Today I stood on a porch overlooking Abaana’s Hope. The early morning chill was in the air and though I was a world away from the Thanksgiving preparations at home, for a confused moment it felt like fall, my favorite time of year. It felt as if I was by the fireplace with a cup of coffee while the turkey baked away. For a moment I had an overwhelming feeling of thanksgiving inside me and before I knew it I said out loud, “my heart is full”. Several people were around me and they stared at me as though I had lost my mind. Sunday looked at me and laughed as he asked, “Why is your heart full?” Patrick peered at me over his glasses waiting for the answer regarding such a random proclamation. I don’t know why it hit me all at once but I swallowed the lump in my throat and was happy to explain.
I told them to look around and listen. Three little girls that had just given me the most wonderful hugs were playing dodge ball just a few feet away. They were squealing and laughing like little girls are supposed to. Their mother who was nearby has now saved enough money to buy her own piece of land. The jewelry ladies behind me were laughing hysterically at something I dare not ask a room full of ladies. One lady expecting a baby at any time is on the swing with the most beautiful glow and smile. My daughter just accepted Christ as her Savior a few days ago. A security guard just told me he wants to be born again because he does not want to be a “fake”. Ten children and one worker are collecting supplies to attend a Bible camp in town. The list just went on and on.
You see, not long ago, the girls were hungry, barely clothed and not well. The mother was in a very desperate situation. The jewelry ladies had numerous quarrels that caused dissensions. The lady on the swing had a horrible miscarriage this time last year. My daughter was lost and I was struggling with it. The guard threw up a wall at the mention of Christ. The campers were only interested in destroying the playground. Just this month, all at once it seemed, problems came from every direction. With all staffers back in America and even our Pastor out of commission from a motorcycle accident, I got on my knees and called time out. God smiled, told me to get up, and said go handle it one thing at a time. Then one thing at a time, God turned a mess into a blessing before my eyes. Tough conversations became hugs and prayers. Anger became laughter. Deception became honesty. All the rubbish satan had strewn around was recycled and restored better than it original state.
So today, I stood on the porch with a full heart and without a calendar in sight, I knew it was Thanksgiving. Just as the obstacles came all at once, so did the feeling of overwhelming peace. The phrase, “My heart is full” came out before I even knew what was happening. As we stood on that porch, we boasted in our God. We gave thanks and it was good. God has blessed Abaana’s Hope and He has blessed my family. I can say with all sincerity, My Heart Has Never Been More Full! I never knew I could love people as much as I do the Acholi people at Abaana’s Hope. I am forever thankful for each one of them. We are also very thankful for each of you that support us. It overwhelms and amazes me that all of you are the ones making this possible. This Thanksgiving we are grateful for each one of you. Your rewards are laid up in heaven and trust me they are many. Happy Thanksgiving!