Lasts and Reflections
I am all about recognizing the lasts. Even the smallest lasts like the last time I will take a shower in this shower, the last time I will make a bottle for Baby S, the last time I will put on my green flip flops and walk out the front door kind of lasts. So this blog post will cover many of my lasts and will also be a place of reflection and a breakdown of numbers from this trip. More than likely it will be the last post I make in South Africa as well. My flight leaves at 6:55pm on April 29th and I will arrive home at 10:30am in Chicago on April 30 after a short 3-hour layover in Germany.
The Glen- One Last Time
On Monday Cassie and I both had off. We decided to walk to The Glen one more time and got a ride back with Brady. We had lunch at a small café in the bookstore and then got our last groceries and checked out a few stores for the last time. We also had to stop at Mugg and Bean and get one more Caribbean Mocha together. The manager stopped by to say hi and that he had missed us. It has been almost a month and a half since I had been there! We also were able to say goodbye to him and the rest of the wait staff. It has been great to have The Glen so close by that we only need a ride back with groceries and can walk there. We continue to praise the Lord that we have been safe every time we have walked there and the few times that we have walked back. We are reminded often on dangerous the greater Joburg area is and with this knowledge, being aware of our surroundings and offering up prayers as we walk, we have been kept safe!
Toddler A gets her Forever Family
This Monday Toddler A left us for her forever family. She was one of the first babies in big babies to capture my heart. She is small in size but huge in personality and lets everyone know that she is boss. She would climb on the other kids and just yell when she wanted a toy from someone. She was a stinker but so darn cute! Her determination reminded me so much of Andrea and I always believed that they would have been great buddies if they ever met. She will be missed around here but we are so glad that she is with her forever family now getting all the love and attention that she deserves.
Big Baby Z becomes Toddler Z
One of the big babies moved to toddlers this past Monday after Toddler A was adopted. We had an extra bed and she is one year old so downstairs she went. She is not enjoying herself down there at all. She cries for a good part of the day. She didn’t realize how good she had it in big babies!
Tiny Baby L
One of our new little babies is very sick. He has been taken to another home to be better cared for and will come back to Door of Hope when he gets better. We continue to keep him in our prayers. We know that God is able to heal him and pray that his will continues to be done in little L’s life.
This past Wednesday we went to Mimmos with Jason and Lisa. Katy, Cassie and I joined Jason and Lisa and Nicole and two of her friends also came. Nicole used to work for Door of Hope and now she is at another baby house as the manager. It was great to see everyone again. I have loved meeting these people and I will really miss them! I am also going to miss going and getting Panzookie with them at Mimmos!
I had my last shift on Sunday in small babies. It was a good day and it was hard to believe that it was my last time working with the babies. After finishing in small babies I went to spend some time the toddlers. I just love those kids and have to get my last snuggles in with them.
6 months…175 days…252,000 minutes…15,120,000 seconds… how long I was gone
100 days of working for 12 hours
1,200 diapers changed
2,400 bottles made
3,000 meals of baby cereal or baby food served
44 babies that forever changed my life
10 girls from all over the world that shared this experience with me
15 aunties that have loved and supported us
7 individuals that for this season all South Africa their home and journeyed with us
5 moved to other homes
1 reunited with family
It was expected that this trip would change me. I believe that it has but I can’t see and understand all the change that has happened so far. Some of it might not show up in my life until many years down the road. There has been one thing that I have noticed already though. Before I left I had a big passion and heart for the orphans of the world. Much of this I believe came from my upbringing and circumstances at home. I have two brothers because of the orphan. I love them more than words can say and am so proud of the young men that they are becoming. It is no secret that my mom loves and the orphans of the world. I have new passion for them though because of this trip. There are over 163 million orphans in the world today. 44 of them have faces and names and stories now. 44 of them hold a piece of my heart. 44 of them have forever changed my life and may never know it. 44 of them will be lifted up in prayer daily. I am changed because this number holds so much more meaning to me now.
What I have Learned
- 6 months is a really long time no matter what anyone says
- skype is one of the single best inventions of the last century
- babies will not break
- internet sticks are worth every penny
- I will learn how to drive a stick shift when I get home
- I have the BEST family and friends ever
- Life happens in Africa, I was invited to a wedding and attended a funeral while here
- I am not done traveling, just done traveling alone for a long period of time
- God will ALWAYS be there no matter what
- I can’t wait to continue to process this trip and the impact that it had on me and what I have learned along the way.
I love you and will miss you more than you will ever know kiddos! Thank you for allowing me into your lives and loving me in every way that you know how. There are not words to say how much you have impacted me. Know that you are prayed for daily. I love you K, L, S, H, J, N, X, L, T, S, L, S, C, Z, T, T, A, P, A, N, O, A, L, T, M, A, J, D, D, J, D, L, Z, B, M, A, L, L, M, M, L, L, and M!
I cannot thank you all enough at home for the prayers and support and encouragement through this experience. It would not have been possible without you. I would like to extend and invitation to all of you to come and see pictures of the kids (finally!) and hear more about my time here in South Africa on Saturday, May 11 from 5pm-6pm in the Rosendahl family backyard or house depending on the weather. Otherwise I will be carrying pictures of the kids when I get home if I happen to run into you somewhere!
Love from South Africa one last time!