Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dressing 250+ Boys for the Event of the Century!

The morning of the wedding we were up bright and early.  The wedding was to take place at 10am and we had about 250+ boys to dress.  I don't know about you, but I need at least 2 hours to get ready for church with just myself and all the little ones!  

Oh!  I forgot to mention that one of the women on team, Kelly, had raised about $2,000 to buy shoes for all the boys {They would have been far too heavy to ship!}   

The day before the wedding about 6 of us had gone with my son George into the market to buy as many shoes as we could find.  It was the craziest time and a story in itself.  Anyway, back to the morning of the wedding.    

Moving 19 ladies and 28 or so suitcases is no easy task, so I had asked my son, George, if we could take a van of ladies and a van of suitcases…then return for the rest of the team and another van full of suitcases.  

As we prepared to go, each of the team was bubbling with anticipation and no surprise - tears were never far!  The choking back of powerful emotions - we had the unbelievable privilege of coming to honor the forgotten treasures of Uganda - the ones who daily have been {literally} kicked to the side!

Emmy and I were in the second load of ladies and the first bunch had already started to get the area ready.  As we got to the slums there were crowds of street boys anxiously waiting - on roofs of the shacks that line the 'road', in the streets and even running beside the car!

The team was as organized as could be…showers had been already given {so we were told by the uncles in the ministry to these boys}.   The daunting task of matching outfits with boys remained...

To say it was bedlam, would be an understatement!  In fact as I am typing this, I am still giggling to myself.  Boys were everywhere and when I say 'everywhere' - I mean EVERYWHERE!  Big boys, little boys, bigger boys - it was wild!

Speaking for myself, I wanted so badly for each boy to hear the letter from the person who wrote it for them.  I tried to read each letter to each one {since many have never been to school and cannot read} - and I always ended up in tears - trying desperately to express to them your deep love for them.  They beamed with delight!  Most understood that the clothes had been sent by someone who loved them oh-so-very-much!  Most tucked their letter/picture in their pocket.  Those who seemed overwhelmed, I tried to tuck theirs in their pocket for them!

Hours passed while we hastily matched shoes, shirts, ties, underwear and shorts.

The crowd got larger and more pushy!

The word had spread and boys and girls and adults and toddlers came from everywhere!

We had run out of big boy clothes.  

I reminded the Lord of the loaves and fish several times! 

There were several of us who were beginning to feel almost frantic.

We did not want to disappoint anyone.  

Really, sweet friends, it was an awful feeling, it truly broke our hearts!

All of a sudden I felt I should look in one particular red suitcase.

I did, but found that there was only sizes 6-7 in there.  

I was surprised.  

I thought I had heard Him clearly.

Then as I went to shut the lid, and when I did, I felt like He said, "Open it again!"  I did.  I was totally expecting the size 6-7's to have size 14-16 written on them instead.  Truly I was! 

I admit, I was disappointed when I found the same size 6-7s in it!

BUT as I shut the lid the second time, I noticed a thick lid.  {Ya' know the zipper suitcases that have a zipper lid too that can be about an inch and a half thick?}  I promise I had not seen any thickness to that lid prior to the second time - it was crazy!!  

So I quickly unzipped it and there were about a dozen MORE  large size shirts.  There were plenty of ties left over, so we were able to outfit a shirt and tie on quite a few more big boys. 

As we began to run out of big boy things, the crowd began to get rowdier.

And the chaos was growing more apparent. 

Panic at being left out was clearly seen.

It made us feel so horrible!!

George {our son} had had to stop the crowd several times from turning into a mob.  

Later when the team talked about it, not one of us had felt unsafe at any point!  That was totally the Lord.  But we did begin to feel like it was growing out of control. 

All of a sudden, George grabbed my hand and said, "Okay, Mama, we need to go to the van."  He was growing more than concerned.  I told the ladies, "To the van - now!"

And we piled in immediately.

Imagine though that you have nothing - just the clothes you are wearing and those are tattered and dirty!!  Imagine the desperation that would set in as you see the others - your friends from the streets and many of them are now sporting handsome party clothes.   

I can only imagine the thoughts that were going through their heads.

As for me:

The emotions are still fresh.  

Being unable to meet all the needs.

Trying desperately to.

The sense of panic on the faces.

The fear in the eyes.

The desperation.

Some got new.  Others didn't get at all.  

We tried as best we could, so very grateful to each of you who made it possible.

