Today I got to be out at the Tree of Life Village as they were putting the finishing touches onto four new homes for the kids to move into. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to be there and witness this. This morning, we got to line the dirt road with the children who already live at the TOL. They were dancing and singing and jumping as two buses pulled in filled with dirty faced and tattered clothed children who were absolutely beautiful. These children had no idea what they were about to see or where they were about to be left. The got all of the children off of the bus and they current children living there sang them a song. Here are some of the words, Welcome to the Tree of Life.....we are a bessing to the nation. Those words made my eyes fill with tears as I thought about how God has chosen each one of these children and though they were in some of the worst situations, He is turning them into children who can truly grow up to change this nation of Zambia. I would hear different stories of why these children were here, but I think the most heartbreaking thing was to see a mom bring her three children and leave them at TOL. Her youngest was around 1 1/2 and I couldn't even imagine how a mom could just hand over her children. They invite the current caretakers out to see where the kids are going to be living so that they cannot say that Family Legacy stole them even though they sign them over to Family Legacy. It was so fun to see the kids putting on all of their new clothes and come out with HUGE smiles. They came in so timid and in just a short time, they were filled to overflowing with JOY!!!!
I also got to visit Paulina today who lives out at TOL. My parents and I sponsor her and she has been out there since December. I hadn't seen her in 2 years and so I really didn't know what to expect. Last time I saw her, she really didn't speak much English at all and she was super skinny. Today, when I saw her, she was almost as tall as me, filled out to a healthy weight, and she could talk to me in English!! I gave her the bag with all of the gifts in it and it was full of all different kinds of things. She pulled out the package of gum and paused then asked, "is this gum?" I told her yes and then I asked her if she had ever had it before and she said no. I was so suprised so I had to tell her that she could chew it, but when she was done to spit it out. She didn't know what the lotion was and was so excited to have her own necklace. The scrapbook that I made for her was so much fun to watch her read. She had the biggest smile on her face and it was so fun to watch her look at the pictures that I had of her from the past 5 years. She has grown up so much and is such a beautiful girl. She is 13 now and in grade 4. I walked with her back to her classroom and she showed me her desk. I had asked her if she could read and she told me no, but her friends said she could. Teasingly I told her that I wanted her to read me a book and so another friend quickly put one on her desk. It was the Little Red Hen and I couldn't have been prouder as she was reading it to me!!!! Just 2 years ago, she couldn't speak to me in English much less read a book. What an amazing transformation is taking place in her life. I was so proud of her and couldn't stop smiling at the amazment that God has done over the last few years. One thing that really stuck with me today was when her house mom asked if I was the mum to Paulina....whith a big smile, I said YES! they truly think of their sponsors as parents and I am so thankful that God crossed our paths together. I gave her a heart necklace and I told her that it represented God bringing her heart, my heart, and my parents heart together because of His heart for all of us. She was wearing it the rest of the day and I loved the Joy that abounded from her. Tomorrow, I get to go visit Jeany and Naomi at their homes. I am so excited to see what God has done in their life over the past two years
Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures soon! The internet in Zambia doesn't always work and when it does, it is very slow. Last night it took Lizzie 30 minutes to upload one picture, so hopefully maybe I can get a few on there this weeknd. Thank you again for all of your prayers!