Mom and I have been back in the States for over a week now. It's about twelve degrees in Kansas, so I'm keeping warm with these pictures and memories from our trip. Teddy and I have been working on our taxes recently, and as usual, I'm reminded of and humbled by all of the people who have given so generously to Eight Oaks. The girls are doing so well. I confess that we spend so much time on the administrative aspect--trips to the bank, expenses spreadsheets, Western Union transfers--it's easy to forget the purpose behind everything...or to think that what's needed, what's important is more money or resources. These visits to Ghana are partly for practical reasons: to check in with the staff, go over financials, monitor the progress of the house, meet with social welfare...but also, we need to see the girls. To hear them laugh. To watch them read books by themselves. To see the way they love each other. To listen to them sing "Jesus Loves Me" at night before bed. Their redemption has not come from our 501C3 paperwork or our tax-exempt status or our bank statements, but from God and his Church--from the love that you and so many other people have poured into their lives. That love has manifested itself in financial support, in hours and hours of prayer, in everything from free envelopes to blankets and bubbles.
We are so thankful and honored to be a part of this big, weird family with all of you. We're so thankful for our Savior and that we don't serve a government, but a holy King.
And we're thankful for the girls:)
Gloria cleaning out the rain pot in the courtyard (we're utilizing it because it's dry season and running water is completely hit-or-miss). Regina, sprinkled with cassava Mom & Gloria reading Sarah showing her picture On this particular day, the girls picked flowers on their way home from school! God's Way (and a smile that could light up NYC during a power outage!) I really love their room...how they organize their clothes and cubbies and how they so carefully arrange their treasured possessions on their pillows:) Richlove A successful afternoon!!
Mom and Lucky (one of the girls took this one, which is why Mom's head is cut off) One of my very favorites! (Left to right: Regina, Dina, Sarah, Lucky, God's Way, Richlove, Gloria) God's Way drew the Yellow House! I took this one home with me. Love those eight little people in the windows. The girls kept a watchful eye on our water bottles, and whenever they were empty there was a brief scuffle, and a race to the kitchen to fill them up with "pure water" bags. Mom, Sarah, Gloria, and Richlove Dina likes to make a point of frowning in pictures and laughing at my reaction--so anytime I get a smile on camera I high-five the person nearest to me. What can I say about Mercy? What a blessing she is. Words fail me. God's Way relaxing and flipping through Mom's magazine;) I LOVE how they love each other. My heart explodes! My two mamas. Mercy and Helen are, perhaps, the only two people on the planet who are as servant-hearted as my mother. This trip was a Clash of the Titans: lots of arguing about who would clean the dishes, etc. Little beauties in their Friday uniforms. Thank you, THANK YOU again to everyone that prayed for and helped with this trip. My only regret is that I didn't get a picture with my Mom (save one lone shot in the airport).
AND Ghana has advanced to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations! Their next game is on the 5th. Details are here if you'd like to stay in the loop--go Black Stars!