The Heart of An Orphan

April 18, 2015

Two years ago I had the honor of traveling to the third world country of Uganda.  On the twelve-hour plane ride, I can vividly remember journaling my thoughts of the great amount of uncertainty and nervousness I had been experiencing about the missions trip.  Once landed and with foreign soil beneath my feet, culture shock surprisingly had not taken its toll- at least not like I thought it would.  The big “wake-up call” didn’t quite settle in until I finally arrived at the orphanage center in Kekebu.  My observation was like none other and I struggled digesting it all as it hit my like a hurricane.

After spending several days at the orphanage, my mind could hardly fathom the love and humility the children demonstrated towards one another. Even after connecting with the children and getting to know them, my heart still had room to grow more attached than it already was.  Their worship and praise to the Lord was overwhelming.   The magnitude of their hearts for one another was something I had never seen or experienced before.  As I watched the orphans worship and sing before the Lord during service, I couldn’t help but  think about the joy that must have filled the Lord’s heart.  Despite their aching and bloated stomachs from malnutrition and exhaustion from heat and dehydration, they still worshiped the Lord in the most pure form.  No amount of pain or discomfort seemed to faze them or hinder the way they worshiped God or treated each other.  When worship ceased, they then started to mediate and sing, “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me…”  I just stood there brokenhearted as I watched tears stream down the faces of fatherless children.  Yet, in their hearts, they knew they belong to a Heavenly Father- the one they sang to in unity: Jesus.  To know that they have a heavenly Father that sees their tears was enough to fill the void of an earthly father. God knows their names and He loves them endlessly regardless of their titles as orphans.

“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not:for of such is the kingdom of God.” {Luke 18:16}

Although I went to Africa in hopes of being a blessing it turned out that the children unconsciously blessed me on a much greater level. In Luke 6:38 it states, “Give, and it shall be given unto you.”  When you give to others, God will never leave you empty-handed.  As a matter of fact, He will give you double the blessing of what you give to others! The orphans of Kekebu transformed my heart and spirit. They changed my views in so many areas that only those of the same journey would understand.  It is unlike our American culture of materialism and instant comfort in so many ways.  They do not sit in padded pews at church, walk on carpeted floors, or lay their head in a fluffy pillow to sleep in a warm bed at night.  Even though these children have nothing, (in many ways) they have everything.  They never seemed to show any sign of allowing their circumstances to hinder their worship and joy in the Lord.

Many of us allow minor situations to hinder our worship, our spiritual walk, and our charity to others.  So many of us bankrupt ourselves from precious and greater opportunities, because we allow a flat tire to set our moods back to a “why me” attitude.  We rush from point A to B in such a hurry that we receive a lovely 200 dollar speeding ticket that sours our spirit and smile to the point of being unpleasant to others.  Do we really enter into His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and into His courts with praise?  Or do we enter the house of the Lord with a spoiled attitude that rubs off onto others.  We allow so many minor things to engulf our minds that we no longer let our light shine to the world.  “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it… ” Shine? Or hide it under a bushel?

Perhaps if we stopped and thought about the less fortunate in worldly possessions–like the orphans in Kekebu who are rich in heavenly treasures– maybe we would be thankful to have a car with a flat tire.  Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful for the countless blessing in my life and to live in America, but the children of Kekebu opened my eyes to a view of myself that I was ashamed of.  In a not-so-glamorous style of living, they still were able to let their light shine for the Lord.  How easily they could have moped around grumbling about being barefoot or having one outfit.  Instead, they walk in humility and love.  They shout to the Lord with a voice of triumph.  Because they know what it’s truly like to rely solely on the Lord for every need. Our perspective is everything.  So when we find fulfillment in seeking the needs of the less fortunate, we have then adopted a beautiful and distinct characteristic of God: servant-hood.

Today, focus on the needs of others. You will be surprised by the joy you can fill someones heart with by simply investing in their life. Be intentional by trying to give hope to the hopeless, finding true beauty where it’s least expected, and being a blessings to others.  Remind yourself, as I often do, to give thanks in all things.