On one side of town, smoke billowed into the air and mingled with white clouds. Below it, a woman imprisoned in her flame-engulfed shack screamed in terror as a raging fire ate away at her home and belongings and flesh. Nobody came to her rescue.
Her ex-husband was the only person within earshot, but he was running in the other direction – matchbox in one hand and empty kerosene can in the other. Frustration, divorce, and a fit of extreme rage had turned the former lovers into the Murderer and the Murdered, a testimony to the evils that run rampant on Earth.
One fruitlessly cried for help, the other vanished into the world and was never heard from again.
And on the other side of town, their two children played in sweet oblivion and ignorance. John and Ruth, aged six and three, had been deposited at their aunt and uncle’s house just hours prior to this tragedy and expected to soon be retrieved by their father. Their anticipation was met with sheer disappointment, and later grief.
“Orphan” was not something that they had ever expected to be labeled, and “Criminal” was not a name befitting of their Daddy. Yet here they were – fatherless, motherless, and heartbroken.
John and Ruth spent the next eight months of their lives as second-class citizens in their aunt and uncle’s home. Their four little hands were responsible for the majority of the household chores and their four little feet were bare. While their cousins attended a nearby private school, the Orphans made a dangerous five-mile walk to an overcrowded public school. Alone, they daily braved highways and waded through cornfields to receive nothing more than a sub-par education. Unnecessarily abusive punishments were distributed without hesitation, and no apologies were made to the two unfortunate Cinderellas of Maai Mahiu, Kenya.
But one sunny Wednesday in July, all of this changed.
At Naomi’s Village, we were giddy and giggling with excitement. Children, staff, and visiting team members lined the driveway of the children’s home as the white Landcruiser barreled onto the property, honking loudly.
Two filthy, barefooted children ventured out of it, into the Unknown.
And the Unknown burst into song and dance and cheering.
Love overflowed from a sea of hearts and became audible as a joyful roar, visible as a jubilant celebration. Washed hands held dirty ones and all mouths sang praises to Jesus and welcoming songs to His children. Past horrors faded in the light of the hope that became the orphans’ futures.
John and Ruth came home.
In much the same way, we will soon forsake the suffering and pain of this Earth and go Home. Despite our filth, we will be led into eternal bliss and perfection. Past forgotten, overwhelmed with love, we will dance on the brink of eternity.
Until that day, I do not think I will witness a more beautiful celebration than I did on that sunny Wednesday in July.
And he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
– Revelation 21:4-5a
by Emily Mendonsa