34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Last week I learned that there is an orphanage within walking distance of ABIDE. This is a babies’ home, unlike the children’s homes Juna Amagara has. I went to talk to the manager, Rosette, to see if our ABIDE students could come serve there in anyway.
As I talked to Rosette, I learned that they have 68 children, most of whom are babies, but about 20 or so who are old enough to go to school (beginning with preschool). Additionally, Devine Mercy Babies Home has 18 staff members, from gatekeeper to manager, and everything in between.
Before leaving, we decided the girls would come on Saturday morning to help wash clothes, then play with the children.
So on Saturday we walked to the home, and were welcomed. We immediately got to work washing clothes…keep in mind, these babies do NOT wear disposable diapers. So, the work was unpleasant to say the least, but the girls got involved without hesitation, ready to demonstrate God’s love.
I know laundry can be an overwhelming chore, and one that seems endless. Now, just think about 68 young children, babies even. Their daily laundry is done by two staff members. By hand. Including make-shift cloth diapers.
There were 16 of us (staff and students), and we were busy with our hands in basins of soapy water for about an hour…and they had already been washing quite a bit before we arrived. I can’t even imagine their daily workload. Talk about feeling overwhelmed, and seeming endless!
After washing, we filled our arms with babies.
While we were busy working, we had seen some small children outside playing, but then we discovered rooms full of little ones.
I spent the remainder of our time in a room of 24 babies who are not yet walking…or at least not confidently for the few who try. Six women sleep in that room with the walls lined with bunk-bed-style cribs.
I picked little Joshua up from his bed, and he readily came to me. At one point I wanted to take pictures of my students, so I passed Joshua on to someone else. He immediately began crying, I rushed to snap the photo, then scooped him back into my arms. At once he stopped crying, feeling settled in my lap as I wiped away the tears on his chubby cheeks.
Michael, the ABIDE Director, saw a little one in a lower bed, who had wet the bed. He picked up this sweet little girl, and learned her name is Rose.
Rose was found in a pit latrine (outhouse).
Rose is believed to be 1 1/2 years old, but the staff doesn’t know for sure.
Rose looks like she is only a few months old.
Rose has basically no strength.
Rose cannot sit up, or even hold up her own head.
Rose has sores on her back because she spends so much time lying in bed.
Rose is beautiful.
Rose is known by her Creator.
Rose is precious in His sight.
I held her, talked to her, prayed for her, and gave her a little love for too-few minutes.
I tickled her feet and tried to give her tiny legs some exercise.
The only time I saw her face react to anything was when Michael came back into the room and she heard his voice. Maybe I could even say she smiled.
While I was busy loving Rose, most of the girls discovered the infant room. They tell me 11 more babies, as young as one week old, stay in that room. Maybe I will visit again and see those tiny ones after checking on Rose and Joshua.
Surely those 18 staff members do not have an easy job. But we pray God blesses their efforts to love the least of these.
We went home with heavy hearts. Some girls had tears on their faces before we left. The ABIDE house was somewhat quiet the rest of the weekend as people were processing the experience.
I am proud of my girls…some of them went back on Monday (our Sabbath) to share a little more love.
I know it won’t be their last visit.