I hate mornings that are filled with packing bags and anticipated goodbyes.
We went to church at Fountain of Life's new property. They are currently holding church under a rented tent. We got to see the foundation of the new church, as well as the foundation of the new home for the boys!
The service was awesome - Dave preached and Pastor Kioko translated. Pastor was amazing! His translations were so quick, and he spoke with the same intonations and emotion as Dave - it was such a cool thing to watch. Clara, Nora & Irene all led worship. They apologized to us because their sound system wasn't working, so they couldn't use the keyboard or anything - - but let me tell you, I am so thankful that the system was down. When Nora sang the first line and then Clara, Irene & the congregation joined in... wow. It was absolutely beautiful. I had goosebumps the whole time.
Photo by Sara.
Little Moses was sitting by me, and he didn't make it through the sermon. He kept nodding and then doing the head-jerk, and then in the middle of a prayer, I felt a little thud against my shoulder, and that's where his head stayed for the rest of the sermon.
Taken during the nodding routine.
After church, we had a community lunch with the congregation and then just played with the boys for a couple hours. I met Pastor Kioko's son, Prince, who was so adorable & funny. He kept coming up to me and running his hands over my hair over & over and just saying, "So soft! So soft!" He spoke excellent English and a LOT of it - I don't think he ever stopped talking or moving!
Prince on the right, a little boy from church on the left.
As the afternoon wore on, and the departure crept closer, the boys started asking to write us notes in our journals, and occasionally one or two of them would go off for a minute and just sit alone, either just watching everyone pensively, or writing a little note. I'll include some excerpts from the notes I received in another post.
Fountain of Life boys, some church members, and our team.
Finally the bus came to take the boys back to their temporary home. A couple of the older boys, a bit sheepishly, smuggled letters into our hands under the guise of a handshake. There were a lot of hugs, a lot of last minute jokes, and a lot of tears.
After the boys were all packed into the bus, they were hanging out of the windows, all trying to talk to all of us at once and say goodbye one more time... I was managing to hold myself together, until my buddy Benedict reached through the window took my hand and said, "Bye, my BFF." I smiled and said, "I'll see you again, rafiki melele," (Swahili for "friend forever"). Then the bus pulled away, and I lost it. Thankfully pretty much everyone was either crying or avoiding eye contact. We prayed for the boys and then piled into our vans to go change before we went to the airport. The boys went to Lameck's apartment, and the girls went to Mama Florence's house.
Pastor Kioko and his family were riding with us, so Prince crawled in next to me, took my face in his hands and whispered, "No more tears." Of course, it was so adorable I wanted to burst into tears all over again, but I just hugged him and dried my eyes, then listened to him jabber the whole way to Mama Florence's house as he played with my hair. He asked me about "America" and what our country was like, so I told him about how it was starting to get cold in Michigan and soon it would snow, and then I told him about snow. Ellie was sitting on the other side of him, looking out the window, undoubtedly lost in her thoughts. Prince looked at her and asked, "Why are you so serious?" - which is just hilarious to hear coming from an 8-yr old Kenyan boy. We asked him what it meant to be "serious" and he put on a stern, contemplative face. We laughed and I said, "Well Prince, are you ever serious?" He looked up at me, somewhat bemused and said, "Of course!"
When we arrived at Mama Florence's house, he jumped out of the van, started running around, still talking, then ran back up to me, and without taking a breath exclaimed, "And when you come back, please bring me some snow!"
Pastor Kioko & his family left shortly afterward, we freshened up, chatted with Mama Florence, Clara, Nora & Irene until the boys arrived, then we said our goodbyes once again, were off to the airport, boarded the plane, and watched out the window until Africa was hidden beneath the clouds.
Now I'm back in Michigan, praying for my boys, looking at their pictures and reading their letters every day and asking God for an opportunity to return to them as soon as possible.
If you want to see more pictures of our trip, we've compiled everyone's pictures here.
If you have any other questions, I'd be more than happy to talk your ear off about the experience!
Paul: "Rachel, will you come see us again? I fear you will not."
Me: "Paul - if the Lord lets me, I will come see you again."
-pause, as Paul looks directly into my eyes, as if trying to read my heart, then - -
Paul: "I feel that you will come again."