After our week in the mountains, we came back to the city and have been “treasure hunting.” Instead of hunting for a pot of gold or a pirate's hidden booty, we're searching for people, God's treasures, in the city. We start by praying and asking God to give us a message for someone. The message is often something simple, like Jesus loves you. Or God wants to be near you. Sometimes it's very specific. Once we have the message, we go into the city and look for the person we should give the message to. As we watch people go by, we ask God who to talk to, who to share the message with.
It's not hard to get someone's attention or to find someone here who wants to talk to us. (It's pretty obvious that we're not from around here. We're getting used to being stared at everywhere we go.) Many young people and businessmen hang around fast food restaurants, hoping to meet Westerners to converse, practice their English, and learn about Western culture.
One of the people we spent time with on this “treasure hunt” is going to visit one of the house churches we've worked with. And we invited two others to join us for a meal and games this weekend. Our friends here will be able to stay in touch with these people after we return home.
Yesterday, we visited the orphanage. Most of the children at the orphanage are severely handicapped. And many are in the orphanage because of their handicap.
The children were so happy to see us and play with us as they were able. One of their favorite activities is brushing their teeth! Hygiene, especially dental hygiene, isn't really practiced here. One of our friends donated toothbrushes and toothpaste to keep them healthy. Another friend donated vitamins to help supplement their diets that lack sufficient nutrients from fresh food.
We also sang songs, looked at books, ran around with those who could run, and brought them fruit to eat. But what the kids enjoyed the most was to simply sit with us and hold our hands.
Even though we couldn't converse with the kids, we knew it was significant for us to be there. We wanted them to know they are valuable and worth someone's time. We wanted them to understand, even in just a small way, the love that God has for each of them.
Thank you for praying for our team. We believe that this outreach is just the one of many more to come. We've seen new opportunities open up for us and for future teams.
photo credit: Ian Sand (top), Monika Allen (bottom)