Phew, what a crazy amazing day that was. It has been a long time coming and it all started back in the Summer of 2016.
The summer of 2016 was my first as a staff member. I remember one specific week with Montgomery Community Church. This group worked so hard and was just amazing. This week the team had a few members trying to solve a lice problem within the home. They worked so hard cutting hair, lathering mayonnaise on the kids heads, and providing new sheets. But when the left at the end of the week, there were still kids with lice.
Then Summer of 2017 hit and well…the same thing happened. New methods and efforts were made to de-licing the kids, but we did not fully eradicate the darn things.
After that summer I felt a desire to help. We created a budget to rid the kids of those pesky things once and for all. The plan was to purchase new mattresses, new bed covers that are resistant many things (bed bugs, water, lice), new sheets, new pillows, and de-licing materials for each child and staff member. Also, the plan was to fumigate the home. We started raising money and quickly, the project was fully funded. The plan was to do the full de-licing in the spring of 2018 but we were having some overwhelming changes onsite and so we moved it to summer. As I thought about which group could best help, it almost seemed like it was meant to be Montgomery Community Church. Yes! I knew they would love doing this. The next day I looked at my budget numbers again and found out that we was about $1,000 short of our goal. It was a large miscalculation on my part.
I walked out of that budget meeting and I called Candace, who has been the one for past 5 years leading this de-licing effort. I updated her as to what we would be doing during her group week and she was ecstatic. She then asked me if we needed anything else, I said jokingly, “Well, if you have an extra $1,000 lying around we could use that.”
She gasped and then shared a story with me, “So, Patrick our group leader felt led to give each of us $20 and he just told us to make it grow. And, well, I am a hard stylist, and I pinned that $20 on my mirror at work with a little description of why it was up there. People started to pin their own $20 bills up there one after the other. I just counted the cash two days ago and the total came to be exactly $1,000.”
I was literally in awe. She and I started laughing and crying at the same time. We immediately prayed and thanked God for his provision. What a great Daddy God we have that He knew what would happen and already prepared the answer for the lack.
Candace went on to raise an extra $2,000 and we were able to do so much more than we ever thought possible.
MCC arrived and we prepared all the items. The day came and we had all the stations setup for each child. Here is another crazy part: Jessie, a local volunteer that we have here in MTY, had donated over 40 de-licing kits for this project. To tell you the truth, the kits got lost on our B2B campus somehow. After weeks of searching for them I finally heard what happened to them. Someone had already given them to the children’s home and they used them. Thank God Candace bought 30 extra kits with the donated funds.
As we arrived at Bethany Children’s Home and started working, Candace was thoroughly surprised how few lice she had found in children’s heads. Little did we realize but with the home using the kits 1 month before we arrived it had killed the majority of the lice. So, this now allowed us to kill them off completely.
70% of the team started packing up all materials and clothes in every apartment. We deep cleaned the whole home, toilets included. MCC did an incredible job, going above and beyond by cleaning inside refrigerators and behind stoves. We threw out all the mattresses, as most were completely infested. We took an extended break to eat pizza and swim in the river with the kids. Then we came back and put the beautiful new mattresses and bed covers in each dorm and covered each bed with new, soft sheets.
As we were closing up shop for the day I saw several caregivers crying out of relief and gratitude. They said that in the last fifteen years the home has never been cleaned even close to this much. They felt so loved. And they felt freedom. Freedom from the wasps hiding in the spaces they stored things, freedom from the lice and bed bugs that have plagued their home for years and years, and freedom from the back pain they had due to old mattresses.
Candace walked on the bus with a spirit of victory on her. She told the MCC group, “This is the first time in 6 years that I can say we are leaving this children’s home free of lice this week!”
Thank you to everyone who helped give, raise money, and put in effort toward this endeavor. It was definitely one of the coolest things I have been able to do while living here.