When we walked in the gate, the children immediately started pulling on our shirts saying, "Auntie, Uncle - THANK YOU for the money for our new house!" After seeing how excited the kids were, we thought we should ask Victor and Simini (the house Mom and Dad) what they thought about all the money for their move coming in last night! Here's their response...
Are here are our sweet kiddos, saying THANK YOU to everyone who donated!
(If you gave, then listen closely to hear your personal THANK YOU!)
We spent most of the afternoon working at the house - taking videos and pictures of the kids, and hearing more of their stories (how they came to Asha House, what their dreams are, etc). It was great to re-connect with each of the kids individually, even if it was just for a few minutes! Of course, in between video shoots, we found time for some to love on some of our sweet girls...
Here's Rusty goofing around with Tabitha and Jyoti!
And me holding Baby Aksha - look at that sweet little scrunchy face!
She has so much personality for someone so small!
We also made sure to get some pictures of Rusty with all the boys...
...and me with all the girls! (we're all hugging, if you're wondering! ;)
We worked on a secret project with Jyoti, Tabitha, and Shanu (it's a new piece of merchandise we'll be revealing in a couple of months... very exciting!) and they were all so happy to be a part of it!
We also made sure to get a "family" picture of us with Jyoti. We've been personally supporting her for almost 4 years, and she has been stuck to us like glue this week (which we've loved! Especially since she was terrified of white people last time I visited - haha!) Here is our shot of Rusty Uncle, Ericka Aunty, and little Jyoti!
Throughout the day, I noticed Simini and Sapna (one of the staff members) working on a saree. I knew they sometimes did some seamstress work to make extra money, so I didn't really think anything about it. Towards the end of our visit, Simini asked me what I thought of her new red saree. I told her how beautiful it was, and she explained that they had made it themselves (they added all the trim, rhinestones, and they even painted the flowers on it!)
Then, to my surprise, she said it was for ME!!! I was so SHOCKED! I'd mentioned a few days ago that I wanted to buy a red saree someday, and they had decided to make one especially for me! They had been working on it all day right under my nose! We had a good laugh and I thanked them over and over while they dressed me up!
My sneaky, sneaky seamstress friends!
Next up it was storytime! Just like at Asha Mission, we brought the kids their own copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible. When I walked in to read it in my saree, everyone cheered and clapped! They loved my new Indian clothes!
After storytime, the kids surprised us with even more gifts! (I wasn't sure if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas!) We were given two beautiful handmade cards, and a big framed photo of us with our Asha House Family! We can't wait to put it in our office!
And then, came the most special part of our day.... all the kids circled around us, laid hands on us, and prayed! I just sat and cried - I was so moved. I felt so undeserving of all their love, gifts, attention and prayers. I just kept wondering how we could be so lucky - so blessed - to be loved like this by these incredible kids!
As we said our goodbyes (and got lots of kisses from our sweet Jyoti) - we headed out to treat the staff to dinner. Our Thanksgiving Dinner was not turkey this year.... it was Chinese food at an Indian restaurant called Hi Mirchee!
It was definitely a different kind of Thanksgiving, but I couldn't be more thankful for the memories we made today! We love our Asha House family!!!