Three of my little lovelies left our center to return to their families this afternoon. While I am rejoicing with them (and their families) I am definitely sad that they are gone and will really miss them. These three boys are three of my favorites! Three of my thirty-three favorites that is! But seriously, these boys are such dears, great personalities, very bright, helpful, fun, kind, respectful, well-loved members of our family. Our home will not be the same without them.
Two of them are brothers, the one in the Hawaiian shirt and the one on the far right. They came about two years ago because their mom died and their father is blind so he couldn't care for them. They had been staying with an auntie but she lost her job. So we took them in while she found another one. She now works for our Iris center in Machava, about 40 minutes from here, so they are able to go back to live with her. They have spent all their holidays there and the father visits often. I am excited that they will still have a connection to Machava and that will make it easy to visit them. It also means they will have the opportunity for a continued Christian influence in their precious little lives.
The boy in the middle has a really interesting story and we are praying that this move home goes smoothly. I first saw him and his brother on the streets, picking thru garbage bins. I tried to talk with them but by the time I had turned around (I was driving) they had moved on. Then they were both brought to our center by our street ministry team.
It turns out that my little darling, at 7, was influencing his older brother to run away to the streets with him. But that was from his father's home and now he is returning to his mother's home where his brother and sister already live. He visits all holidays and enjoys it. There was even a period of about a year where some of our youth and a couple missionaries were doing a weekly kids' Bible study at their house for the community although that isn't happening currently.
So, we are praying that he will feel welcome and settled at home and will have no inclination to return to the streets!
Whenever my boys move on, either home or to the next dorm, I am always threatened by a sense of panic that I haven't taught them enough, hugged them enough, spent enough time with them, imparted enough to them. Do they know how to write their full name? Do they know the difference between Daniel and David? Do they brush their teeth properly? Do they know I love them? Do they know Jesus loves them?
Well, I may not be able to answer all those questions with a resounding yes but for the last two I definitely can! They know me and Jesus love them!
Nevertheless, I find myself wanting to run after the car carrying them to their old/new lives, shouting, "Brush your teeth! Talk to God every day about whatever you feel like! God has a plan for your life! Don't hit! Wash your hands after using the bathroom! It's ok to cry! Talk to God about whatever you feel like!" (that one's important so it needs shouting two or maybe a thousand times!)
Good thing I know there is One who can speak to them much more capably than I could ever hope to, who can speak to the deepest parts of theirs hearts and spirits. They are not going on this journey alone!
Tchau my little darlings! Famba na Jesu!