They told us before we went that we would fall in love with the children. They were right.
Shortly after I returned from Malawi this year, I was to give a presentation to a group of retired teachers. I decided to end the presentation with my favorite “kid pictures.” So out of over 2500 pictures, I chose 20. They were meant to move the hearts of the retired teachers. They’ve ended up moving my heart every time I look at them.
Looking at the pictures I remember the children at the Hard of Hearing School, with looks of absolute joy on their faces at the chance to learn. At a well site, I remember the joyful smiles on the faces of children who would soon be drinking clean water. I remember the boy I met at the orphan feeding program, and the children having fun washing dishes at another well site. I remember the little girl I met at the market; I remember the child praying; I remember the penetrating eyes of the boy at the celebration.
When I look at the pictures, I don’t want any of them to go hungry, or to get sick because they have to drink contaminated water. I want each of them to have the basics of life, to have health care, a chance to go to school, and books to read. I want each of them to know how much they are loved. And when I look at those pictures, it reminds me that I, too, am a child of God, and that God looks at me just like I look at those children — with overwhelming love and tenderness.
When I look at the pictures — the faces, the shy smiles, the penetrating eyes — I hear Jesus ask, “Who will feed my lambs?” And I can’t help but respond, “I will, Lord!”