By Jenny White
Mickey and Jackie are preparing to return to Agape Village in October and I am wishing I could go.
I come across the photos of my past trip on my phone all the time, and I usually pause for a moment to take in a few images, smile and remember, and then the busy-ness of current day-to-day operations interrupts me and I move on. But Agape Village is never far from my thoughts.
My mother says my smiles looked more carefree than usual, in the photos that I posted from Zambia, and that I looked a lot less stressed. I did feel less burdened in Zambia. Not just because I wasn’t taking care of my family every day, but also because I just felt closer to God while I was there.
For a long time, I’ve imagine God has a safety rope, coming down from Heaven for me to grasp onto. I imagine I need to touch it to keep God at the center of all I do, all day long. Some days, I grasp tightly, usually when I’m scared or stresssed out. I will cry out to God to help me.
Other days, I get distracted and forget the rope is there. Maybe things are going really well, and I think, “I’ve got this.”
I let go of the rope.
Or sometimes when nothing is going well at all, my fear and anxiety will poke holes in my faith and I turn away from God. Somehow I listen more to the voices that tell me I’m unworthy, than to the voice of God in my head.
I let go of the rope.
When I was in Zambia, it was like the rope disappeared completely and I felt enveloped by God. God was the breeze, the blue skies, the children, the singing, the air. He was everywhere.
He was closer.
You can just feel Him in every texture, molecule, fiber and voice.
God’s presence seems more simple in Agape Village. You observe, you pray, you love, you listen, you see Him all around you.
Sure, the distractions of real-life weren’t there. Wi-Fi was iffy. There’s a disconnect with the outside world. I didn’t have (my) needy children pulling on me. But it’s more than that.
There are complications in Agape Village. Two women running an orphanage with 65 children is not done without stress. Keeping the water and electricity working with no real infrastructure or repair companies to call is a daily chore. BUILDING A SCHOOL IN THE AFRICAN BUSH. These are all tasks that take herculean efforts to accomplish.
But, in Agape Village, EVERYTHING is about this: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
It’s a simple concept that typically gets complicated by our own egos, fears and doubts.
But in Agape, it’s crystal clear and just easier to do. I felt closer to God. I felt such a sense of thankfulness. A more intense sense of awe in what He is and means to this world.
That’s what I miss most about Agape Village.
One thing many people ask me about Agape Village is, “Who adopts the children?”
We call it Agape Village Orphanage, but really it’s a home for children. The children come from many different circumstances and situations. Some have family or guardians that just can’t afford to feed them. Some have family that can’t afford to send them to school. Some of the children have no guardians and have been completely on their own. Others have been taken care of by elderly guardians that can’t do it anymore.
Nyawa recently sent me some photos of a “Visiting Day” held at the orphanage. Relatives or guardians of the children at Agape got a chance to come visit the children and tour the new school.
Nyawa said it was a very happy day at the orphanage.
Sylvester and his father.
Visiting Day at Agape Village.
I pray that God offers peace and comfort to all the visitors at Agape Village. Peace, to know that the children they came to visit are thriving and comfort in knowing we are all a family; brothers and sisters.
Please pray for Jackie and Mickey as they make plans for their upcoming trip in October. After going with them, I now realize all the pre-planning it must take for all of that to go as smoothly as it did. Pray for the teachers for the new school and for a new volunteer, Sarah, who is going with Jackie and Mickey to help train the teachers.
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.
— Genesis 21:19