Love : No Interpretation Necessary ❤️🌍🇲🇰

Day 2 at the '25th of May' orphanage has now come to a close. Words to describe the team's feelings right now would include (but not limited to)... exhausted, inspired, happy, overwhelmed, protective, excited, nurturing, hopeful, loving, parental, surprised, childlike, silly... and most importantly - so very GRATEFUL to God for bringing us to this place - Skopje, Macedonia - literally thousands of miles from home, well outside most of our comfort zones - for the unbelievable experience and opportunity to serve these beautiful children.

Today was filled with non-stop action; from sports and games to arts and crafts, to one-on-one time and to all-out silliness... It was all so rich and filled with hugs and love and laughter. ALL around us. ALL day long. These three things... Hugs. Love. Laughter. They have no specific language. Their language is universal. And that is part of what makes this trip so incredibly special.

You see, this is my second year going on this October trip to Macedonia. Prior to our trip last year, a major source of anxiety and fear for me was the language barrier. The kids all speak Macedonian (and Macedonian ain't easy y'all!), most of them with very little understanding of English. How would I communicate with them? How would we make a difference? How was this all going to work???

The answer was simply those three words. Hugs. Love. Laughter.

It is truly remarkable how much communication is possible without words. And what I thought would be a hinderance and a barrier initially, well God has shown me the beauty in it all. (He's kinda good at doing that, am I right?!). These children all have such distinct personalities and traits and gifts. This shines so very brightly through their actions, their facial expressions and through their interactions with others.

- Dino and his sweet and gentle soul, so caring, quiet and humble.
- Alijah, sweet as pie when she wants but will put the boys in their place before you can blink an eye.
- Ramcheche - the ham of all hams, life of the party, dancing king...

I could go on and on... but you see, no words were necessary for all of this to become so apparent to all of us.

Now granted, this was something I picked up on after spending the week here last year - but last night at dinner after our first day at the orphanage, I gained some new insight. I was listening to a few team members talk about their experiences from the day. Hearing them speak about the kids and being so spot-on about the children's individual personalities, having only just met them that day was such an eye opener for me. No words were required for this. Non-verbal communication was all it took. And even in that short timespan, it was enough.

Actually, I think it was far better than 'enough.' I feel fairly certain that I would be hard pressed to describe another child's personality (that I was was able to freely speak and communicate with) in the same detail and emotional clarity and depth that I can with the 25th of May children. We are literally forced to observe everything, things we would likely gloss right over under normal circumstances. The body language, the facial expressions, the tone, the hand gestures, what their eyes are telling us. We are simply more attentive and we try harder. It takes the communication to a different level, once more pushing us outside our comfort zones. And I for one, think at least for me personally, this truly has been a blessing in disguise. (God can be so sneaky like that!). I think the connections we make are truer and deeper than so many others where so many more words are present.

Also also note that our purpose and role here is not to preach to these kids. Our job is to love them. It sounds so simple, but that is not something that comes abundantly for these children. We show God's love for them through our actions. Through hugs, love and laughter... and their response to this is phenomenal. Aside from Elizabeth, the amazing missionary that works with these children full time (who is a total rock star and has made exponential progress at the orphanage in her few years here)... other than her, these kids don't have any type of consistency or dependability in their lives. They don't know who to trust or if they can trust. No one to hug them or tuck them in at night. To play games with them or tell them they are beautiful. To act silly with and encourage them. To make them feel important and worthy and loved.

So we come and we do.

And absolutely no words are necessary for that. Only hugs, love and laughter ❤️

And I absolutely could not feel any luckier that God chose me to help fulfill that role in their lives.

🇲🇰❤️💛🙏🏻🌍👫❤️💛🇲🇰

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