Love and deep, deep feelings

Hey hello hi from Africa! We just ended our first day of ministry here in Swaziland. Well, the day isn’t over yet. So we still have ministry opportunity. Thats a cool thought. Its Friday, July 3, 2015 – just a regular date besides the fact it is the day before the forth of July. But not for me. Not for our team. Today we did what we have been preparing to do for months, for days, this is why we flew 15 hours and drove probably, 5 hours, this is why we went through training camp, why we did team building games, why we prayed and worshiped, why we begged for wisdom to rain down on us, and why we cried our eyes out because our hearts longed to love people we haven’t even met yet – and so many more deeper/unexplainable things. Well, today was the first day of why we did all of that. I’ll start from the moment I woke up. I remember it being 4:23 in the morning and the rooster that (I’ve been threatening to turn into soup) cock-a-doodle-doooooooooeeddd so freaking loud and I realized my headphones had fallen out of my ears, so I put them back in and continued to sleep until 7:00. I took a bucket shower (love those…really) and asked the wonderful Kayla to braid my hair. Each morning our rad leaders have had us have a devotional time, and this morning I took a beautiful walk with Jenna, Kayla, and Erin. We sat and prayed. We sat and just looked out at the people and land. It was possibly one of the most peaceful moments. It was getting close to the time when we would be picked up to go to our first care point, to love on some absolutely beautiful children. So we headed back. The bus came and we loaded up ourselves, our water bottles (s/o to JoJo), and our lunches. Tommy (our bus driver) took us down one rocky, dusty road, which led to another rocky, dusty road, which led to another, and another…. And, maybe, another. Until we reached our first care point. Tommy opened the door for us and we all jumped out, children from nowhere started running toward us jumping in our arms and tugging on our skirts. We would tell them ‘hello’ in Siswati, which is “Saubona” and they would say hello back… it was love at first sight. The little fella who ran up and jumped in my arms had stains of snot underneath his nose, some of his fingernails were definitely non-existent, his clothes were torn in multiple places, but his eyes caught me way off guard – I saw a level of thought, wisdom, and deepness I did not expect. We ran around, I tipped him over and tickled him, I kissed his sweaty forehead, and his sweet, precious hands, and every-time I sat him down he wanted to be held again and again. Setting him down for even a minute was so not acceptable. He wanted to be held. In fact, they all did. I know for a fact all of our arms will be tired tomorrow from all of the holding. And I love it. But everyone wants to be held, right? Everyone wants to know they are worth being held, everyone wants to know that even if they have wounds, they are worth being kissed and loved, over and over. And when those big, brown eyes looked up at me, and those little arms stretched out begging to be picked up and held, I couldn’t not hold him. Or any of them who asked. How deserving of love they are. [Around lunch time we left that care point and headed for another.] Back to the rocky, dusty road, and another, and another, and maybe, another. We rolled down the streets with cows roaming down them, and kids coming to the care point from school, we waved out of the window yelling: “shop shop!” Which means: woohoo, happy, or, basically, good. Then you touch their thumb to yours and kind of do a thumb handshake. Its really great. We got to our second care point, and it was almost a repeat of the first… The kids running up, tugging on us, wanting to be held. The girl who came up to me, shattered my heart into a million pieces. I picked her up and imminently started kissing her forehead. Her forehead was covered in a black fungus type thing. I’m still unsure of what it is called. But I was told it was a fungus type thing. She didn’t really have hair, her nails were scrunched up, red from blood, and one had a huge purple bubble inside, some nails where gone. Her clothes were also ripped, and she had something going on with her skin. But oh, oh, sweet Jesus she was the most beautiful child ever. I stood in line with her to get lunch, rice with some carrots and meat. We sat down and as she sat in my lap eating I sat there looking at her, her and all the other children, there had to be more than 100. So many children. And I looked at my team, holding so many babies – laughing, tickling, holding. And I looked at the woman serving the kids from a huge pot, and I looked at Zenidaya sitting in my lap and I leaned my head against hers and I felt tears coming out of my eyes. I didn’t want them to, but they did. And they just kept coming. Its not like I don’t know that kids live like this every day and its normal to them, and lots