I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. the Noel orphanage!!! This orphanage is just outside Gisenyi. There are 600+ children in this orphanage starving for interaction and love. The workers all work very hard to keep the children fed and clean and dry...but there are just SO many children. We were entertained by many of the kids with an African drum show, an acrobat show & dancing. They really were spectacular! The children gave us tours of the grounds including visiting the pigs, cows, chickens, and two little kittens. I even got to see the cow that was being butchered for there New Years dinner. That was, let's just say...Ewwww!!! Ha! The children get meat on Christmas, New Year's & Easter so for them it is very special. I immediately had friends as I walked off the bus. I spent a big part of the day with Denise, Moses, Patrick & Patrick's brother Patrick. LOL Most of the older children get to choose an English name and apparently they both liked the name Patrick:) The girls and Sid all had buddies too & we hardley saw each other the whole day. We painted fingernails on girls & boys, made salvation bracelets, held babies, jumped rope, played soccer, played football, talked and took pictures ALL day!! It was incredible, especially to see their faces light up when we told them we were coming back tomorrow. Nothing could express to you the emotion you feel when these sweet faces say things like; "Is it ok I call you Mama?", "I want to keep you in my heart", "Are you coming to see me again soon?", and the most brutal... "You want be my Mama cause I very much like you?" Oye! Sniff! We also spent time in the special needs roomwhich was full of older children who were survivors of the genocide. Most were injured or were found months later living in the forest with animals. They loved the attention & we enjoyed loving on them & telling them how special they are & how much they are loved. It was truly heartbreaking. I am excited about returning to spend the day with these sweeties tomorrow, but would love prayers for their hearts & ours as we leave them tomorrow night. It will not be easy. God is working in the hearts of all of those on our team. It truly is impossible to step out of your comfort zone, travel across the world to hold a childs hand and not be changed. My God continue to break my heart for what breaks His.
"Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress."