Saturday was one of the toughest days our family has ever experienced. My wife Karen and our children Kyle and Kelsey arrived in Nairobi from Sierra Leone after having gone to make application to adopt a precious little orphan by the name of Brian. The week in Sierra Leone had been a challenge, but was seemingly successful and the adoption process is moving steadily ahead with hopefully about 6 months to go. They arrived at the Nairobi airport to be reunited with me and Beckett our grandson, who I had traveled ahead with (I know I am a brave grandpa), and to continue our work in Kenya and Tanzania.
However, after arrival in Nairobi they were turned away at the airport due to unfounded Ebola concerns. They were then locked in a small room for 16 hours. It was a very frustrating, confusing, and challenging day as we fought to keep them there. We fought to have them sent back home to Texas instead of back to Sierra Leone as the authorities desired. And we fought to allow them to take Beckett with them which at first was denied. Sadly this strange story did not have a happy ending. They were deported later that night, although they were allowed to take Beckett with them and they were allowed to return home. This was a crushing defeat for our family and emotionally and physically very exhausting (they were traveling or detained for 70 straight hours).
As I was dejectedly leaving the airport after the 15 hour ordeal I heard a strange noise. Tollowing a disorientated moment, I realized my phone was playing a song from my iTunes list. I want to preface this story by explaining that although I am a person of faith I also am a very pragmatic person by nature and I often scoff (to myself) at people's so called "miracle" moments. But as I walked in the rain through the Nairobi airport parking lot, inexplicably, without even removing it from my pocket my phone began to play a song and as I strained to hear the word I soon recognized it as a song called "Orphans of God" by Avalon. I did not even know the song was on my iTunes, it must have been left over from a presentation we did 7-8 years ago. I have never even one time played that song on my phone. But in my moment of discouragement I heard these words:
So often abandoned by life's circumstances Come you unwanted and find affection If grace exists, then grace was made for lives like this There are no strangers, there are no outcasts, there are no orphans of God
- Orphans of God, by Avalon
I was powerfully reminded in that moment that doing good can sometimes be challenging and difficult. I was powerfully reminded in that moment that rescuing the hurting, the hopeless, the orphaned, and the outcast can at times be painful, but IT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT. For the little Brians of Sierra Leone as well as for the children of East Africa, India, and Nicaragua where we work, we cannot allow discouragement to defeat us. God was faithful in my very dark moment to wonderfully and perhaps miraculously remind me of why we do what we do and why we can never quit. If you are discouraged today, in some good work you are engaged in, I hope my story will lift your spirits. Don't quit!
Sandy Baird - New Hope Initiative Director