God is so sweet to drop extra sons and daughters into my life. I have my dear Ugandan family and it makes my heart sing. I miss them so much. Sam and Adhe visited us exactly two years ago, and being with them was a treat beyond measure. Then they left, of course, and returned back home to family and ministry... and the chances for either of our families to connect again face-to-face are really slim... prior to heaven. I felt a heavy sigh taking over my life.
And suddenly, about 1-1/2 years ago, God dropped another son into our lives.
Dave and I were at dinner at a church-friend's home in November, '08, and among the other guests was a young man from Burkina Faso. He had been in the States just over a year. Because of our overwhelming interest in Africa, we had some very nice time together that evening and agreed to stay in touch.
About a month later, Patrick and I finally met at a nearby mall, and yammered and yammered for a couple of hours. Within another month, he was calling me "Mom." [I found out later that his B.F. Mom was very glad he had found a Christian mom on This Side.] He introduces Dave as his "Dad" now, too.
He's one bright and cheerful and happy fellow, and all my g-kids fell in love with him. The youngest, Jamison, was the first to meet Patrick. While I was b-sitting Jamie, when he had just turned 4, Patrick would show up and Jamie would run to him screaming his name and cling to him. Since then, the whole family appreciates him for his fellowship and helpfulness, including going with us to the zoo or swimming pools. [He's more fun than I am, to be most certain sure.]
I appreciate him, because, just as "Ugandan" Sam did, Patrick works in my yard [sometimes brings a friend to help], does other chores, helps me grocery shop and carries the bags for me, etc..... and, unless I force it on him, refuses any payment. His attitude: He's just doing it for his family.
On May 16 we went to his graduation party at his brother's house -- he had received his associates degree from our local community college. Since meeting Patrick, we've met several of his family members and B.F. friends who were in Omaha before he was. It was a real treat to be there with the whole bunch, laughing and simply enjoying the fellowship. All of them serve the Lord in one way or another in both the church and the Omaha community, all sold out to the Lord with a joy and intensity that, somehow, most of us don't reach... partly because they have experienced the extremity of choosing Christ in a non-Christian culture.
I was sitting here at Susie's today, suddenly realized I miss seeing Patrick, and thought... I need to tell his story and put up photos that will let people know just what a delight he is. As much as I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Susie's, as much as I'm looking forward to seeing and hugging my Dear One when I pull into our driveway Friday afternoon, as much as I'm looking forward to seeing and hugging my g-kids, Patrick fits right onto the list of "hugger" specialty folks. Can hardly wait.