I came to Lily expecting to be challenged by the tragedies the children and staff face. I never expected to be challenged by their victories.

Lily of the Valley Children’s Village exists to care for the orphans in the heart of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Not only do they provide housing, but they also provide education, healthcare and a spiritual foundation for every child entrusted to them.

Lily has an incredible sense of community. Even among the children, sharing and taking care of each other is second nature.

If this sounds like a tall order, that’s because it is. And the people who work to make it a reality are unparalleled in their dedication.

In my time here I have seen staff who have given up years of their lives, living full-time on-site in the village for the sake of the children they love.

I have seen volunteers give up their own time and money, paying for the opportunity to serve the children here and show them the love of God.

I have seen teenagers, the very kids I am serving, organizing bible studies and outreach programs for the surrounding community.

This is a place where the kingdom of God is moving forcibly into the world. Here is a community built on love and a reliance on God for everything. A community providing for the physical, social and spiritual needs of all its members.

I came expecting tragedy and a community of loss. Instead I found joy and victory though Christ.

I know now that when I think about where God is most present on earth, I won’t be imagining a church or a worship service. I’ll be thinking of Lily.

Victories are being won here, and I feel challenged, convicted even, to live with the same level of passion and sacrifice I have witnessed here, to create the kind of loving community that I now know is possible.

A part of me doesn’t want to leave this community. I want to stay and watch it grow; I want to help nurture it as it continues to bear fruit in amazing and unexpected ways.

But I take comfort in the knowledge that God will continue to do amazing things even after I am gone, that He will continue to raise up people to join and support the work of Lily, and that Lily will be a place where God’s Love for the least of these is made evident for all the world to see.

Crossing the Sea

I will never be able to return to the place I was before…

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An Unexpected Lesson

The people of South Africa don’t need our pity – these kids are capable of great things.

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Culture Guide: How to Conquer a Bushfire

There’s something especially rewarding about beating a fire with a club…

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A Quiet Sacrifice

This wasn’t volunteering, it was sacrifice.

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The Desire to Belong

How do you accept that you can’t change the past?

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Teachers and Tomato Growers

What does growing tomatoes have to do with helping orphans?

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Photo Gallery: Holiday at Howick

When the served become the servants…

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An Unlikely Rebel

What happens when a common struggle is met with an uncommon response?

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About the Author: Brad Miller is a year-long fellow with WND. A student of Psychology, Biology, and Theatre, he's worked as an actor, teacher, balloon artist and last-minute fill-in guy for any number of projects. He loves camping and tinkering with broken and discarded things. Brad's passion in life is to unleash the potential in others.

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Comments

  1. Curtis Honeycutt said... 

    Reply

    August 15th, 2012 at 8:50 am  

    Brad, I LOVE that photo of the kids with their arms around each other.

  2. Lori Rosenbauer said... 

    Reply

    August 29th, 2012 at 10:36 pm  

    You ended with the following:
    “But I take comfort in the knowledge that God will continue to do amazing things even after I am gone, that He will continue to raise up people to join and support the work of Lily, and that Lily will be a place where God’s Love for the least of these is made evident for all the world to see.”
    I want you to know that our family is currently in the process of raising financial support to become full time house parents at Lily. We live in the states, and visited Lily in Feb. 2011 for a week. We are anxious to begin our time of loving and serving there, and I have completely appreciated your expressions of your time there.
    Thanks for sharing. If you’d like to follow our journey, you can do so at our website.

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