Saturday, September 24, 2011

(day sixty-eight) the little orphan who stole my heart

Back in 2009 I co-led a team of half-crazy missionaries through southeast Asia and Africa. One thing that was forever embedded in my brain were the children I met on that journey. There was something special about this trip, and there was something so breathtaking about the little ones. I remember one boy in particular that took a liking to me. We hit it off right away shortly after our bus rolled through the dusty village. I will never forget the greeting we received that day...

Here we came... a large dirty yellow bus bumping through the skinny "streets" full of white folk from all over the world (that's us) and a team of Ugandans from the city. We had come because of a local church that was in desperate need of financial and emotional support. Before we even pulled up to the destination, all of the village children were chasing our bus screaming and chanting. When we rolled up the celebration continued with an enormous welcoming party. As soon as we stepped off the bus they greeted us with kisses and hugs! I wondered what it would look like if we welcomed foreigners into our home and church like that? I also wondered if that's what heaven is going to be like. We were overwhelmed with their love and knew I lives were about to change forever.

They wanted revival in their little village... so naturally they asked us "the white missionaries" if we could help. (That's always so funny to me.) What we found is that this small group of believers had the greatest expectations for God to move... and that He did. But not because of anything we did. It was simply the power of God moving through His faithful sons and daughters speaking to the surrounding communities the stories of His love and faithfulness. I was blown away by their dedication! One night they had an ALL NIGHT prayer and praise session. Our group of "white missionaries" stayed up till we could bare standing no more... but they marched on! The next day and the day following that and the one following that one we say many many saved and got to witness true breakthrough and freedom in that area- glory!!!

Besides all that, the most memorable story was that of a young boy. Since the whole team thought his name was something different.... we decided to name him Bobby. Boy... Bobby could dance! I'm telling you, you've never seen anything like this kid. And He was such a comedian! He had us rolling the whole time we were there. I just remember waking up every morning so excited to see him that day. I looked for him every where we went and if we found each other he would stick by my side or hold my hand so as not to lose me in the crowd. We would communicate through motions as we spoke in our native tongue. One night I recall taking him to our bus to hang out while they were showing a movie to the village. Our driver started speaking with him and translating to me... so i started the questions. I found out that this boy had no parents and was being raised by an aunt who was some type of witch doctor. He had absolutely nothing... except the clothes on his back. I think I made the decision right then to somehow sneak him into my luggage and whisk him away to America to give him a chance in life. Sadly this plan never came into fruition. I knew my time with Bobby was quickly coming to an end... so my only option was to try and fully enjoy every moment with him hoping time would stand still. More than ever before, I wanted to bring this child home with me and raise him as my own. It's been so many years since then and my heart still aches for the lost boy of Uganda.

The day before we left I found a little clearing in the woods to chill away from the crowded church and get a good quiet time in. Before I had a few verses read, I heard something in the distance and to my excitement saw Bobby coming to hang out with me! Behind me I heard a woman yelling something in their language and I was assuming she was telling him to not bother me from the way he was reacting. What she didn't realize was that I really wanted to hang out with him!!! I tried to tell him that it was ok... and he would move towards me, then she would yell and he'd back up. I was so frustrated with her because she was making him leave, but there was nothing I could do. I knew that might be one of the last times I would get to see him before we left. After sulking for a few minutes I saw something creeping up from the other direction and guess who it was?? Bobby had found an alternative route that was hidden from the yelling woman. Go Bobby! Haha. I was so proud. He quietly tip toed trying his best to be invisible. Before I knew it, he had found a tree to perch himself in so he could sit and watch me read. Although we weren't technically hanging out... I felt the love he had for me from a distance. And in that very short time, I loved him as if he were my own child.

I believe the hardest day of the whole trip for me was the following day when we were scheduled to leave this lovely dirty place. All day long I looked around and asked if anyone had seen Bobby, and no luck. He wasn't anywhere to be found. Reluctantly, I loaded up my stuff and took one last look around. I started tearing up as we pulled away from the church then all of the sudden I saw him running toward the bus (like a movie). He stopped, smiled really big and just waved his little heart out. I knew He thought that we were probably coming back that day... and to my dismay we never did.

