On Sunday our team went to a local orphanage in Dire Dawa. Unfortunately, due to safety reasons I can not post any pictures on the internet.
The orphanage has children from the age of 6-19. Many of them have been abandoned by their parents for various reasons. A few live their because their parents are deceased; having been persecuted for their Christian beliefs.
The orphanage provides them with the stability that so many of them need. They also provide them with a warm bed, food, clothing, education and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
This is one of the smaller orphanages in Dire Dawa and it was not what I expected. This was not the typical orphanage that many people think of; that I thought of. When I think of an orphanage I think of many children packed into a *dark and dingy* large room with one *mother* to too many children. Children eagerily vying for your attention, anyones attention for that matter.
This orphanage was not like that. It was more like a large family. The children there were actually a bit apprehensive when we arrived. Not knowing what we were there for. Unsure of our intentions.
They were happy. They were settled. This was their home.
After taking a tour of the orphanage we were able to partake in their church service.
The church service was held in a large empty room. Upon entering we had to remove our shoes. We sat on mats throughout the room. Their service was very similar to ours. They started out with several songs of worship. At one point we all stood up and sang Father Abraham. This was great fun. The children loved this. Their faces lit up as we all danced to the song. Some of us not knowing all the moves and looking silly.
Before moving into the verse that we studied, we were able to tell them what brought us there and how the LORD has worked in our heart. I shared with them how truly blessed I felt to be there with them and how this had always been a dream and now that I am here immersed in their culture it was more than I dreamt and thanked them for having me.
And from there we read several passages from the bible. We studied Matthew 5 and discussed conflict resolution. Many of the children chimed in on how to resolve conflict. It was very impressive some of the ideas that they shared. They were very open minded. More open minded than I would say some of the American children I know. They *get* forgiveness. They know the LORD wants them to be humble rather than righteous. They know that is is ok to swallow your pride. To love those that have even done you wrong.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12