Making A Difference

touching lives..one person at a time

From the Heart

Africa 2006 Memoirs

The experience was unimaginable!  There are no words that can convey what we experienced.  I’m uncertain on how to even start processing this total sensory overload.  (overload in a good way)

 

We got home late Wednesday night and even though we had over 40 hours of travel time to get home, it was impossible to even begin processing.  I would start thinking about one scene; (phrasing it as a scene, because it still seems all surreal)  and would very easily get distracted by other candid memories.   One of the things I prayed for the most before the trip was not to become totally overwhelmed with what I perceived to be unfair or unjust, especially with the children.  I didn’t want to have any sort of spiritual warfare going on within me.  I wanted to experience this the way God intended me to.  Before I left I had heard a few responses “Why are you going to a dying country where you aren’t going to make any difference?”  Ohhhhhhhh, if they only knew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

I woke up early the morning after we got back and opted to stay home to process all that had just happened, realizing that it could take years.  I didn’t even know where to start.  I asked God to lead the way.  I had to take my son to swimming practice and became aware while watching him learn to swim that his perception of this world was not tainted by comparison or prejudice and that he sees everything as a fresh and a new adventure.  I truly believe that this is how God wants me to look at this experience.  In feeling his guidance and remembering the many blessings that came my way in Africa one word that came to mind several times on this project, which is coincidentally my most favorite word in the whole wide world is “Grace”.  

Two of the times that I was privileged enough to say this amazing word while on this project were when I met two beautiful children named “Grace”. One being a teenage girl and the other being a 3 month old baby boy.  Grace (the teenager) was a beautiful young lady who appeared to be very shy but lit up the room when she entered.  She had waited two days in line and came in to have her eyes tested for reading. Many Africans have retinal damage because of the effects sun damage, so poor vision was common. She was severely nearsighted and we were able to get her to see at 20/40 – 20/50. But the thing I remember most about Grace is when I fitted her for frames before we had the lenses in.  I knew she couldn’t see me very well but as she looked into my eyes and I saw my reflection in hers I saw HIS “Amazing Grace. I felt for a split second that I was looking into the eyes of Jesus.  This next paragraph sets and example of harsh reality. 

The second Grace I met was the 3 month only baby boy and coincidentally it was the first baby I was introduced to in the orphanage on our last day in Lilongwe. This orphanage came into existence because of a loving aunt.  In Malawi it is the belief that a child doesn’t have a soul until the age of 5 and because of that, if their parents die and there is no extended family to take care of the children that the children will be buried with their mother in a grave.  This desperate  aunt saved her young nephew from the grave (literally dug up from the grave) and started this orphanage.  Baby Boy Grace was not this nephew, unfortunately his mother died shortly after birth and that is how he ended up there.  There we 29 babies in this orphanage and because of loving grandmothers in Lilongwe they spend their extra time with these precious little ones.  Unfortunately non-Malawians cannot adopt children within Malawi because of a law set back in 1960’s by a former president of Malawi (pre the AIDS era) and it has never been amended.   But knowing that their was an aunt willing to go against all odds, these beautiful babies are safe.  Baby Boy Grace is incredible:  beautiful features, the biggest toothless smile you have ever seen and of course it is the boys that always have the longest eyelashes.  It gave me an overwhelming peace to see the understanding in this babies eyes and the content manner he had just laying in my arms and knowing where his content came from.  Before our time ended with these babies all of the people on our team (men and women) ended up with two babies, one in each arm and we individually prayed each of our babies.  We all left in tears, but these babies wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for a caring Aunt.

In our 3 ½ days of clinic (Medical, Dental and Optical) I’m guessing that we saw at between 800-1000 people and each individual was a story in itself.  We all prided ourselves in not herding them through. It was all about the quality, not the quantity.  It was however upsetting to see the hundreds of people left after we closed the clinic on the last day.  However Pastor Frank and the leader that he was in the process of training for Missions projects, who we now call Chief Tatsy, did a fantastic job in debriefing us on a daily basis.  This team consisted of 2/3rd’s first timers and it is easy for us to get into “Save the World” mentality and to get disappointed when we didn’t.  Their wisdom and guidance was very much appreciated and they put things into an understandable perspective.  We all left sad, but totally fulfilled.  I have never been so blessed and words just cannot do justice.  There are so many more things that I have to process and would love to share them with you.  All of your prayers were definitely felt and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! 

Forever Blessed, 

Kellie Curtis

___________________________________________________

Africa 2006 Letter 2

As I felt prompted this morning to stop my weekend housecleaning and try to sit down at the laptop and put some more perspective on this trip.  I started typing with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but none of those thought were complete.  They were genuine thoughts and I knew that their stories would come out in time but I know God was trying to direct my thoughts elsewhere.  As I sit there and stared at the computer for awhile and sat in silent prayer the “Great Commission” came to mind.  Now you are probably saying….well that is usually the verse that comes to mind when one has done a trip such as this one…..but as I opened my Bible and read this verse….I hung on to each individual word as if it were the last words I were ever to read.  I expected to just open it and read the verse just as I do with all of the others and analyze it and try to find the deeper meaning and thank God for His word.   But this was amazing,  each word spoke a deeper meaning and truth within my heart.  These words came Alive and I now have (in a poetic justice sort of manner) a security in knowing that in His “Total Authority” in Heaven and on Earth that he is the one who is in TOTAL control! A God of  healing, one who provides, one who forgives, and is a God of peace.   As I look back and see His gentle guidance and sometimes persistent nudges, I truly realize that I AM His child, He does walk with me, He does embrace me, He does Father me and he does Love me!  Knowing this and knowing that He feels the exact same way about His children half way around this world gives me a sense of happiness and relief that He reigns over all!!!

It seemed as though EVERY single moment in Africa was a “God Moment”  (even sleeping),  That remarkable feeling of “Making A Difference” was so incredible!

I personally felt the passion that God has planted deep within my heart and although I left part of my heart in that little village of Dubai, He has promised to abundantly fill it with His promises…..promises of peace, healing, forgiveness and unconditional love….That is only a feeling that can be carried into eternity. 

I don’t know if the people in Africa will ever know the impression that they made on me or how much they taught me by being an example, but one thing is for sure that through these beautiful faces I now pray with more faith!!! 

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