What an amazing day this has been! I got to go and visit Naomi and Jeany today. We went to a different community first to visit the sponsored kids from another family. It was so fun to get to see them visit their kids, but I was getting anxious about seeing my kids. We went to see Naomi first and knowing the story that I had previously posted about how sick she was when I last saw her, I was so ready to see how she was doing. Little did I know the emotions that were going to flood over me the second I laid eyes on her. Leaving Zambia was so hard the last time I was here in 2010, because Naomi and her mom were both so sick and I honestly didn't know if I would be getting a call back home telling me something had happened. As soon as she stepped out of her house when she saw me, she came down the steps with arms opened wide, I wrapped her up and the tears began pouring out of me. Those of you know me, know that I have an "ugly" cry and it's all I can do to keep it from being loud. :) I don't even know how to put into words what I was feeling when I was there with her. The best way to describe it is to say that my heart was actually hurting for the emotion that I had kept inside me and I was shaking. I had no idea that those emotions were coming and I realized just how much I loved her, more than I could even express. So much that my heart physically felt that reunion! She looked so GOOD and healthy!!!! Her mom was there and she looked good too. She has a bad knee, so she is unable to walk any where away from the house, but she was up and is now on ARV's to keep her as healthy as possible from having HIV. Naomi loved her clothes and was so excited as well as her mom. She absolutely loved the scrapbook that I had made for her with all of the pictures from the past years from CampLife. I had written some little things in it to her and her discipleship leader that was with us told her what it said and her face was priceless. We visited with her and her mom for a little while and then she prayed for me before we were going to have to leave. She was praying in Nyanja, but as she was praying I could feel the tears rolling down my arm from her and then of course, I couldn't let her cry alone so my fountain of tears started again. She became so emotional that she couldn't finish praying. They translated her prayer to me and she thanked God for me coming to visit and bringing all of the gifts. She also asked for protection and peace over me and my family and was so grateful to get to see me. I loved being able to talk to her in English and she could understand me. It is amazing how much she has grown in 2 years and the difference it has made that she is now in the Lifeway Christian Schools that Family Legacy has provided. She is now in grade 7, so she will soon have exams coming up that will determine if she will be able to go onto grade 8. My prayer is that she has learned enough to continue on. I did find out that she has an older sisiter that I didn't know she had, so her sister's 2 kids were there at the house as well as her grandmother. All 6 of them live together in this house which is one room and is no bigger than 8 x 12. The floor is concrete covered by dirt and they actually had a bed now that all 6 of them sleep in (this was not a large bed, probably a very small full size bed). Even though they don't have anything and barely enough room to turn around, her family loves each other so much which isn't neccesarily the norm in the compounds of Zambia.
Our next stop was to visit Jeany. She came bounding out and was so excited to see us. There weren't many people at her house when we got there. We went in and I asked her if this was a new house and she said yes. They had moved from one side of this pod of homes to another. It was a bigger house (not big by any means) but you could sit down inside and visit from the sunlight that came in. I gave her the bag of gifts and she was pulling out the clothes and about 4 shirts in, she threw it up and covered her face and said "Thank you Jesus"!! She was so very overwhelmed that she had to stop for a minute. She would look at me and hug me telling me thank you. Then she continued pulling out the clothes. She pulled out a pair of jeans and was so overjoyed!!! It just made my heart so happy to see her filled up with Joy from a few new shirts and pants. We continued to visit for a while while her brother went to find her mother. While it was just us, I was asking her how she was doing and she said fine, but she still continues to ask for prayers for her mother to stop drinking which has always been her prayer ever since I have known her in 2007. She also asked for prayers for a bed. There are 14 people that live in her house. Her mom and dad have their own room and her siblings and 3 nieces and nephews all sleep in an 8 x 8 room that is only a concrete floor. It made me so sad that she has to sleep on that cold hard floor. I am not even sure how that many people lay down in that small of an area. Her mother did get there right before we left and as I hugged her, I was overcome with the smell of alcohol and then her sister showed up and I think she had been drinking too. I pray that Jeany will not follow in those same footsteps and that she can break that from her future family as she lives for the Lord. I was so proud of the progress that she had made too over the past 2 years in speaking English as she is working toward learning to read.
We did take both families a huge bag of mili mill which is what they make nshima from which is a Zambian staple. They also recieved 2 dozen eggs, cooking oil, beans, bread, kapenta (small dried fish, yuck!) and meat which is a HUGE treat for them. They were so grateful because this means they will be able to eat everyday for a little while before the food runs out!
This was an amazing but emotional day and I am so grateful to see both of these girls healthy and being able to get an education. They love going to school and are so thankful for being able to get an education. They know that with an education there is no hope of making a different life for themselves. I know how much I love these girls and there is so much of me that just wants to bring them home with me even though I know I can't. God has been so faithful to provide for them and I know that He will continue. I tried to upload pictures, but it wouldn't upload tonight, so hopefully I will have pictures coming soon. Thank you so much for your continued prayers!!