Monday began at thirty thousand feet above the midnight outline of Africa, heading due north.
At fifteen years old, our daughter, Elisabeth, found herself leaving behind a rich experience with precious children she would always hold close to her heart. She spent four weeks at Dayspring Children's Village near Mageliesburg, South Africa, a school for disadvantaged children. She worked with first graders during most the school day, listening to them read and guiding them through their paces. She taught piano basics to all who showed an interest and helped the older students with their writing skills. She assisted teachers by making charts, accompanying the little ones on a field trip, and playing the piano for music classes. Every day found her busy and involved.
Her world expanded to include first-hand connections with hurting kids: orphans, those with abusive home situations, those who would have little hope without the influence of a school like Dayspring. She took a close-up look at the many faces of Africa. She saw poverty manifested in tin shacks, small crowded homes, and those selling their wares on street corners. She experienced bustling highways and an upscale shopping mall. She enjoyed two game parks, offering opportunities to see zebras, lions, hippos, giraffes, and more. She observed three separate church settings with vastly different worship styles, all directed to the same great God. She felt the support of the entire Dayspring family as they gathered in a circle to thank her for coming and to pray for her - out loud all at once for quite a long time.
A memorable story!
As Monday's dawn began to break, the plane pointed its nose toward Paris. Here Elisabeth (and one of her former teachers who has made the trip to Dayspring many times) decided to take advantage of an all-day layover. They took a double decker tour bus to see the sights: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc of Triumph, Notre Dame, etc.
In the late afternoon, they boarded the plane once more, this time headed for Philadelphia. Somewhere, as they flew west, night fell behind them and six hours added themselves to this memorable Monday. By 8:15 p.m. EST, we had our very-much-missed daughter with us again, heading north on the PA Turnpike and hearing stories all the way home!
A day with lots of shared memories, gratefulness for God's safe-keeping, and an appreciation for our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world, especially at a little school among the dry waving grasses of South Africa: Dayspring Children's Village!