He wasn’t smiling like all the other children when he came through the gate. His reply when I asked “como estas?” was not “bien” like all the other children. He was frowning and feeling “mal”. As all the other children skipped off, excited to go to VBS, he walked slowly, so I matched his pace and let God show a little piece of His love through me. I prayed this little interaction would somehow impact his life for the better.
At craft time he insisted on writing my name all over his craft, and by song time he didn’t want to let go of my hand. When it was time to say goodbye, his frown returned, and he told me he was sad about me, that I had to say goodbye. “Tomorrow, “ I said, as he hugged me tight and I fought back tears. What if he didn’t return tomorrow? I walked him to the gate and he turned to hug me again. I reminded him “Tomorrow…please come back.” His sad eyes connected with mine and then he turned and didn’t look back as he began his walk home.
The next day I waited at the gate, but only a few children showed up. I searched each face and smiled, but he was not there. We opened the gate; VBS was about to start and he was still nowhere to be seen.
I searched the road with my eyes as more children made their way from their homes to join us one last time.
And then, there he was, smiling this time, and I began to think that maybe I had made some small impact on this young boy. He came through the gate and hugged me tight, then took my hand as we walked towards the main building.
The day continued much like the last one, though this time with added smiles, more words, and maybe even a skip in his step. Once again he told me he loved me, once again he wrote my name, once again he held my hand, and once again we found ourselves back at the gate, needing to say goodbye. We hugged three times, not wanting to leave. This time he flashed one last smile before he started on his way back home. I waved goodbye and watched til he disappeared, then looked in my hands where he had left me his craft with “Moriah I love you” covering the front and back.
But the story doesn’t finish there because this little boy chose me and this couldn’t be the end.
Curious, I asked the sponsorship coordinator if this boy had a sponsor to support him and found out that no, he didn’t. He’d been waiting for me. At this point I had no say in the matter; no, it wasn’t up to me. Because you see, Elito, he chose me.
(Photo credit Chris O'Neill)