Immediately Paul and I bonded. During my short time there I got to be a part of his daily routine. I got to feed him breakfast, give him baths, and rock him to sleep for nap time. Nap time was extra special for me as his precious hands would just wrap around me and hang on so tightly. It was as if he was soaking up as much "mommy-like" love he could get. All of the kids did this. Yes, they have wonderful care takers that show them lots of love and affection, but like I said, there are a lot of kiddos. I had a moment where I was holding Paul with his sweet fingers caressing my back and realized this is why I was there, to hold and love on these babies. To share that love and affection that my mom and dad showered me with growing up and still do to this day (what a luxury).
"Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created." Esther 4:14I'll be honest, sometimes I've wondered what my purpose really is when I've volunteered at orphanages or in other environments where i'm "serving" others. I've thought, "do they really need me here?" "I'm the lucky one, I'm getting to hold babies and play with sweet kiddos all day!" The realization is that they really do need the volunteers to come to help their home feel more like a home all year round. I knew there was purpose for me being there. The story continues, as that realization still wasn't my "Hallelujah Moment"... One day I went into the nursery at the orphanage on my lunch break and saw the wonderful caretakers trying their best to get all the toddlers and babies ready for nap, someone else was already caring for Paul, so I snuck into one of the rooms where I heard a baby crying. I walked in to find three little girls rambunctiously running around (as toddlers do), they were going wild, and there was an infant laying in a crib crying. I felt overwhelmed as I'm sure many of you mamas feel often. Because all of the other caretakers had their hands more than full at that moment, I shut the door, picked up the baby, thinking I'm probably in over my head, but the baby quickly started to change it's cry to a whimper. I held him close and started swaying back and forth singing the first song that came to my mind, it was a different version of "Jesus Loves Me" that I hadn't sung for a long time, but it just started to come out...
"Jesus loves me this I know... Hallelujah, Hallelu. Hallelujah, Hallelu..."
Quickly, the room was quiet. The baby's eyes had shut and he faded away into a good solid sleep and clung tightly to my back. The three rowdy girls had found their places sitting on the edge of their bed looking up at me. It was honestly one of the most powerful and precious moments of my life thus far.
I laid the baby back in his bed & then I tucked the girls into their beds. It went from chaos to peace within minutes, and I knew this was a moment of purpose for me and my life, I could see the need for the volunteers in such a different way then I ever had before. I had a new compassion and heart for these kids. I could also see what God was doing in me and with me. The top picture was from another day that I had walked into the nursery on my lunch break to help out. The sweet little girls had pulled me to their bedside saying, "auntie, auntie. Hallelu, hallelu!" I started singing again, & took turns sitting on each of their beds scratching their backs and giving them that affection I am so fortunate to be familiar with because of the loved ones that have always loved on me. The moment that got me was one of them reached up, combed my hair away from my face, and left her hand there for a moment, and looked at me as if she was soaking up this moment for herself. Tears welled up in my eyes, and that right there was one (of several) of my most memorable "Hallelujah Moments".
My life has been changed forever by this trip to the Philippines, and there are so many more stories to share! I'm extremely excited to say that I'm going back in just a few weeks, THIS October, and I'm bringing my mom! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for this upcoming trip! I encourage you all to think of some of your greatest "Hallelujah Moments". No matter what that moment looks like to you, it will surely put a smile on your face.
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