Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Day with Ndiga

Our family with Ndiga at the guest house in Nairobi

I often question God's timing and how He constantly uses time to remind me that everything is His, including my time and my plans.  In Africa, I accepted this more than I ever had in the States. I tend to do my best to control events in our family's lives, but this really was not possible in Africa. I had to turn everything over to God.  I saw throughout the weeks that we were there, that God was working in ways that I could not see until the end of each day - according to His timing, not mine.

One of these days was the day we were to meet Ndiga, our Compassion International child that we have been sponsoring for several years.  We were in Nairobi, Kenya and we had a full day of visiting ministries and medical clinics with Life in Abundance (LIA) in the slums of Kibera and the Mathare Valley.

We had arrived in Kenya late the previous night, after flying 5 hours across the continent from Gabon.  The time change was hard on the boys and we headed out early to the slums with staff from LIA. We were to spend the day visiting medical clinics in the slum areas, but a couple hours into the clinic, Carter had a panic attack.  There were so many people everywhere, the church was just a small shack with tents for treatment, it was hot, crowded, and too much for him.  Fortunately, we were with a doctor and he helped Carter and we left soon after to head back to the guest house where we were staying.

Medical clinic area in Mathare Valley

At the time, I was very disappointed, as I had wanted to be a part of the medical clinics that day and see the work that LIA was doing throughout the slums of Nairobi.  Instead, God directed us back to the guest house around lunch time.  Had we spent the whole day with LIA, we would not have been back until 4 p.m., right when our Compassion International sponsored child, Ndiga would arrive from traveling a day and a half to meet us with Compassion International staff.  God orchestrated our timing perfectly, as our exhausted boys were able to have a calm lunch and down time, so that they were ready to spend time with Ndiga. 

We met Ndiga that afternoon and it was such an amazing experience - really kind of hard to explain in words. She was so sweet, but really did not talk much. She was very shy, but smiled a lot.  We gave her gifts, did craft projects and played Uno together, which made her laugh a bit.  She stuck the little foam stickers from the art projects on her collar and clothes and really seemed to enjoy those. The workers that traveled with her from her village showed us her files and photos and explained to us more about her family.  Ndiga comes from a very poor family with no dad, but the help that the family has received through Compassion in the past few years has changed their lives.  Ndiga and her brother are both getting a good education along with food and necessities for their whole family.

We learned a lot about the village Ndiga came from, her family (mom and siblings) and the Compassion International center where she spent much of her time.  She gave us this beautiful painting that she had made, with help from others at the Compassion Center.  The painting hangs in our hallway, between the boys' room and our room.  I see it every day as I go in and out of our rooms.  I love it as it reminds me of our time together, and reminds me that our family helps a beautiful young girl in Kenya grow up with food, shelter, education and the knowledge of Christ who loves her.  

There is a bible verse on the painting, "Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.  Watch for the new thing that I am going to do" Isaiah 43:19  This is such a beautiful verse that I see everyday as I am reminded of how easy it is to help an entire family half way around the world through organizations like Compassion International and World Vision.  I love that the verse talks about God doing new things and the hope that Ndiga's family found when we were connected through Compassion.

Our boys were engaged and well rested and we all had an amazing time. We gave her a lot of photos, and took photos with her which I sent to her once we returned from Africa. I realized well before Ndiga arrived, that had we stayed in the slums all day, the boys would have been disasters and exhausted by the time Ndiga arrived. God wanted this to be a special time for us all, and He orchestrated it all, just the way He wanted it all to go. Again, I was put in my place and reminded that He is in control of everything and knows what is best for us all the time.  As the day ended, I was so thankful that God knew better than we did how our day needed to go so that we could give Ndiga the best of ourselves, instead of our leftovers.  

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