Sometimes I don’t know how to start these things. I don’t know how to fit the emotions and experiences in the little boxes everyone calls words. How do I explain the life change? I do I explain seeing and hearing the stories?
I guess I’ll start with this: Ruth is improving in amazing ways! There was one day where she was perfectly normal. It was truly unexplainable. She focused for over 45 minutes on coloring with the group, finished her homework, obeyed, came in after recess, and she listened so intently as I read her a story. Even the bad days are better than before!
Joana wanted me to thank everyone for the continued prayer over this girl, because in reality no one else is. I don’t know how it’s possible. Even my host mom commented on how well she was listening during the Bible story and that God was giving her a new brain! One day we were talking about Jesus and when I asked her what she thought. Her response melted my heart, “I want to know more about Jesus.” As the group prayed together to invite Jesus into their heart, Ruth chose to pray along. It was quite a humbling moment for me.
I notice her picking stories about Jesus, her prayers are changing, and everyday we seem to get closer. As I walked out of the center on that day this is what I saw.
It was such a reminder to me of God’s promises! He is healing her, he is giving her joy, and although I can’t change her circumstance, I can show her how to have joy in her circumstance!
I think back to the first weeks. Everyday was a challenge and my prayers seemed to be unheard. I think back to the first nights where I didn’t quite know how to live in this new world with new people, a new language, and new food. I feel like a completely different person. Everything about me has changed. My life, my heart, and especially my prayers.
Everyone has a story. Sometimes we hear stories so much that they become just that. Stories. We forget that the testimony of the alcoholic could be our next door neighbor, we hear the story of the girl in our school with depression who wanted to commit suicide and in a few days we forget about her. We’ve lost touch because we’ve heard these stories so much, but the truth is they are real. Real people, really hurting, with real emotions, and it’s real life.
Every single one of the kids here has a story. There are some stories you wouldn’t believe, that you don’t want to believe, but they real. I hug these kids, I hand them a glass of water everyday, play with them, and now it’s becoming real to me. I can’t forget, and I never will.
There have been times in my life where it’s real. The weeks after we go to feed my starving children, the times I’ve written my sponsor child, or the times volunteering at salvation army. But then the running starts: school, sports practice, homework, Christmas, birthdays, family, friends. And then you slowly forget. There’s no time to remember.
Here, it’s my life. All of the stories you hear are reality. When you see it every day, when you hear it every day, when you breathe it in, it becomes a part of you.
There’s about 5 weeks left before I come home. I’ve almost forgotten what my house looks like, how my own pillow feels under my head, and the sound of my skates gliding on the ice. I miss it all so much. Maybe not the four hours of homework every night, but the life I had. Yet, now I know it’s not going to be the same, and I don’t quite know how to process it. Not only have I changed, and will change, but Minnesota has changed. I don’t even know what to expect, or who I will be. I can’t just hop back into things, and frankly I don’t want to. I’ve seen a way to live, to live not for myself but that every day is a day to live for others. How do I bring that back to America?
I guess right now I’m caught in the middle of two worlds. Wifi has been a blessing, but also it’s hard to see the world I left. I feel the pain when I talk to my friends going through hard times, and in the same day I hug kids who haven’t eaten. My heart can hardly handle it sometimes. Sometimes I get so discouraged by the brokenness in the world that I just wonder why. Why can these things happen to innocent kids? Why is there so much hurt in the world? But as usual Francis Chan just hit me in this face with this quote. He said,
“Although not being able to understand God is frustrating, it’s ridiculous for us to limit God to something we are capable of understanding.”
I never want to forget. I never want to go a day forgetting. Because in Minnesota there are stories too. We may see the outside, but on the inside there is something different. Everyone has a story. I just want to go. We can’t change the first chapter of their story, but we can change the ending. But to change someone’s story I realized that we have to be apart of it. We can’t be a page, we can’t be a one time visit to a homeless shelter, or a one time coffee date with our neighbor. It takes time, tears, and love. But I think we can do it. I think we can listen, I think we can love, and I think that with Jesus, even the most hopeless stories can have a happy ending.
"But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”-Job 5:8-9