It has been such a joy for me coming back to the City of Hope! When we arrived at COH (City of Hope) I couldn't stop smiling seeing all the familiar faces, but many of the kid's were new to me as well. I have noticed, though, that two of those new faces were ones I actually knew well, but were not a part of this incredible family last year.
The first little boy I saw most every day last winter as he was a student in the preschool class I was taking W. to, but lived in one of the local villages. He was a rough little boy then, who was always a dirty torn mess in class. He didn't seem to have many friends, and fought a lot with the other kids. My heart really went out to him as I imagined his home life had to be pretty hard, and lacking the love and care a little heart needs. I was so over joyed to see that he is now one of the kids here at COH. I can see such a huge change in him. He has his little friends he hangs out with, and when I look into his eyes I see a little boy who has a home and family were he feels loved and accepted. He has hope!
Last year I went on a hike with my roommate and we were followed by some children from the village. The kids were hanging on us and begging for money which was about the only thing they could communicate in English. One of the girls I don't think I will ever forget. She was climbing all over Julie and I, kissing us and demanding we give her what we had. It was so evident this little girl was no stranger to sexual abuse. It had even become a normal way for her to get what she wanted. It broke my heart to see this. Now, though, she is a part of this safe family were she is loved for who she is, not what she does. She still has the same out going spirit and big smile but its different. There is a light in her eyes now that wasn't there before.
These little stories speak to my heart and whisper that God is truly at work in this place changing one little life at a time. His promise that he will be a Father to the fatherless is true and visible here in the lives of these two children.