I do have to say, I have never EVER sweat this much in my entire life. Each time I thought it was the most, I would sweat even more on the next hike. The heat was so intense, I felt like I had a blanket permanently wrapped around my body as I walked. But once the village was in view, any and all amount of pain that I may have experienced was all worth it. Once I saw the children staring and smiling up at me, I knew it was all worth it. It just amazes me how obvious the presence of God is. He has worked everything out to go exactly how He wants it to work.
We just finished our final hike yesterday it was 5 hours up and then I think 3 or so back down. As we were hiking we would pass locals who would smile and say hello to us. It blows my mind to think that some of these people do this every day. For example, a little boy from one of the villages walked back down with us because he had a tooth ache and was going to visit a dentist or something in the city where we had left our luggage. He then would hike back to the village with his older brother. Now, back at home I would sometimes complain about having to drive across town to go to the dentist. These people work so hard to make our stay pleasant for us and they do it all with a genuine loving smile. It's really hard for me to even put into words the things that I have seen and experienced here in these past couple of weeks. When they sing their hymns and songs, I absolutely love it. I wish that i knew the words to them. They sound so beautiful and they look so happy playing their drums and everyone clapping. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing believers singing praises to their God from their heart.
At one church, there was a girl who asked me tons of questions. When it was time for us to leave she suddenly grasped my arm in a vice-like grip and stared at me intently with these huge dark brown eyes that seemed to go on forever. She pulled me close and pleaded "please never forget me." Just the look on her face and the intensity of her voice made my heart feel like it melted and fell down to my toes. I was speechless at first. Then I finally choked out "of course I'll never forget you." It really hit me then that I might never see these people again here on earth. I have met so many amazing fellow believers on this trip and I hope that someday I can come back here. At the last church we were at, which was actually a room in someone's house because they don't have a church,Pastor Todd was describing what the Bible told us about Heaven. As I watched the wonder fill the children's eyes, I couldn't help but tear up. There's so much pain and suffering in this world and I thank and praise God for being so merciful to us by sending His Son and giving us the gift of Eternal Life. When that Last Day does come, I will be overjoyed to see all those that God has called to be His own. I pray that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of these people and in our hearts too so we can spread the wonderful news of this great gift God has granted to us. Please keep all of these fellow believers in your prayers.