It was joyous for 250+ but so very painful for others!

I have had to pray and realize that we can't focus on the ones who didn't.

We have to remember the 250+ who did!

They were giggling and handsome and overjoyed and thankful and delighted and squirming from excitement - totally unable to stand still.  

They were going to a wedding feast!!

Something absolutely and completely unheard of for any street boy whose home is the streets of the slums….

Getting ready....the shoes were first fitted in this room....
That's Misty on the left and Char on the right....
and peeking through them is Lisa.
{Three beautiful ladies, with beautiful servant hearts.}

Treasures who live in the slums

The boys waiting for us to start...

The ladies setting up...

Just about to get started!

This is our son George, showing this little man one of YOU!

That's George right in the center....
he helped dress the boys, as did our other son Junior

 I love this picture of Bekah - completely reflecting the love of Christ as she shows this treasure a picture from one of YOU!! 
Look at his smile!!  
He is loved!!  
And his smile says it all!!

Look at his sweet smile.
Can you believe that he has no mom or dad?
That the streets is his bed?
And yet he smiles.

This little guy saluted me when I asked 
if I could take his picture.  
Made me chuckle.  
What a treasure {and so stinkin' proud of his new duds}!

 This is Lynne...working hard!

 Stacy tenderly loving on the boys....

A crowd gathered to watch...

Someone had brought several cans of Axe spray....
and each of the boys got a dousing...

Absolutely dashing.

When we bought all the pairs of used shoes at the market....
these were my favorite, since purple is my favorite color....
I just happened to see the boy with them...
and couldn't resist the picture....
aren't they the coolest looking sneakers?

A make-shift dressing room....

Waiting their turn.  
Do you see the concern on their faces?
{The tears are coming as I label the pictures to post.
Oh, the need is so great.
Can you go and minister too or can you possibly help someone else go?}

Totally studly.

I had to take the picture of this young man's clothes.
That's all he had.
Until your generosity.
Is your heart breaking like mine?

Lynne was such a help.  
Her tender heart was felt by the orphan.
I am so thankful she was part of the trip.
Kaylee's love for the orphan was so evident the entire trip.
One of the meekest young woman I have ever met.  
And God was moving on her heart big time....
and she is praying about something huge....
pray for her if you think of it!

 This is Kim.
Such a pleasure to have on the trip.
Almost my age. 
And God broke her heart.
And she will never, ever be the same again.

All because of your kindness.
Thank you sweet bloggy friends from around the world -
 for being part of it all.
Emma and I are so humbled that we were able to lead a team together to love on the orphan in such a powerful way.
We couldn't have done this wedding feast without all of you and without our team.  
I took way more pictures at the wedding feast....
so if you don't see your clothes...
hang on...
more pictures to come.  
But for now, stop and pray for the precious treasures.
Pray that God would move in their hearts and that they would meet Jesus in a real way and that they would have hope - remembering that someone very far away loves them
so very, very, very much!

50 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. I knew all about it, bit yet still crying and crying. It makes me realize how great Heaven will be! May I come in rags and clothed by Christ for that wedding feast.

  2. Tears are flowing from my eyes!!! Thank you to all the ladies who went and loved on these sweet kids. Thank you for being Jesus' hands and feet to them. Thank you for tenderly loving each one and reminding them about how much they are loved. I can't wait to go with you Linny!!! Love you lots and thank you for being an example of God's true love for us!!

  3. Wow this is the most beautiful story with photos! I Love it, brought a smile to me....

  4. My throat hurts from crying.

    Regarding the boys who missed out... let me encourage you with this...

    My agency called me 3 times with newborns for placement. I had just been given my daughter who has Spina Bifida so taking newborns, (or anymore children at that time), was out of the question.

    By the third child I had to turn down, I lost it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would turn down children. I asked my agency to not call me anymore. We want more kids, but in a few years. (our daughter with SB is our first child.. not only are we adjusting to being new parents, but we also need to see where her SB takes her before we adopt our second). :)

    The pain was real. and hard. I then remembered the Story of the Starfish. If you are not familiar, google it. It became my mantra in regards to the orphan.

    It will apply greatly to this post. I have a starfish ring that I wear everyday as a reminder to me of the orphan, and to symbolize all my babies, (past, present and future).

  5. I'm overwhelmed with emotion - Really, there seem to be no words. Thank you Linny.

  6. Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos and memories. I'll be sharing this with my kids later. Those boys must have felt like the most special children in the world that day. I often wonder what to do with the insane amounts of clothing my children outgrow. I have bags downstairs that are in such good condition. I wish I knew of a place that could use them like these boys needed them.

