Last night after midnight we got a call from our friend Trent who said "I am getting on the bus with Gilbert and I am not afraid. We are going into Goma!!! We are going to check things out on the ground and make sure they are ok. We want to see how things are in Goma and take them some food. If they were my kids, I would want to know. I will call you from there and maybe you can talk to them."
Oh my gosh!!! As you can imagine, I slept about 30 minutes all night long. At 2:30 am he called and said they had safely crossed into Goma and that the soldiers weren't in the city. They were outside of the city training. At 6:00am we got a call from Trent and got to speak with Nicodemu and Anouarite for 30 minutes! They are absolutely precious. They were trying their very best English and we spoke some occasional Swahili. Trent was translating the rest for us. Highlights... Nicodemu has a very strong, confident, yet gentle and respectful voice and when asked if there was anything he wanted to ask us, he asked what he was going to be able to eat when he came to America. We told him, "anything you want!!!" and started listing everything I could think of from ice cream to steaks! He also sang us a song and has a very very good singing voice, wow! Anouarite joined him super quietly at the end of the song. Anouarite is very shy and Trent says she is super sweet and has been latched onto him all day. She spoke occasionally, with a very quiet gentle voice. We finally learned how to say her name. It is ahn-wa-ree-tay with the accent on the ree. Her nick name is "ann-wa" and that is how she introduced herself. "My name is ann-wah". Nicodemu kept saying in English "my name is nee-ko-day-moo (strong stress on day with his cute little African accent). They are calling us Mama and Baba, Nicodemu said "hello dada" (sister) to Annalise.
Nathanael and Annalise woke up and got to speak with them as well. Nicodemu counted to 9 in English and Nathanael and Annalise each sang them a song. I sang them a song too.
I am still in shock. We asked how they are and they said "nzuri" which is good. We explained to them that things are difficult now because of the war and that we are doing everything we possibly can to get them home as soon as possible. We don't know how much they understand, seems like very little of this concept. Then the older kids got Anouarite to say "I am hungry, give me some of that food" - in Swahili of course. Everyone broke out laughing. Unbelievable. We are still in shock. I even prayed against my will that if they would not be able to come home that God would just not allow us to be able to speak with them. I was so worried laying awake all night and not being able to get through. Finally the phone rang at 6:00.
I know there is so much more that I can't remember at the moment but that is enough for now. Trent will call us when he gets out and is taking videos of them!!! Oh, and get this... Trent says he thinks they look like us! I just have to laugh out loud. Chuck and I have thought the same thing, that they somehow look like they belong with us as improbable as that seems. That was one of our first thoughts when we saw their pictures but we didn't know that anyone else would think that.
This is the best Thanksgiving ever. And we recorded the whole conversation. God, please bring them all the way home! Thank you for this Thanksgiving blessing.