YWAM- Week 1
Friday morning I entered the Refuge House very shy, not knowing what to expect. My 7% introversion was in full swing that morning. As I waited patiently in the kitchen to be shown where to go, children came and went looking at me strangely as they got ready for school and ate their breakfast. I wanted to communicate with them but in fear I froze, forgetting the little bit of Portuguese I know. My insecurities in an unfamiliar place began to overwhelm me! How can I love these kids I thought? The looks on their faces want nothing to do with me. How do I share Jesus with these children when I cannot speak their language? God what am I doing here? Help me!
All of a sudden a boy came up to me and asked in his broken English “what you name.” I smiled, my fear vanished, I remembered Portuguese, and I began to speak with him. His name is David and he is 10 years old. He wants to learn English so I made a deal with him, “you teach me Portuguese, I’ll teach you English, deal?” We shook on it. He left and went to school. You better believe the minute he came home from school he hammered me with Portuguese words to translate in English. Thank goodness for my Portuguese/English Dictionary!
Augustine once said, “Share Jesus with everyone, everywhere and when necessary use words.” The same thing can be said about love, “When necessary use words.” After my encounter with David that morning, God reminded me of my first trip to Porto Seguro, Brasil 2 years ago with my church. There was a teenage girl that came with us on that trip named Laura who put the words of Augustine to perfect use. She found a wheel barrel being unused from the construction project we were doing, put some kids in it, and started running around the street pushing them, laughing with them, and loving on them. None of them spoke the same language but they all shared love with each other. Love is a universal language that can be spoken with a hug, smile, or a laugh; it needs no words. After all, don’t actions speak louder than words? This I must remember when working with YWAM this summer.
The children in the Refuge House all have HIV or AIDS. There are 8 of them, 4 boys and 4 girls. They have all had very troubled past. Most of their parents are dead and the parents that are alive have mental problems, are in prison, or are still living as prostitutes. These children are so troubled yet somehow so easy to love. When I’m playing with them I often forget they have this disease, but then it’s time for their medicine and reality sets in again.
Because of the life they live and have experienced they all seem very angry and some of them can be very aggressive verbally and physically. I believe it is because they have never had their emotional or spiritual needs met. Slowly but surely each one of these children has opened up to me in their timing. All I can do is keep loving on the others. This has been a very difficult week learning how to love someone who does not want your love but you know needs your love. I am praying constantly for God to give me the strength and courage to love the unlovable.
I really believe they want to communicate with me but are afraid to because they know I will only be here a short time. I’m sure they are tired of the heartache of goodbye because they have experienced so many goodbyes at their young age so I cannot blame them for not wanting to give me a chance. I enjoy playing UNO with them, doing manicures and pedicures, and even teaching them some fun American dances like the Hokey Pokey, Macarena, and Chicken Dance (which they laughed hysterically when I told them what it was called.) They love to play soccer and are really good at it. I enjoy watching them play and cheering them on!
This has also been a trying week for putting the self discipline of James 2 into practice. For those of you who know me well I constantly speak my mind, I don’t know why but I do. Maybe that is because I feel like truth is so scarce and I’m sick of the deception and lies in this world about life, religion, and God. Before I left Bill Mitchell, the mission’s pastor at my church, gave me some good advice about that and I’m glad he did. I’m constantly reminding myself of what he told me daily, waiting for God to give me the opportunity to share the things I am observing.
Here is an example. One of the children was sent home from school 2 times this week. I was curious as to why he was sent home so I sat down with an interpreter to speak to him. After about 30 minutes he told me he does not know how to read. How sad I thought but then I find out that neither the staff at YWAM nor the school knew that he couldn’t read. No wonder he was sent home for being disrespectful to the teacher and fighting the other kids. He is ashamed of his disability and fights to make up for it. I asked YWAM what can be done about this and they told me they do not have the means to be able to assist him with learning how to read and the school will not help. I don’t understand this concept; it doesn’t make any sense to me. My heart breaks for this child. Reading is very important to a successful life. I am in the process of trying to find a tutor for him before I leave.
This experience will definitely be an experience that will grow and stretch me in my faith and already has in this short week. Not only that but this experience will help me become a better person as well. I’m so honored that God would choose me for such a time as this. It seems like Satan wants to discourage the work God has for me here but I refuse to allow him to do that by constantly putting on the armor of God. Thank you again for your prayers and support. My hope is to update you weekly on things. There are pictures on my facebook if you would like to see them. God Bless!