In 2005, my husband and I took the whole family to see the movie Invisible Children. We were blown away by what we learned there - about the conflict in Uganda and children who were being kidnapped to fight in the rebel army. Seeing the movie opened our hearts to Africa and it's children. My husband and I began watching other movies, including Hotel Rwanda, Sometimes in April, and Blood Diamond.
Shortly after that, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night often. After a while, I came to believe God was waking me up so I could pray for the children of Africa. So I did. Night after night - not really understanding why, or what I should pray, but still offering up that continent and it's youth.
More than a year after that initial exposure to the current struggles facing many young Africans, we went to our church on a typical Sunday morning. In our bulletin that week was a blurb asking for someone who would be willing to host a boy from Sierra Leone who needed to come to Spokane for surgery at Shriners Hospital.
I read the paragraph, leaned over to Asia and whispered in his ear "I think we're supposed to do this..."
I knew, then and there, that the paragraph I was reading was the reason God kept waking me up at night and telling me to pray. God was preparing our family to say yes.
We began the process of applying with Children of the Nations to provide a home for Tejan - a ten year old boy in their care in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
That was in November of 2006.
And in August of 2007, Tejan Margay moved into the Goins household.
He was initially supposed to stay with us for 8 weeks.
And that 8 weeks became 8 months.
He became a part of the family. A brother to our children and a son to us.
So now, three years after he left us to return to Sierra Leone, we are going to visit him.
You can read more about his time in Spokane here:
Keeping it real
Shriner's Pre-op visit
The power of prayer - the second surgery
Recovery from second surgery
Tejan's amazing doctors
A rough patch
Preparing for goodbye
Change of plans
Ten more weeks
Preparing for goodbye again
Adjusting to his absence
Back to 'normal'