I often think about Bobby and wonder where he's at now and what he's doing. I'm not even sure if I'd be able to find him, but I still contemplate searching him out. Just as I was writing this I began to envision heaven again. There I saw Bobby running up to me smiling, dancing and waving. Then I pictured every child I had ever met that I fell in love with. They were all running up to me and grabbing my legs, jumping on my back, and holding my hand. One thing I'll never be able to truly understand is what it feels like to be an orphan, but my heart breaks for them every single day. I can't imagine how God must feel about them. I have several friends who are so burdened by this epidemic in our world, that they have adopted several. I hope to be able to do this soon.

My heart sinks when I think of a child that has been abandoned, unwanted, rejected, or unloved. Then I meet adults on the street who have never had someone truly care for them, or someone in prison who was never believed in, a business man whose parents were too busy for him, an actor who was told they're not good enough, a housewife who was loved conditionally, a pastor who was left behind, a mom who can't catch up, a grandparent who was treated like a child, the list goes on and on. Rejection, abandonment, uselessness, and unlovable. How often do we feel these things? As I sat and reflected on the pain I feel every time I hear or see this... my sweet friend reminded me that God is the Father of the Fatherless and He is near to the broken-hearted. Knowing this we can stand from a place of adoption and live as though we have a Father who will take care of our needs... or we can live out of our orphan spirit not trusting our Father will come through and fight for ourselves.

There are too many orphans in this world to count. And there are countless others walking around with the spirit of an orphan. How amazing would it be if we all began to really see ourselves as sons and daughters of the most High King. And how much more amazing if God's sons and daughters began taking care of the orphans of the world desiring to see freedom in their lives by accepting them unconditionally. What a blessing it is to know that we are precious children of His... and what a blessing it is to share this same joy with so many others.

For many years now I've been bewildered by the look I receive from some babies passing by. It's almost as if they are looking directly into the depths of my soul and saying something. One day I had a revelation that Jesus was speaking to me through their eyes. (I'm not claiming this is what happens, it's just what I imagined could happen). I had a picture of each baby (pre-born) sitting on His lap before heading to earth and Christ kissing each of us saying..."Now, as you get older and are tainted by the world you will forget about this moment with me... but then you will hear about me through other people. Try to remember my love for you and seek after me with your whole heart until we meet face to face again. Earth is your only time to love me in your lack... so make the best of it. Obey me. Live a full long humble life. I will never leave you or forsake you. I am and always will be your Dad."

B90: (Zechariah 1- 14:21) In Chapter 7 the Lord means serious business with Zechariah..."Thus says the Lord of hosts, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart." v 8-10

You can almost easily begin to see how much the enemy wants to do the very things God hates and he will use anyone to do these horrible things. I'm sure there have been times when we have been the victim... and there have also been times where we might have justified our injustice acts towards someone else. Then looking even deeper into the verse I have to wonder if are ever unintentionally oppressing the widow, fatherless, sojourner or poor? Do we know how our daily decisions are effecting others globally? Are we actively supporting, loving, and encouraging widows, orphans, sojourners and the poor locally and worldwide? I know... heavy stuff right? I'm asking myself these same questions right now.

Lord I pray tonight that you reveal your love for us as sons and daughters. I ask that every person reading this will accept and receive your gift as a good Dad. You DO love us so much, as well as all of your creation which you yearn for. Let us give you all the praise, worship, glory and honor that you deserve. Our human efforts can never reach you without the power of you in us... but let us seek you all of our broken, humble days on earth! You are so worthy to be praised no matter how we feel or what we think. You are TRUTH, LIGHT, LOVE, THE WAY. I pray you break our heart for what breaks yours! In the name of your son Jesus... begin to unify our broken body separated by silly disagreements. Bring us together how you designed. Let us all worship you TOGETHER after all this time of being apart. Let us stand in victory as one bowing to you on the throne who has already won! Grow in us a passion for the lost, dying, orphaned, hurt, bleeding, lonely, sick, torn, abused, unwanted, unloved people of this world. Help us to see their needs and actively serve and love to see healing and freedom in all. Our hands continue to point to you in everything we do... let us trust the path we walk on with you... and lean not on our own understanding. You are good. You are God. Amen.

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