A couple of months ago, my friend found an ad in my church bulletin and thought of me. She showed it to me and I looked at the website. It is an orphanage in South Africa that works with children suffering/affected by HIV/Aids. It was started a few decades ago, initially to bring children who were dying off the street and give them a safe, loving place to have their final days. Over the years, the children have become more healthy and now the focus is not on helping them face death, but on helping them face life. They have all sorts of different programs, to build their education and spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Deep down I felt an unusual and peaceful excitement as I read what they wanted to do in the lives of these children.
After a lot of prayer and a lot of words of encouragement from pretty much EVERYONE in my life, I have decided to go there for 6 months.
Lately, God has been bringing up a verse to me again and again. And it is on their website too (for obvious reasons!). It is this: James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Unfortunately, people in this world either do one or the other, but usually not both (especially the latter without judgment). This I want to do well this year.
So, starting in February, I am off to South Africa to work in their clinic and be whatever they need: social worker, tutor, mentor/discipler... I will LEARN a LOT. I will need to depend on Jesus every day, as I am out of my comfortable life and in a world that is full of brokenness and sorrow. But I am excited!