We woke up around 8am this morning to start getting ready for the day. Well, we woke up about 10 times throughout the night to turn our a/c unit back on. The electricity here is pretty unreliable so you find yourself waking up rather hot....quite often. So you jump out of bed, restart the a/c unit, and try to get back to sleep. We rushed around and chatted each others ears off for about 45 minutes, and then came the knock on our door. Our in-country guide was here and ready to take us!
We went straight to the Embassy to apply for an exit letter. There is info they have to process for us, so Joelle can get an exit letter from the Congolese Immigration Office. They're working on that right now....as soon as it's done we can head home! Side note....the Embassy literally said, 'Oh, you're Jared Lemons' to me this morning. Apparently I've made quite a name for myself. John, our guide here, couldn't believe we called them every day. We had some laughs about that, they congratulated us, and we were on our way.
So we made the trek through some pretty crazy terrain to get to Joelle. It took probably 30-45 minutes to get to her orphanage, and as soon as we walked in we were mugged by tons of kids! There are 32 children in our orphanage right now, and I'm pretty sure every single one of them hugged us, hung on us, and played with the hair on my arms?! That was kind of weird. And then it happened.....walking down the steps came the little girl from our dreams. I heard Amy say, 'Jared, there she is!' I literally couldn't see her...there were a sea of kiddos around and she is so quiet and small. So I scanned everyone and finally saw her for the first time. We spent a few moments with her, and then it was off to tour the orphanage, have the kids sing and dance for us, and then say our goodbyes.
Amazing day to say the least.....topped off with Joelle's first pizza. I think she and I will be getting along just fine!
There's so much on our minds right now while we watch her sleep. First of all....thank the Lord she fell asleep because she was breaking our hearts! We've had a great day, but when we finished lunch, bath time, and got in bed....I think reality sunk in for her. One of the happiest days of our lives is the day she leaves everything she knows behind. Once again, reminds me of the Gospel. While we fight holiness with everything in us, the Lord clings to us and holds us in grace. Joelle is already learning quickly that mommy and daddy aren't going anywhere....she's safe in our arms, just as we are in the Lord's.
Thanks for the prayers....God has been so amazing to us this past year and today was an incredible reminder of that!
We will leave you with some precious photos from today:
After her first shower...