Two weeks ago I was back home in Pointe-Noire and at the start of our field service outreach. Today I’m sitting in my cabin trying to find the words to paint a picture for you about what happened the 14 days in between. We worked in at an orphanage building bunk beds, installing a gutter system to collect rain water and we painted murals in the rooms. I could easily take pride in what our team accomplished but when I think back on all of it, the tangible finished products seem like nothing, what I really think our team did was stand in the gap for children who don’t yet have a voice: We prayed.
The first of many prayer walks
When you think of working in an orphanage you assume certain things, firstly that you’ll be around children most the time. Not so true for our outreach. We worked at the new site and never got to meet the children who were still living at the old site. Though disappointed we put smiles on our faces and started our respective projects (guys-beds and gutters, gals-murals). A few days in, the wind was knocked from our sails after the Madame of the orphanage visited. She gave us no “thank you” or “looks good” she only gave us “its not bad but its not very good” and fix this, do that, paint over there now, etc. I can be the first to admit I like to hear the praise of job well done so to be told our hard work wasn’t good enough for her I was frustrated and apathetic.
Installing the gutters
We are a pretty jovial and light hearted group that talks and laughs a lot but while at lunch it was like I could see a cloud settling over us and stealing our joy. As a group we prayed for our attitudes and hearts, we prayed for Madame and we grabbed hold of the truth that we were not sweating and working for the applause of Madame but to reveal God’s love to the children by meeting their needs (beds and fresh water) and bringing beauty into their daily lives (murals).
One of our “hidden” verses
I noticed a switch in our team after that day, we were committed to the projects still but there was a greater focus on how we can have a silent impact on the children. There were prayer walks each morning in the bedrooms and bathrooms and dining rooms, we buried verses on the property, we prayed against rape and abuse, we prayed over each bed and wrote verses on them, we prayed for the children, we prayed for the Madame and we claimed the property for God and his good plan. And when we left the worksite for the last time I knew the 14 of us had made a difference in the lives of the children who will grow up there.
“The paint will fade.
The beds will splinter and rot,
the gutters will eventually fail,
but the prayers of the righteous stand forever.”