Amazing Grace & Dennis

Amazing Grace & Dennis

Guest Post | Personal Reflection

This is a guest post by Gina Jacklin. Gina serves as our Administrator and Sponsorship Coordinator. Recently she was in Kenya and Tanzania visiting two of newest partner projects, and witnessed first-hand the impact the Hope Story funded projects impact the lives of the children in those communities.

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Over the past few days I've gone from feeling absolute joy to sadness (often simultaneously), from feeling energized to weary to inspired, from sharing reflective moments to belly busting laughs. Most of all, there has been such a strong, constant presence of God's love among us all, toward the men, women and children we visited during our home and school visits throughout the Mbooni region. 

Thanks to the incredibly generous support of some wonderful Canadian donors, we have been able to deliver basketballs and pens to each of the schools where Creation of Hope orphaned children currently attend. Due to the fundraising efforts of Eric and Anita Walters, the co-founders of Creation of Hope (whom we have been privileged to share this journey with), we were also able to bring gifts on our visits to the homesteads of caregivers of some of the children. Most of these caregivers are elderly grandmothers who selflessly give so much of their physical, emotional and material resources to care for these little ones. We were able to gift them blankets, a mattress, flour, salt, flour, oil and pots, basic necessities that they truly treasure in the midst of their poor economic circumstances, so they are better able to provide for their family. 

The highlight thus far has been having the great pleasure of meeting Dennis, our sponsor child and Beth, Dennis's grandmother. In the morning, we arrived at Beth's homestead to be greeted by Beth and two other little ones who are Dennis's cousins. Beth was so grateful for the gifts and was quick to give us a large bag filled with ripe, delicious mangos as a token of her gratitude. I was deeply touched by her tender, loving and kind gaze. I've got so much love and respect for Beth for giving herself so wholeheartedly to her grandchildren to the point of being able to nurse the youngest one... if that is not love I don't know what is. 
 

Once we came back to Ruth's homestead later in the evening (where we are currently staying and where the orphanage is located) we were treated to some of the most wonderful 20 minutes of my life! Let me set the stage: 25-30 young little ones between the ages of 5-10 singing us songs, giggling and being incredibly well behaved and polite...truly such a joyful sight! It was then that Ruth introduced Ryan and I to Dennis, our sponsor child. To give you some context, since he entered the program, it has been extremely hard to catch a glimpse of his beautiful smile as he, like many others have had a very rough start to life. Tonight though, my heart just wanted to jump out of my chest to give him a great big hug but I resisted (barely) as I feared It would scare him or make him uncomfortable. The children seemed to giggle over my big smile as I got all excited about seeing him so laughter ensued all through the room and poor little Dennis probably felt so embarrassed but cracked a bit of a grin after all! By the end, his smile got a little bigger and we so look forward to spending some more time with him before we leave! 

After this introduction, each child also introduced themselves to us, as well as the caregivers who help to look after the children every day. Getting to meet and speak with such kind-hearted souls who have a heart for caring for the vulnerable, gave me such joy and assurance that these little ones though lacking in biological parents, are being tenderly cared for by many local brothers and sisters in the faith. They will never know how much their presence will impact these lives... the presence of loving parents in a young person's life is so crucial but these caregivers have stepped up to help raise them. How reassuring it is for folks like me who sponsor a child and who hope that these children are being given the love, care and support they need to thrive physically, spiritually and mentally. Their path to restoration was made apparent as they were joyfully singing, swaying and laughing. Grace, a sweet 9-10 yr old girl offered to send us off with a prayer, not only praying for us but praying for every one of the children there! This girl is so special that I decided to title this post after her alongside our precious Dennis. 

To learn more about the program visit What We Do 
or to sponsor a child visit Sponsor a Child.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 

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