About the Author

Kristen writes at her parenting blog, We Are THAT Family and is author of Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Safe Sparkly Faith is No Longer Enough and founder of The Mercy House. Follow Kristen on twitter as @WeareTHATfamily.

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  1. What a beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing it, and thank you for how you shared it – moving and emotional without forcing the feeling.
    One thing, though, and I intend this to read sincere and gentle, not accusatory or condesending – people HAVE Down’s, they aren’t Down’s. It’s a subtle difference, but it is a difference nonetheless.

  2. This is just so beautiful. Like so many of the things you all have shared about, I find it difficult to put into words what I’m experiencing viewing these events second hand. So very beautiful.

  3. Beautiful. And yes, people HAVE Down Syndrome (not Down’s). It is as much a part of them as you having a certain color eyes. As Rachel said, it’s a subtle difference, but in the shadow of Down Syndrome Awareness Day (3/21/2010) it’s very important to understand the difference.
    Great piece.

  4. That was an Absolutely Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. The pictures really brought it to life. You most definitely were touched by an angel! Love it!

  5. She is a beautiful angel! I can only imagine what an incredible service that must’ve been! I have loved reading about your trip! Praying!

  6. That is so incredibly beautiful. I am not ashamed to say that as I read this story, I wept. How absolutely heart wrenching. She is so beautiful! I would not have been able to hold my composure in such a moment. Wow!
    I did kind of chuckle at the long service comment. Ours are about the same length…grin

  7. I’m the mom of a son with Down Syndrome, so this story touched a special place in my heart. My Henry often does the same thing with stroking my face while staring intently in my eyes, so I knew exactly what you were talking about. This WAS a holy moment. God used this beautiful girl to create a new awareness in you and bless you with her gifts. how amazing!! Thank you for sharing the story and the pictures!

  8. Not only am I crying, but I have goosebumps as I look at the pictures and re-read your story again. What a beautiful girl, a beautiful moment.

  9. How beautiful your moments were caught in the lens of a camera so that we all could see the glory between the two of you. Thank you! (sniff, sniff)

  10. What an awesome post. We have one boy on the autism spectrum and another with sensory disorders. Although they are not as severe as the girl in your post, we have had difficulties in churches with acceptance. People don’t realize enough that God uses children, even (maybe especially) challenged children, to teach His people. If only all of God’s people were as accepting as this church in Kenya then perhaps God could work more in all of our lives.

  11. At least several of the Native American tribes ascribe deity to Down’s Syndrome children, most likely for some of the same qualities you mention here. My own daughter is intellectually disabled (or whatever term you choose to give it), and I find that she is the smartest person I know when it comes to what really matters! Somehow, I don’t think Jesus is all that impressed with my degrees, accomplishments or IQ scores….. but I’ll bet he looks at her proudly, and says “That’s MY girl!”

  12. Kristen, the photos captured this moment so beautifully.
    As I looked at them the song, “surely the presence of the Lord is in THIS place”

  13. How beautiful, Kristen. Thank you for sharing your trip and experiences like this! What an awe-inspiring moment. Just beautiful.
    Hugs,
    Genny

  14. Sometimes God blesses us with those moments that can only be described as holy. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience!

  15. I have read every one of your Kenyan posts, Kristen, but now I’m crying. What a beautiful little girl. My brother, who has Down Syndrome and is my heart twin used to do the exact same thing during song services.
    You nailed it on the head…she is an angel.

  16. I love this post. I really do. I just have one little item that I would like to point out. I person can’t be Down’s Syndrome. They can have Down Syndrome but they can’t be it.
    Otherwise, it was a great post and very sweet.

  17. I guess if I read this 5 years ago I wouldn’t have caught it but as some have so lovingly pointed out they are children first and then they have down syndrome. Kind of like we wouldn’t say she was cerebral palsy ( One of my girls has down syndrome and the other has cerebral palsy). So maybe cause I deal with it a lot it rubs me the wrong way but other then that it was so touching and beautiful to see. I believe they are God’s earthly angels sent to soften hardened hearts.

  18. To everyone who read this post, thank you for correcting my ignorance. This in reference to what I wrote at the beginning of this story, “She was Downs Syndrome and was absolutely beautiful” As I wrote this post before I left Kenya, I was not able to make corrections to it due to traveling. If I offended anyone, I am sorry. Please forgive me. This was never my intention.

  19. Kristen, your heart is beautiful and I think we all know that. Thank you for sharing your sacred moment with us and being so vulnerable by doing so. We love you!

  20. This was so beautiful. Oh, I felt like I was there. What an incredible moment to tuck away in your heart. When you’ve been touched by God it’s hard to walk away unchanged.