"This is how grace works; it enters the soul, penetrates the heart, saturates the conscience, abides in the memory, affects the affections, gives understanding to the understanding, and imparts real life to the heart, which is the seat of life." Spurgeon

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Hardest Goodbye

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. Philippians 4:1

They were all difficult. We had a profound week. Holly and the kids and I were challenged to our core and saw God do things we have never seen before...

But Tommy and I both had the hardest time saying goodbye to Alfred. The very first kid I met at Camp Hope on Monday morning was Alfred. His big smile and good grasp of English sets him apart quickly. To be honest, Alfred was not officially in my group, at least to start.

To my disappointment, later the first morning when we were assigned our kids I saw Alfred in a different group and knew there must have been a mistake. I asked Mama Margaret if I could "draft" Alfred and she looked puzzled. Then I explained "Alfred is my friend and he belongs with me." She paused for a second and then worked it out and I got him. It's interesting how small decisions make big differences sometimes. Thanks mama!

Alfred is a loyal, fun loving, intelligent young orphan who doesn't remember either parent as they died when he was young. Alfred lives with his grandfather and it's too painful to talk about what he goes through at night there. Alfred gets enshima (like thick grits that look like mashed potatoes) a few times a week. There is much witchcraft and demon worship in tribal Africa and Alfred's dreams are very painful. He is not loved or safe where he lives.

On a positive note, Alfred's favorite subject is math and one day he dreams of being a driver. In the most emotionally charged conversion experience I have ever witnessed, Alfred exchanged his sin for the mercy that only comes through Christ yesterday and became a Christian. Asking great questions and soaking up the truth like a sponge, Alfred jumped up and down when Benjamin (my co-teacher) and I presented him with his new bible today.

Tommy (our helper all week) and I just couldn't stop weeping over having to leave these boys today. We shared so much in such a short time. I will never forget them.

We are asking people who feel a calling to care for the helpless to consider signing up to sponsor orphans in HIV-stricken Zambia. And we are inviting everyone we know to come and see for themselves all that God is doing for good in Zambia through Everyorphan.org.

Thank you for praying with me for Alfred.


  1. I'm on board - just wondering how we can get Grandpa too. By the way, tell Claire I have become a Brandon Heath fan and I think his song, Give Me Your Eyes, is a great one for your whole family to sing well telling the world about your experience in Africa. I have copied the lyrics and have it on my iphone. It speaks of what one has to do to have a heart for those we cannot see. Love Grandma and safe travels!! Do you leave tomorrow? Seems to me this would be the hardest part. I am praying for you all. Love Grandma

  2. Will, before you leave can you put the picture of Mama Margaret on here again? The first one did not go through Mom 2