My body is so sore. I woke this morning and tried to think about what I'd done in the last 8 days. I still have 2 more days of journaling to catch up on. I wish I was still back there. I wish I didn't have to go back to work on Tuesday.
From wiping boogers, to explaining to kids that throwing rocks is bad, to explaining the meaning of forgiveness to a child who only wants to ride on my back, I am tired and weary.. yet completely refreshed. We joking around the dinner table on the final night about how people might think we'd gone on a vacation because we were tanned, had (probably) put on a few pounds, and were refreshed.
The mission field is FUN! Who would have thought that, from all the jitters I had prior to going. To knowing that God's calling would be not just the right thing to do, but feel great in the process. God was so good to us during our trip. So many times we felt discouraged but things would fall into our laps and a disappointment would turn into a joyous occasion.
I have no pictures to share at this time. We got around 2 gigs worth of them, but still in the process of sorting them out. I have the responsibility to put together a slide show sometime between now and August 9, but I won't get them until August 5th. I have no idea how I'll finish it all in 4 days (with Yee Lee's wedding squashed in between) but I'm sure God will provide.
I do have some pics from my own camera (I was not one of the 'official' photographers).
This is Marshall. Everyone calls him Mojo though. Mojo was one of my favorite kids. He has at least 4-5 brothers and sisters that I know of, possibly more. One thing you learn after awhile on the reserve is that almost all the kids are related, either cousins or siblings. Mojo got a bite or something on the back of his head. It never got treated and eventually became infected. That was about 2 years ago. Now it's this gross looking hole in his head, surrounded by scabs, dirt and mold.
This is Kelsey, one of Mojo's little sisters. There was one day when it was really cold, about maybe 10-15 degrees, and we were all wearing our hoodies and fleeces on top. Kelsey came out dressed like it was 30 degrees outside. She was freezing cold so I wrapped her with my fleece. She wanted her mom so we carried her back to her house, but then she came out crying again because no one was home. So we carried her back. Turns out that no one is home until 4pm for those kids, so they basically take care of themselves (5-6 children) between 9-4pm (mom works at a store.. not sure where the dad is).
This is Marty, everyone's favorite little girl. Marty accepted Christ on Day 3. She'd been asking people to pray for her grandmother who was sick, and then we talked to her about Jesus and she decided to accept. Marty is one of 10-11 brothers and sisters. One of her grandmothers is the chief (Chief Veronica). One thing about Marty is that she is always happy, running around, tickling us and asking for hugs and shoulder/back rides. If there's a reason why my shoulders hurt so much right now, it's probably because of her.
This is Junior. He has an older brother named Jayden. Jayden has one arm that doesn't really work -- he gets picked on because of this, but he does his best to protect his little brother. Junior was the first boy I connected with, on the first day that we arrived there. We sat on this big round rug in the middle of the baseball field with a whole bunch of other kids, and I let Junior and Jayden color my shoes with chalk. Junior has this smile that melts your heart when he does it. On the last day I sat with him and made him his necklace with colored beads. I explained him the meanings of each of the colors (black, red, white, green, gold) -- about sin, Jesus' blood, purity, growth and heaven. Afterwards he just looked up at me and said these words that I'll never forget: "Can I get on your back?"
Our team grew together and really started to mesh on Saturday (Day 3). We became this well-oiled machine that helped and supported eachother in times of joy and grief. I think we all realized at some point that God was really working on the reserve, despite the desperation and poverty they live in.
That part hit me when we had a community bbq on Friday, the last day for the previous mission team from Jaffrey and MCPC. We had about 150 burgers and had to go and buy more. Kids ate like they hadn't eaten in days, someone about Mojo's size would eat 2 burgers at least. They were really scarfing them down, and some kids tried to get more to take home. It was then that it hit me how bad it was, how hungry the kids were, how thirsty they were. We brought 160 drink boxes and they were all gone within the first hour.
I'll continue this later..