  7. bawling… never in my wildest dreams. ohmyword. such a feast it will be!! love the photos of families, the letters, the new clothes, the SHOES!! oh, what an awesome party. thanks so much for sharing {everything} so generously!

  8. I dont know if its the pregnancy hormones or not but I am bawling my eyes out through this post. What you all gave those boys, even if just for a day, was priceless, for them to know that someone cared, someone gave them something nice and cared for them, i cant even imagine how that must have made them feel. you truly were His hands and feet and helped the least of these...i hope that what you all did, gave those boys even a glimmer of hope! My heart LONGS to be there but I know right now God has called me to be here and grow this little one in my tummy and take care of my other little one but I pray and hope and truly feel one day I will get to go there and I would LOVE to love on these street precious in His eyes!

  9. Linny,

    I am speechless and so unbelievably blessed. Praying, praying so many things... Thank you for sharing.


  10. Speechless... Praying!! Hugs and love

  11. Linny, Thank you for sharing these pictures and giving us the opportunity to love on these boys! Thank you for sharing your heart! God has used you and your blog to break my heart for what breaks His. I believe He has laid it on my heart to join you on your next trip, so now I'm praying for Him to work out the finances for that to happen! I know He will provide! Praying for these boys, you and your family!
    Jan, MD

  12. Cannot find any words through all the tears. Simply speechless. Thank you, Linny and team.

  13. Well done Linnie. Thank you for listening to God and allowing us to be a part of this.

  14. Wow!
    Thank you for all the work you put into this.
    Just incredible... I don't have the words to express how seeing this makes me feel.

  15. Crying with such a mixed emotion of sadness and joy. Thankful for the willingness of all who went to serve. I am sure that so many young boys, young men, little ones were touched by the love and generosity of all that were involved. No better way to minister to them of Christ love then the way that you did.
    Thanks to your whole team and to you Linny for the snowball you got started. THANKS! With much love.

  16. I am so glad you are sharing all of this with us...such beauty, sadness, and joy all mixed together. Tears fall for the pain these children have suffered...smiles for the love they experienced through you and your group. Amazing. Will pray for all of them today.

  17. To God be the glory! What beautiful boys and beautiful ladies to have served in this way! Thank you for sharing with us! Tears are flowing and prayers are being said for these very special boys!

  18. I am so glad I got to be a part of this. Thank you so much for letting me join y'all that day. Love each one of you and each one of these boys. Seriously, my heart filled with love and memories from this day. :)

  19. BROKEN...that is so amazing. I want to help in anyway else that is offered. I would love to send things for the trip in June.

  20. wow! just look at all those beautiful faces! handsome boys, all of them! what a gift for them.

  21. Just sat here reading this with my nine yr old boy Ethan. And we wept, together. Our hearts just broke when we saw their precious little worried faces wondering if they were going to get some clothes. We wept as we saw the joy on their faces with their new clothes. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    Lots of love,

  22. Thank you Linny, Emma and all the ladies who went to be our hands and feet but moreso the hands and feet of Jesus. As I said before, my love and heart went with you eventhough I could not physically be there. The pictures are heart rending but also lovely as these guys realize they are loved. I love you dear Linny. Keep on keeping on and I will too.

  23. Thanks so much Linny for posting the picture of the boy who got one of our letters. I was surprised to see our picture and letter with that sweet face. Tears, tears, tears. It will mean so much for my little ones to see these pictures. They can see his face as we pray for him. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Thank you for being HIS hands and feet last week.

  24. I cannot go myself, but I would be honored and humbled to contribute to someone else being able to go on the next trip. Please let us know how we can do that. And God bless you in letting us know about these beautiful children and their need.

  25. I am without awe of the works the Lord is doing through you and your family...all because you have chosen to obey...God bless you always...

  26. I am in tears. What a wonderful moment for these boys. God is shining in their faces. You and your team are awesome for all that you did for those boys. My heart hurts for them, for the things they don't have. I can't wait to see more. I look every day with anticipation to see if you or your daughter have posted on your blogs yet. You have become a part of my day. God Bless you for all that you do.

  27. Tears are flowing down my face as I read. Thank you thank you thank you for reflecting Christ to these sweet boys. I do love love you and your heart.

