He stands 3 feet tall, with big brown eyes, a goofy grin and full head of curly black hair…waiting in expectation for me to chase him around the room. His delighted giggle erupts into the air as I lunge toward him and he bounces away, laughing with glee as he attempts to evade my reach.
She stands shyly in the corner, wearing her pink zip-up hoodie as she gazes around the room. She catches my glance and gives me a tiny smile as I walk toward her. She looks up at me as I say hello, and something deep inside of her eyes tells me she really needs to be hugged and loved on today.
We’ve seen more children on their own this month then ever before.
Each child, no matter where they come from, longs for attention and yearns to be loved. The heart of El Shaddai is to provide a safe, loving, caring home for each of them. The Lord is at work, but it takes time. The Swazi staff at El Shaddai are being taught how to love, as well. They’ve each grown up in a culture where kids are not cared for and are often considered a nuisance. In Swazi culture, the children are not loved or cared for in the way Americans think is natural.
When Charmain took in her first baby and began talking to the little one, she was ridiculed.
“You don’t talk to babies,” she was told.
There is a major difference between the children living here at El Shaddai and those elsewhere in Swaziland. Children are meant to play and laugh. Each of them has a distinct personality and voice. Each of them receives love in a different way. They NEED love. Yet in a normal Swazi household, a child could be left in the same spot for hours and not move an inch. They are looked upon as burdens and cared for nonchalantly, almost as an afterthought.
The children of this country are the next generation. The Lord cares for them. He hears their cry. My prayer is that each of these precious little ones will know how much Jesus loves them, and even in the midst of painful family situations, that they will grow up as a redeemed generation and teach their own children how to love.