By far, my favorite part about this trip was loving on the kiddos. This should not come as a surprise to those who know me.
These are seriously the most precious babies (0-18) that I've ever met.
There was this little lady who hung out at the clothing tent, just hoping for a hug.
There was this GORGEOUS big sister who was taking incredible care of her two younger siblings. And her little brother who was very shy, but absolutely enamored with a little toy car a volunteer gave to him.
How about these siblings who played soccer with us for hours? Not pictured: their 13ish year old brother who DESTROYED me. I was not made to be a goalie.
This precious girl sat with us for almost an hour, shyly correcting my butchered attempts at her name. (I still don't think I have it right.) She then proceeded to surprise us with her incredible hula hoop skills!
This shy little one has an incredible silly streak, and it wasn't long before she came out of her shell and was dancing with my teammate, Charity.
My favorite job at Sykaminias was working the buses. This basically just entails helping people load their belongings and get situated on a very crowded 55 passenger bus, then communicating how many seats are left with the other volunteers.
The BEST thing about it was getting the kiddos find their seats and then getting to wave goodbye and pray for them as they left.
Check out these three. They were full of so much joy and the giggling was contagious. That peace sign speaks for itself. In the midst of war and turmoil, God is making a way out. I can't wait to see what He has up his sleeves for these little ones.
Papa and I had some pretty intense words each time a bus pulled out. On my not great days, I did a lot of begging for safety and hospitality and not a ton of listening. Regardless, each time as they drove away, I heard him whisper: "I know what I'm doing."
Just like Moses from the Nile, Baba God is drawing them out. He parted the sea for the Israelites and now He is ripping it in half to get to his babies.
I heard it time and time again on this trip: with these conditions, no child should make it across. The water is too cold, the waves too high, the cost too steep, the people too frenzied. Boat after boat, every child that makes it across the sea is a miracle.
But here's the thing. No ocean, no war, no financial barrier, no political pressure, no legislation- NOTHING will keep our good Father from his children. Nothing. He is working miracles on their behalf and I got to witness them every day.
Instead of baskets in the bullrushes, perhaps He is using rubber dinghies and 55 passenger vans.
I wish that I could make you understand how much our Baba God loves these kids. He gave me one little taste and my heart just about exploded. You can ask my teammates- I had to go sit down and cry.
Guys, He is moving heaven and earth to reach them. He will stop at nothing to introduce himself. He knows their names and every precious little hair on their heads and He is making a way so that they will grow up knowing his name too.
Please understand me when I say that God absolutely is not causing the crisis in Syria and the Middle East. We live in a broken world ruled by broken people. When we are outside of the will of Christ we make awful, terrible messes and do horrific things to one another.
What I am saying is this: what people have intended for evil, God is using as a beautiful opportunity.
He is placing Christian volunteers in their paths who know Jesus' heart for them and can introduce them. He's providing them homes in nations where the name of Jesus can be spoken freely. Like a highschool boy with a crush, Jesus is going to find a way to make himself known.
I'm so stoked for heaven. I cannot wait to see how God has been at work in these kiddos' lives. How He has restored and healed the scars of war and loss. I can't wait to see the joy on my little friends' faces as they explain how God used their lives for his glory.
Dang. It's gonna be good.