Keeping up with this blog was very difficult as we traveled since time and internet was very limited. Now that we are home, I hope to be able to fill in more of the details although it is difficult to know even where to begin. I may be posting for months. My heart will never grow weary of sharing with you as long as you do not grow weary of hearing.
Each day during our trip was a little different but a general schedule for our time in Yei, South Sudan went like this:
6:00 wake up
6:30 join the children for morning worship - which was like getting up to hear the angels singing
8:00 Our devotion time together
During the day Denver would do two to three chapel services depending on the day of the week. I would spend time with the house mom's and cleaners making quilts (all of which I'll tell about in future posts).
In between Denver (and sometimes me) would work on building dressers.
4:00 was play time with the children
7:00 the girls would go to their dorms and the boys to theirs. During this time Denver would go to the boys dorms and tell stories and I would go to the girls and read stories to them. Just a slight difference in our personalities but all the children looked forward to this time as much as we did. Sometimes at the end of the day, we would be feeling tired and talk about maybe not going that evening but the kids would see us and they would all come running, grab our hands, and chant "stories, stories, stories". How could we refuse them. This soon, however, became one of our favorite parts of the day no matter how tired we would be, we knew this would bring new life to us both.
Really Denver should be including his part here about the boys but I'll do my best to fill in with what he shared. The boys had many rooms but about 25 or so of the boys would gather in one room; Oliver and Michael at his side. They would pull up a matt for Denver to sit on and they would all gather around, sitting for an hour or more as he would share stories with them. One little six year old boy named Emmanuel, would watch so intently that he would not move for the entire time. In fact, all of the boys sat quietly and hung onto every word. There were times that Denver came back from telling stories that he wasn't sure he would ever be able to leave Yei. These boys captured his heart. They are so full of love.
The girls had two rooms so I had decided to read the books twice so that I could go into each room. I quickly learned however that the girls were going to both rooms and so that they couldl isten twice. They loved it this way, but I eventually decided I could read more if I just went to one room and they all gathered there. The school at the orphanage has a wonderful library that was donated by the lady who is on the 700 club. I wish I could fill her name in here but I do not recall what it is. What a wonderful and generous donation this was. I was excited to see what they had and find something fun and exciting to read to the girls. I started trying to read the first book from The Left Behind series. It is amazing how difficult it can be to read a book to children in South Sudan. First there are many things that books have that they just don't understand. Like in this book it talks about trailer parks and Chicago O'Hara. Denver tried to read the Chronicles of Narnia to the boys one night but ran into the same challenges with attics, etc. Second, is the fact that they think differently than Americans. Chronicles of Narnia talks of the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Witchdoctors are a real thing in South Sudan and so quickly he could tell this was not a good choice. The Left Behind book talked of the black children being even less than the trailer park kids - yikes....did I just read that out load. Many other pieces to the books that you would have to be sitting in orphanage, with precious loving faces looking up at you to realizes how American books just don't work here. Imagine a book about a child being unhappy about not getting everything they wont (by American standards) to a child who is delighted just to have your love and they ask for and need nothing else, but that is another blog. A very important blog. Really the true story of it all.
After realizing the Left Behind book was not the best choice I decided to read some books from the christian section that had bible stories. The girls loved these stories and if Jesus happen to be on the cover of the book, there would be twice as many girls listening and they were twice as quiet. They love to hear about Jesus. Although, the girls loved these stories, I must admit that at times I did not. I was amazed how much they had deviated from the truth of the bible just to try to make the story more fun for children. I spent just as much time explaining on these books as on the Left Behind because I knew that if these children heard these stories they would take them as truth and many of them were not. So if you know of a good set of children's books that have true and accurate bible stories I would really like to know about them so that I can take them with to read to children in the future - accurate stories is very important to me. If no one knows of any then I would urge any of my author friends or family to please consider writing some good accurate children stories.
I do not have a picture to include from story time but I am including a couple pictures here of some of these precious children because I am anxious to begin to share them with you. What a joy they are.