Today is the day I’ve dreaded since I first arrived. Five weeks have passed. And with each passing day, these children have wriggled their way deeper into my heart. Each day, I played with them. I woke them and got them ready for school. I helped them with their studies. I taught them how to act like Jesus. I told them stories, hugged them, and tucked them into bed at night. But today, I have to say goodbye.
As we packed to leave, the children started disappearing. One by one, they reappeared carrying small packages wrapped in newspaper. They gave us notes and drawings. They gave us their own toys and stuffed animals. In every way they could imagine, they expressed – Thank you! We love you! We’ll miss you! Come back soon!
I think Daniel’s letter summarized their feelings best:
To Chota Paul:
Paul Uncle, thank you very much for telling us stories at night. And thank you for teaching us good habits. Come soon to India. We all children will remember you in our prayers because you are like our father.
Thank you for playing the Monopoly game with us. We enjoyed it so much. You are so nice because when we tell you something in Hindi, you learn it fast. And thank you for showing your childhood photos. We enjoyed seeing what you and Monika Aunty looked like as children.
May God help you in whatever you do. May his angels surround you and your team.
We enjoyed talking with you. Thank you for giving me and Joshua pancakes. They were delicious. Thank you for brining the team to meet us. Bring many more teams. Because of you, children stopped beating and teasing each other.
From – Daniel
MAY GOD BLESS YOU!
My heart is also filled with gratitude. I am thankful for each of these children. And I am also thankful for each of you who have supported, prayed for and sent our teams. Without you, these children may never have experienced the joy of family! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Daniel grew up on the streets of India without a place to call home and owned just dirty sticks and stones to call his toys. Daniel’s mother also grew up on the street, learning to survive. She got pregnant with Daniel when she was just a teenager. Daniel’s father left her when she got pregnant. So she had nobody to look after her during those days and became very sick.
After Daniel was born, his father came back and showed some interest in helping care for him. But after a year, his father passed away from AIDS.
Daniel’s mother worried about Daniel’s future because she was also very sick. So she pled with us to take Daniel to our children’s home.
Daniel came to the home in 2002 as a very sick little boy. We took him to the hospital to get vaccinations and to test him for HIV/AIDS. We were very happy when his test results came back negative. His health has improved steadily since then.
Today, he is twelve years old. He is a very happy boy who loves to tell jokes, dress smartly and give giant hugs.