  28. oh my..I so wish I could have been on that trip. I am longing to go!! that boy..with the purple runners..... His skin I just want to bring him a big ol tub of lotion and slather it on. When are you taking a team again?

  29. Truly the most touching and amazing pictures ever. Praying for these treasures.

  30. I keep looking at the photos over and over again. What an amazing thing to be a part of. It's so wonderful, but such a small thing in the grand scheme of the need. Its encouraging though to see what can be done when hearts work together. Is the June trip full?

  31. What great pictures! I hope I can go on the next mission trip with you!

  32. Oh Linny what an amazing experience! I cannot wait to see the rest of the pictures and read all the stories.

  33. Beautiful . . . beautiful boys, beautiful picture of God's love, beautiful hearts that went to serve. I am touched beyond words.

  34. Overwhelming just to read...I cant even imagine experiencing it first hand. God bless you and your team for the work you did.

    Brooke Annessa

  35. I think this might possibly be one of your best blog posts ever!!! Your pictures filled in the gaps in ways your words alone couldn't describe. So, so powerful. Thank you for being faithful to document it for all of us who traveled with you in our hearts and prayers!

  36. Awesome, awesome, awesome!! Thank you for going and thank you for allowing us the privilege of being a part of this great mission to love on these treasures.

  37. I was waiting for this post! Oh, I love all the pictures. Such handsome boys. Such beautiful love. How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news!

  38. So Linny, can we send clothes not just when you go there? Can we sponsor a child like I do with Compassion? Is there a program that will help?

  39. What a profound entry-thank you for sharing! Please let us know how we can help when the next team goes.

  40. Loved seeing the boys look so dashing with shirts and ties :)

    I especially liked the one with the red torn and ragged shirt being given the chance for new clothes, that is awesome :) :)

    I feel the hurt of those left out, that was my only concern when I sent the clothes or gifts, that there will always be those who are left out, and the hurt can be devastating to them, they might feel like being rejected, forgotten, abandoned. Those hearts are near to mine and I will pray for them that our Lord will shepherd them and give them a chance to know Him and His love for them.

  41. So amazing - tears making their way down my cheeks. What a picture of redemption and grace.

  42. Please Lord send me. . . . . I would love to go,

  43. Ok My students are about to hear me start sobbing.

  44. Overwhelmed! God bless your team! God bless these children!


  45. "Here am I, Lord, send me!" YES, Linny, I want to go! I actually am going in June, but I already want to go again, and I haven't even gotten there yet! I already feel so helpless, and I haven't even met them face-to-face yet. I wasn't even able to read the last part of your post for the tears blurring my vision.

    I want to second Kristi O.'s question: is there a way we can help even when you or your teams aren't there?

  46. I popped in this morning to see if there were pictures and ended up going off to work bawling my eyes out. So much happiness over just one outfit...we have too much...

    I sent little girl dresses...will there be pictures of those?

  47. Your photos and words are beyond powerful. The worried faces and the joyful faces, they all tell such a story. Thank you to you and your team and everyone who helped serve the least of these. This really was an amazing event.

    What if 1,000 people did this every year? In every suitcase they could fit outfits for 15 children. Multiply that by 2 suitcases and that is 30 outfits carried over per person. 30 times 1,000 would be 30,000 outfits. I am believing this is possible. If they couldn't go, they could sponsor a bag at $200 (for the extra bag fees) and the contents could go with another traveler. Oh, and all the photos and for them to know they are loved. I know I am dreaming, but we do serve a big God.

  48. Oh how I wish I would have known of your blog before you went on your trip. I would love to have sent clothes with you. God is working in my heart big time about the orphans around the world. I lead a youth group with my husband and I think that if God allows we will need to take them on a missions trip next year. Not sure where, I just feel like maybe that's something we need to do.

  49. Crying as I read ... what an incredible need there is ... I'm praying about a trip to help the street children in the Philippines ... I didn't know about the need in Uganda until I started reading your blog ... there are children everywhere in great need of love - true love that only comes from our Savior. Thank you for going and for blogging so that we can pray and see God's incredible love at work. I wish we could reach ALL the children.

  50. Hi Linny,

    I haven't blogged much in the past months but today I finally made time to find this particular post! This is my first time reading it and seeing all of the pictures. Thank you so much for taking the time to make such a nice post so that we could all share in it. I've shared this with my kids and I pray that they will have a heart for these children, too.


It's always good to hear from bloggy friends. Bless you.