My body aches from lack of sleep in relation to jet lag, swollen pregnant feet from the heat and frequent standing, and my physical body is screaming at me, “what were you thinking traveling overseas at 30 weeks pregnant? Didn’t you realize you wouldn’t have as much energy with your 3rd pregnancy as you had with your previous ones?” I lay sprawled out on the sidewalk awaiting our taxi ride to our hotel. I was seriously starting to question my intelligence. 15+ hours in flight had certainly taken its toll. Every time we landed I had this crazy sensation that I was going into labor. Such strange tightening, spasms, and dizziness.
I questioned…“why am I here?” It was at this moment that I looked up.
All around me I saw faces. Petite, oval, dark, beautiful faces. Beautiful unique faces. Each one fashioned with such intricateness. Each one filled with such yearning. I am shocked to see the huge smiles and welcomes etched across them. I am filled with such a love for these precious people. God loves each and every one of them. He has a plan for their lives and wants me to love them too. I see the longing. I see the hunger. The mad rush of bodies outside the airport communicates the rush and speed of life. Nothing slows down. It rapidly speeds on towards death and separation from God apart from the manifold grace of God. These faces need Jesus.
Her tears are etched across my soul. A poor Grandma, retired and aged without possible income beyond the $28 monthly pension her husband receives. Here she sits before me struggling to raise their only grandchild. Angel is an adorable girl of four with pigtails in her hair and a cute little ballerina skirt around her waist. A precious life that was abandoned at 2 months old by her mother on the doorstep of her Grandparents home. She hides her face in her Grandma’s skirt as we greet her. She is shy, reserved, and quiet and we hardly heard a peep out of her throughout our time together. But slowly…the smiles started to imerge. Playing with sand, going down a slide, savoring a small cup of strawberry ice cream, and enjoying her favorite chicken and gravy. Here she was…four years old. Just like my own precious daughter. Angel loves playing house, hide-and-seek, and babies. Sounds like my own Karis.
Grandma Ida keeps calling us Angel’s new Papa and Mama. At first I am turned off by her declarations of us…but then I begin to see more clearly. This little girl needs lots of love and nurturing. And though we may be thousands of miles away, we have adopted her in some way today. She has stolen a place in our hearts. We have the awesome opportunity to pray for her by name. We can express God’s love for her again and again in our letters. Letters that have power to communicate love, affirmation, and a friendship across the miles. We learned that such letters can improve their educational wellbeing as well as their over overall development. Grandma Ida’s eyes filled with tears as we prayed over them in our parting and partnered with Grandma in the loving nurturing of Angel.
The Lord has graciously given us the opportunity to invest in her life. To provide the means for giving her the holistic services in her emotional, physical, economical and spiritual well-being in order that one day, Lord willing, she might become a responsible and fulfilled Christian adult. That falls right in line with our desires for our own children. Why not adopt her as our own? This is why Compassion International exists. I look forward to exploring how Compassion fulfills that in 56,000 children here in the Philippines as the week continues.