Lando was born in October of 2006.

I remember holding Lando as a tiny baby, how he slept in our
room, how he captured my heart and seemed to need to be held. He was “our baby”
for many months.

He is now 16 months old, and as we have been telling him
that his mommy and daddy are coming to get him, he looks longingly at the
pictures above his crib. He seems to know there is something different about
the couple in the picture smiling at him.

I walk into the nursery and he toddles over to me. As I bend
down, he points at me, cocking his head to one side. I sweep him up in my arms.
No honey, I whisper and kiss him. I’m not your mommy… but she is coming. I
promise, she is coming.

And she did come. Last week, his new mommy and daddy arrived
from Switzerland.
After only a few minutes, Lando attached himself to her neck. He lay his head down
on her chest, his arms tight around her neck. He knew. The connection was there
and he knew that he was safe.

TheLando_pointingy were moved to tears, their hearts so full. They were no
longer childless.

The paperwork had been long and drawn out. The delays and
problems brought me to tears many times. How I longed for this little one to be
in his mommy’s arms.

Now in the moment, it is hard to say goodbye, especiallLando_momdady
when I “rescued” him. But to see them connect with him, to see them love him
with all that was within them, I knew the timing was God and it was perfect. I
know this was a match made in Heaven.

April 7th
is my birthday. I have never enjoyed my birthday much and this year I remember
clearly a birthday from several years ago. The following is what i wrote that year.

Monday was my 33rd
birthday. This particular birthday morning I awoke in tears, somehow feeling
the exhaustion from the last few weeks, not enough sleep, the many crisis’ with
the boys, the burden of finances, the heavy weight of compassion for the poor
that surround me, the everyday pressure of being mom and wife.

Tears streamed down
my face as I longed for the day to be over. News of a “surprise” party with
food, guests, and cake certainly didn’t lift my spirits. How ever would I get
through this day.

The day did indeed
pass and later in the evening as the kids were tucked into bed, I breathed a
sigh of relief. Oh for a hot bath and a few hours to just be alone. Suddenly, I
remembered the four young boys who were coming for a visit. These were some of
the worst in their age group in their community. They were from the same place
that 4 of our own DAVID boys were from. They were young men that years ago, our
boys had taught to do drugs, now in such irony, they arrived at our place to
see how they could change like their once drug-addict idols. I certainly didn’t
feel like doing anything more this day.

Ezekiel, a young
man of 21, so bound up by anger and hurt, had mysteriously arrived last night
with no explanation. I hadn’t had the energy to coax his hurt out. I had
ignored him all day,silently aware of his pain.

I fed the 4 boys and
welcomed them. It was already late.  Everyone
sat on the floor in a circle and a time of sharing- complete with testimonies,
prayers, advice, questions, and somehow, I was amazed to watch these four young
men so willingly bow their heads as Angel, one of our young men, led them in a
prayer of salvation. I watched as our own boys suddenly went into action- they
took each of the boys and in groups prayed over them and counseled them more.
David, our prodigal son, formed a circle and prayed at the top of his lungs for
God to move.

Ezekiel took the
guitar and sang worship songs- his voice clear, his eyes heavenward.


How delicious this fruit was- how full I

Outside in the
hall, Angel had Winner, one of the new boys. Gently I pressed him to join our
program. I told him here we would love him, care for him, teach him, train him,
and never leave him or give up on him. His eyes wide, he sat hugging his knees.
This, a dangerous kid on the streets, a kid who spent more time in jail than
out, a thief. He stared at me struggling to understand promises he had never
heard in all his 18 years. By his side, a ex-drug addict held his hands,
interceding for him, telling him he loved him, the moment totally surreal.

I looked over to
the balcony and another one of our boys was counseling a drop-in addict who had
just arrived. This one only coming by every few days for a little food. He
never staying long. Tonight he couldn’t seem to bring himself to leave. He just
sat. There was a still presence of the Holy Spirit in the halls.

Through the window
I could hear David still praying.

Lord, thank you for
this birthday.

WinnerThe amazing thing is that as we are in Canada on furlough, Winner is left with all the administrative responsibilities of running Gentle Hands and is doing a tremendous job. He shares our vision and has learned to fight for the rights of the poor. Who would have ever thought?

Winner, you were a
wonderful birthday present sent from God. Thank you for your unending sacrifice
for the children and boys at Gentle Hands. You are an incredible blessing to me
and to my family. I pray God’s blessing on you as you celebrate your own
birthday in Him!


We had no intention
of taking Rami.

But he was there.
Ever so tiny, laying in a basket, shoved carelessly beneath the last crib in a
row of overstuffed hospital cribs. The nurses claimed there was no where else
to put him.

Born premature, he
was abandoned at birth and for the past 6 months, lay unstimulated, untouched,
unloved, and unwanted in a basket. Pulled out to feed and pushed back to sleep.

He weighed 6 pounds
when we found him. He didn’t focus on anything and responded to very little. He
didn’t cry. He had learned to pacify himself with his fist jammed in his mouth…

How could we leave
him there…

Two months later…Rami_march1_2

Rami now looks at
your face when you talk to him. He will even smile and kick his feet if he
likes your voice. He still sneaks his thumb in his mouth and doesn’t cry when
he is hungry- a challenge for the nursery workers. I have many questions about
his stay in the hospital.

There are scars
that I can’t get straight answers for. He has had a little cold but responded
well to being nebulized and he is growing and he is healing. He’s almost 9
pounds and loves to be held and snuggled. He had a rough start in life, that’s for sure. But he is safe now,
loved, and cuddled. God has a plan for this little one.

To support the needs of Rami, or the work of Gentle Hands, click here.