Great Expectations From Humble Beginnings—that pretty much sums up our news. Friday, after moving to the Mole 20 months ago, we opened our orphanage! YEAH!!
Hand in hand with opening the orphanage is making sure they have everything they need. I have been working on the needs list for the last several weeks. I’m constantly adding and subtracting. Honestly I’m 100% struggling with making the list.
I know the children in the orphanage are coming from nothing. They are hungry. They are lonely. They are poor. They may have seen their parents die in front of them. They no doubt have suffered in ways we can’t imagine. This will change their life – to go from that suffering – to being fed, loved, and cared for. These orphans are going to start off so thankful for every single thing we give them! It’s going to be so hard not to spoil them! I already want to give them everything my children have! How could I not want them to be as blessed as my own children are?
A speaker once told this at a conference and it still sticks with me. His words really touched me:
I was in Africa writing a book about one of the tribes. I brought my camera and laptop so that I could document things along the way. The children were mesmerized! Many had never seen pictures of themselves before. I loved seeing their smiles when their photos came up on my laptop screen. They had never seen a computer before. I spent several months with them. Before I left these folks who had never known what a computer was – were begging me for one. All of a sudden the joy that I had in showing them their pictures was outweighed by the sorrow they had because I couldn’t afford to get each of them one.
What God showed me is that people can’t covet a laptop if they don’t know what one is. They can’t covet an iPod – if they’ve never seen one. As Americans we have to be so careful what we introduce in other cultures or we are going to create this “more” mentality that we fight in the states.
I see that already in the orphanages we have. Years ago the children asked for a basketball and a baby doll. Their faces would light up when they got their very own tennis shoes! Now they want iPods and DVD players. Not that there’s anything wrong with those items – my children are certainly blessed with electronic devices! But there’s such a fine line when it comes to giving and introducing those things in a culture that’s not accustomed to it. I don’t want the children at the orphanage to be upset or feel cheated when they “only” get a basketball and a brand new pair of shoes! I don’t want them to feel disappointed that there wasn’t “more”.
Sometimes if we’re not careful – we push our own sense of “entitlement” onto the children. I want them to have EVERYTHING! Then we get upset when they feel entitled to having more! So this is the reason I’m struggling to make our needs list! I go back and forth with every single item -trying to decide if these are things that will only hurt down the road!
My heart is set on some Great Expectations for our children—but they have nothing to do with a list of material needs or wants. I expect our children to receive love and care. I expect our children to grow up in the full knowledge that they are wanted and will never be neglected. I fully expect our children to feel spoiled by the love of Christ lavished upon them by the hundreds of missionaries who come through to polish their fingernails, take them swimming, or just sit and rock and tell stories. I can’t wait for our children to truly experience a sense of entitlement when it comes to receiving the gift of salvation. I want them to know that no matter their background that through Jesus Christ they have an entitlement to life forever in Heaven and abundance on earth!
I know I’m just belaboring the fact that folks are still waiting for a tangible list but for now let me throw out to you what my orphanage really needs: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those are my great expectations and what I really want for all of them. Perhaps from this humble list… we will all see what is truly needed to raise a child in the fullness of Christ in favor of God and man.