at their December Christmas party. They loved her! And it’s been hilarious the past two days, b/c when I walked into the 4 and 5 year old classrooms, both times, they have greeted me sweetly with “GOOD MORNING DIANA AND KELLY!” I busted out laughing again today when it happened… I wonder how many days they will continue to greet Kelly when she’s not there! Haha. They miss you Kel!
…… Well. On another note… some thoughts I’ve been having… sometimes I think my purpose here is simply to love on children, and even for other adults to see that too. I think the hardest thing about the culture here is that children are not valued; rather, they’re often seen as inconveniences. This is not true in all families, of course, but it just seems like it’s just so ingrained in the culture that even Christians don’t seem to see much wrong with is. And discipline is just so harsh. And physical. And miserably fails to deal with the hearts of the children. And it breaks my heart. Sometimes it seems like I just can’t watch it any longer, and that’s when I get homesick and want to just crawl into the safety of middle class America. But then Jesus reminds me that that is why He has me down here.
People here think we are weird. I get looks all the time for holding children, picking them up, spinning them around, walking Wendylove to school, etc..It really seems like after 2 years old, they believe the kids are big enough to not need that kind of stuff anymore. But oh, they DESPERATELY do!!! Little Wendylove has come to LIFE since we’ve been living here… full of laughter and joy b/c she feels so loved!
Reina reminded me that Jesus, too, lived in a culture that did not love children well… that’s why He would pick them up, set them on His knee, and say “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This blew both the disciples and the Pharisees away!!! They wanted to know who was greatest in the Kingdom, and Jesus not only told them to humble themselves like children but also to receive them in His name. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives ME.”- Matthew 18:5.
So that’s partly why I feel I’m here. To show children and adults that God’s word is stronger than culture. That Jesus cares about the hearts of children waaaay more than their behaviors. That hitting children only encourages them to hit others. (Children hit other children so much here, too; it’s heartbreaking.)
All this stuff weighs on me. And it’s too difficult and heavy for me to hold. So I pray that Jesus holds it for me, just as He can hold your “stuff” at home where you are too.