Thursday, June 27, 2013


Hope- (n.) the feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best. 
                  the expectation of a better, more desirable future.

Hope finds itself manifested into every outlet of our comfortable lives back at home.  We hope for a puppy or pony as a child.  We hope the girl or boy across the classroom checks the yes box on our "do you like me too?" note in grade school.  We hope for a car and to get into the university of our choice, and for those of us who aren't yet married, we hope for a wife or husband sometime in the near future.  Hope drives every faucet of our lives, our problem is just making sure to remind ourselves that Christ is the chief cornerstone for our hope. 

Now erase all of that from your mind, as if you'd never had the opportunity to hope for anything.  Take all of it from your childhood memories.  The hope for a new bike for your birthday, gone.  The hope your parents hear you calling out to them as you sit scared in your bed, awaiting the monster invasion looming from the closet, gone. 

In our time in Zimbabwe, we've been blessed to work with kids from a few different orphanages.  As we should have been able to guess, the one we originally felt the most unsettled with and at the same time the least excited about, was the one God would come to rewire our hearts with a burning passion for.

EW Children's Home, complete with broken windows, clothes hung on barbed
wire to dry, and children thirsting for just an ounce of love, and a little bit of hope

The cold, crisp mornings of the Zimbabwean winter have seen us to a number of different adventures.  Arriving at EW Orphanage for our second visit last week, we were met with a short list of things to do and an abundance of time to do them, despite the apparent need for so much to be done at the orphan complex.  After knocking off all garden maintenance from the checklist in a matter of minutes, and hours remaining until the children returned from school, we made the best of our time and took it upon ourselves to begin picking up the trash covering every inch of walkable ground at the orphanage. 
As the slow, tedious hours passed of picking up used feminine products, shoe soles and milk bottles, God began to speak.  And by speak, I mean the Lion of Judah began full force roaring into the ears of all 12 of us at once.  Now, there's no such thing as hopeless, because by the very definition of the word it states there is absolutely no source of hope, which we as believers know to be a false statement in every situation, regardless of location.  There is, however, such a thing as being so depraved of hope that there seems to be no escape from the darkest depths this world has to offer, especially for those who don't yet know our Redeemer. 

As our backs toiled to keep us on our feet after hours of picking, God revealed the need for His presence in this place.  As we looked around, finding used condoms, mattresses hidden behind sheds, broken windows in nearly every bedroom, and less than 10 toilets for 65 children, of which only half functioned, God began revealing the harsh reality of the life of orphans.  No longer were the children living there all happy faces, lollipops and gumdrops, but were now emotionally drained, lonely, needy creations reaching for attention with no one to give them the time of day to say "I love you."

For most of us, we can say with confidence that when our parents lay there heads down at night, their minds wander to their children, hoping we're safe in a third world country and not getting eaten by lions.  For these children, they lay their heads down at night knowing there's no one to think of them, no one to scoop them up when they fall and skin their knee, and no one to invest every bit of who they are into them so that they are suited with a better life.  Yes, these children have house mothers who watch over them, but one person for every 15 children is hardly devoted attention.  Having broken windows that allow for the invasion of cold air during sleepless nights just inches from where you rest your head, and no one to do anything about it is hardly having someone concerned for every bit of your well being.  Even those of us who like to think we're not, who haven't always gotten everything we've wanted, are still 100% completely spoiled.

God has laid this place on our hearts, He has given us instructions with what to do here, and the means through which to do it.  Our hearts are heavy, and breaking for this place and these children, but we have a Healer who not only mends us when we shake at the agony of others, but compels us to do something about it by giving us His own strength.  We ask that you pray for the children in this place, that they realize they have hope, they're loved and that Christ is brought to life in this place.  Romans 8:24-25 says, "For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."  Our ultimate hope is not of this world, it can't be explained by the things of this world, and often times we become confused as humans as to where we should imbed our hope.  Pray that these children can understand Christ as their chief cornerstone for hope, and that nothing else will suffice.