Merry Christmas Boys

I awoke this morning with a picture of these 4 boys in my head. 
Paul (green shirt) is an orphan who lives with his aunt. His father has never been around and his mother left him alone several years ago. The villagers say she went mad. I agree, cause he is the cutest creature to walk the face of the earth. 
Nathan (blue shirt) is the son of the local pastor and caretaker at the CarePoint. They live right next to the CarePoint, and their family was attacked in 2003 by the Lord’s Resistance Army as they ravaged this area surrounding Ogoloi. Nathan is one of the few kids fortunate enough to still have 2 living parents. 
Geoffrey (brown shirt) is an orphan who was at the CarePoint at our first visit but was not able to be in the program due to low sponsorship levels. Both his parents are gone and he sleeps in the small mud hut that Paul (in the green shirt) also shares with his Aunt. 
Paul (striped shirt) is an orphan who lives just a short walk from the CarePoint. He is HIV + and suffers from some mild skin disorders as a result of his sickness. He is sponsored by my eldest son, Caeden, who sells lemonade each year to afford the $34 a month. 
These four boys adopted me a little more than 2 years ago when I first visited Ogoloi. They took me in as one of their own and led me around the village by the hand for 2 days. They took me to their homes, showed me where they sleep, and taught me their language. I never forget their faces, or the feeling of their hands in mine. When I returned to the village 6 months later they were there, waiting for me with expectant eyes…not expecting anything from me. Just expecting. Me. And every time I have returned since, they have been first in line, waiting, patiently. 
You can watch video and hear the story of these 4 guys at an old post 
A Christmas Gift
This Christmas morning my family awoke to find no gifts under the tree. In fact, there was no tree. Instead of opening gifts and receiving stuff from each other, we have chosen once again to forgo the American version of Christmas and embrace the version that our Servant King demonstrated for us when he CAME TO US. To rescue us. From ourselves. 
We are thrilled as a family this year to say that our Christmas gift (from and to each other) is the more than $30,000 that we and our friends were able to raise through the Change their Story campaign, and the fact that we have just 7 more kids needing sponsorship at each of the two CarePoints (Ogoloi and Bukedea). These funds go straight to the CarePoints that care for these incredible little boys and the 400 other orphaned children who live in the small villages of Ogoloi and Bukedea. Learn more 
And in 2 weeks, I will once again see these incredible little guys as I (and a team of 10) travel back to the region to celebrate and simply BE TOGETHER. (Meet the Team). I can’t wait to tell them of Jesus’ faithfulness to provide for them this Christmas season and through these fund raisers. My heart pounds in my chest when I imagine telling them that someone, somewhere, cares enough to provide for them in this way. 

So, this Christmas, although I can’t say that I got all that I wished for, I woke with a deep excitement and joy as this picture flooded my thoughts. I am overwhelmed by what God has done in my life in the last few years, what he is continuing to do in and through our family, and by the story of the King who came down from his throne to rescue (and ultimately, one day, live with) his children.

And I wait. Expectantly. For Him.

Merry Christmas Paul, Nathan, Geoffrey, and Paul. 

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