The past two years I have spent most of January and February working in schools and orphanages in India. When I think of favorite things in my life, the memory of these children would be at the top. Here are some of my thoughts about them written while in India.
The Wonder of the Orphanage Children
Even as I write these words, my spirit is filled with a wonder at the preciousness of being friends with this group of orphans. Linda and I know it will take some time for us to really process what our "India Experience" has meant to us, but we both agree that the absolutely most thrilling part has to be our time spent with some of the poorest of the world's children, the fatherless, motherless, most formerly abused, bare-footed, beautiful and courageous kids who call us "Mommy," (pronounced Mo-mee, accent on second syllable) at this wonderful Children's Home.
These children have learned the true secret to contentment and joy. Linda says she will never read the verse in Ephesians 5:19, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord," without thinking of them. I agree wholeheartedly.
The children begin their day between 4 and 5 A.M. with singing - real singing - from deep within their spirits, with little arms raised toward Heaven. And then they pray, literally crying out to God for their needs, and the needs of others. But then, and this seems to be their secret to joy, the bulk of their prayer time is spent in praising and worshiping their Heavenly Father, many with tears of gratefulness falling down their cheeks.
After dressing, breakfast and chores, they assemble again for 8:00 A.M. chapel. It was during this time God allowed me (and I am SO grateful to Him!) to teach a series on the Names of God. Sitting barefooted on the cement floor of this simple little building which is located beside the thatched hut where the water buffalo are tied, the children were wide-eyed and eagerly soaking in like little sponges, each word I spoke through my interpreter. We were learning together more about our God. The children memorized the different Names we studied, and had me write out for them on their precious scraps of hoarded paper, and then called out to their "El Shaddai," their "Elohim," their "El Elyon" with an even greater trust. This time will be among the most cherished memories of my lifetime. This simple little chapel, hot, crowded and perhaps not so very clean, became a sacred cathedral to us, holy ground, where we would shout out together, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe!"
Evening prayers before bedtime began with further singing. The children know dozens of songs, both in English and Telegu. They love to do motions with their songs, and little dances, not offensive types of dances, but little hops, kicks and sways with graceful arm movements. One of them is in Telegu about David dancing before the Lord. You find yourself being caught up in the sheer joy of it all!
Then, once again, they lift their arms to Heaven and cry out to their Father.
The little ones go right to bed, while the older ones stay up to finish their homework. No one must coerce them to do their schoolwork. As there is no such thing as free public education in India, these orphanage children are grateful to have the privilege to an education!
After heading up to my room, and hoping the power would be on for the fans to run, I would lie down and listen to the sounds of the teak trees swaying outside my window, and wonder what I was experiencing, basking in the glow of this place. Was this joy? Yes...real joy. God is good.