of worse things can happen, I know those things. I’ve seen these things before. But every time it shocks me. This girl has some black fungus all over her head, a little boy has a huge stomach from worms, they are all drinking unclean water, and another little boy shouldn’t even have a shirt on because the hole is so big in it, and I’m over in America with perfectly clean water to do everything in, I have a working toilet, a doctor, a way to wash my hands, food, and then we hear people in America complain. What is there to complain about? You’ve got it all at your fingertips, and you’re going to complain because your electricity went out and you can’t see your TV show? Or your hot water isn’t working? These babies haven’t showered in who knows how long, and their showers aren’t even hot. After lunch we sat against a wall in the shade and every time the wind blew my hair she would brush it out of my face and the stroke my hair and face. She wouldn’t stop doing that. Every time. She would brush my hair back then just stroke my face and stare into my eyes. I saw so much wonder there. So much wonder. I started crying again. Not much, just a couple tears here and there. She just kept staring at me and would wipe them away, like it was her job to wipe my tears. What an angel. Shes perfect in every way. She got up from my lap to run and play and be a kid, and I talked to some teenagers, gave some piggyback rides, kissed some more foreheads, and spun in circles till I got dizzy, and she’d come back to me and I’d hold her, and she’d give me a hug and just stay there, holding onto the hug. We just sat for I don’t know how long, and stayed in our hug. More tears on my end, more kisses for her forehead to keep. And every time she would feel my tears she would look at me, move my hair back, I’d tickle her and she’d laugh – the most contagious laugh. And my tears would be accompanied by a smile from a deep joy that I haven’t known for quite some time. She’d leave and spread her laugh to others. And I would go off doing other things. But then she’d come running back, again and again and again. And we would both hold onto that hug. More kisses. More tears. More deep joy. More deep love. And, well, even more kisses on that precious forehead. She’d hold both of my hands. She’d brush my hair back. And she’d sing, a song I didn’t know. She would sing softly. I don’t know what she was saying. But it was beautiful. Before we left all the kids sang to us. Songs in their language, and sang The Lords Prayer in English. I recorded it. A beautiful sound. A beautiful, incredible sound. Beautiful defined. Then we went outside and stayed in our hug again. I told her: “nee•an•goon•tan•da•” which means: I love you. I repeated it over and over, afraid that she wouldn’t hear it again soon. I wanted to tell her it enough times for each day of her life. But I didn’t have that long. Each time I’d tell her, she’d just stare at me with her dark, brown eyes and long black eyelashes. Filled with this mystery and depth. Oh, how I love this girl. And how I want her to know how worth loving she is. It came time to leave and I couldn’t let go. She was staying in our hug and holding so tight. She kissed my cheek and I kissed hers. I kissed her forehead again and again. And tried not to cry, if it was big or small, I didn’t want to. Not there. And I had to let go of that tiny, fragile, lovely hand and wave goodbye. I don’t even know how I felt. I still don’t know how I feel. If I knew I’d write it here. This is just about my day. Not my feelings. I am still processing my feelings. It will probably take awhile because this day is making me process majorly. It isn’t exactly easy. And this is only our first day. So, that was today. I went on a walk and sat with Jesus for awhile trying to think. It was/is needed. Thinking, that is. I just finished making rice with some of these amazing girls, and it was delicious. And then had to write this because thats how I get things out sometimes. I just have to write. Also God wouldn’t stop putting it on my heart. It’s only the first day and I have so many emotions. I’ll be honest, I’m scared. I’m deeply scared. I’m excited. I’m poured into by Jesus’ love so I want to pour out that love on these precious little ones. They’re so gentle. So deserving of tight hugs and laughter and dancing and many songs. I’m happy… No, I’m joyful. I’m so joyful. But afraid. But ready at the same time. Ready for whatever comes. But then, I’m definitely not ready. I’m secure, but then so insecure. I’m so full, but so broken. Its confusing. Its a paradox of weird things and emotions. And its only the first day. We need love sent this way, prayer sent this way, and holy, sweet, beautiful God, we need Jesus in this place. So, join us in praying? Jesus is needed. You are quite an incredible human. Thank you for reading this part of my heart. With a bunch of love, Isabella Day ??

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