As I look back on my recent trip to Sierra Leone I must go back to my first trip in 2009. It was on that trip that I first encountered a young girl with the saddest eyes I had ever seen. We had split up into groups to share the gospel with the children and this young girl was in my group. Like the other children in the group she spoke little English so I needed an interpreter to communicate with her. That night as I lay in my bed reflecting on the day I could not get her out of my mind. So I asked God to show me how to reach out to her. The next time I saw her, I taught her how to say I love you in American Sign Language. From that time on whenever I saw her I would sign “I love you” and each time the hint of a smile would appear on her face. After returning home I emailed Pastor Rogers and shared my experience with him. He wrote back and told me her story which explained the sadness I saw. Over the course of the year I corresponded with “my girl” through Pastor Rogers. Then when I returned in 2010 for the dedication of the Karen Baird Children’s Home I was excited to find a different little girl. The sad eyes I saw the previous year now reflected joy. Flash forward to January 2013 when I returned to Sierra Leone for the first time in three years. How she has grown! My heart filled with such joy when Pastor Rogers told me he has given her the name “Wisdom” because she works hard in school and is very smart. Sometimes I wonder why I have remained single with no children of my own but then I think of my kids in Sierra Leone and I realize that God had other plans for me. He saw a woman with no children and two kids needing a mum and brought them together. He is amazing!
God is doing wonderful things through the Sierra Leone project. It was exciting to see the addition of a second building and with that the increased number of children whose lives are being changed. The children are healthy and happy. They know they are loved by people they may never meet and they are very thankful for them. Children who once had no hope for the future now think about where God will take them.
My life has changed tremendously since that first trip in 2009. I thank God for taking me out of my comfort zone and blessing me in ways I could never imagine.
Written by Lorraine Wood