Preparing to celebrate
The first cohort of children should come on Saturday. We had originally planned on bringing them on Monday, April 25. We'll still have a community-wide celebration that day, but we believed it would be beneficial to have thorough clinical review of each child before the designated pediatrician (Dr. Lauren Raimer-Goodman) leaves. Further, we really don't want to make these children wait any longer than they have to. The absolute earliest these kids could arrive is Saturday, as we're working very hard this week on finishing the last touches at the farm – purchasing food for 3 months (grains, beans, etc.), connecting the power (God willing!), flushing the plumbing systems to make sure water flow works properly (thanks EWB!!), building soccer goals and playground equipment, cleaning everything and arranging all the furniture. There are a few meetings with different grant agencies and potential partners we want to have on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, so Lauren will have the weekend to see and arrange treatment for the kids at our center.
I really could not speak well-enough about our staff. They have trained hard and worked hard to make this next historic week possible. They have spent almost every day this month on the streets with the children, developing knowledge and trust between themselves and the children. Staff have selected the first cohort of 30 – ranging in age from 6 to 15 years. I know a few of these children, and have seen their industriousness in the face of their life circumstances. To see the way staff love these children, and know the future of this program rests with such able and caring hands satisfies me deeply.
Words cannot express the hopeful expectation and joyfulness I experience knowing these potential-filled children will have a chance to live lives worthy of their Creator. That is our most earnest prayer – that the lives God intends for these children can be their own lives. We know God desires good things for these kids – including receiving an education, knowing they are loved and valuable, maximizing their God-given potential, establishing loving families and finding meaningful work when they are older. We also know God's heart breaks as these children numb their pain with glue, dulling the effects of hunger, rejection and hopelessness. We cannot know what the future holds, but we can know who holds the future. We have only come this far because God has been incredibly faithful towards us, loving to all of God's children, patient with our doubts and incapacities, and constantly delighted by God's good creation.
As we proceed, of course there will be challenges that we can't see now. There will be hardships and assaults from all angles. We are trying to prepare against these, but there's only so much you can do when you haven't seen the future. The future, however, resides perfectly in God's able hands. The One who brought us this far will be faithful to see our lives, this program and those it inspires to completion. We are preparing ourselves to celebrate – not yet, for we won't bring children until Saturday, and won't have the community-wide launching until Monday. Yet, even as we prepare for work, we should prepare ourselves for celebration. Please continue to pray for and support our work. Thank you for coming on the journey with us.