Sunday, December 13, 2015

One of many stories from Bolivia

While we were spending time with the kids at the boy home it was such a blessing to see how the boys personalities began to show.  As we spent more time with them, we could see which boys were the leaders and who were the adventurous ones in the group, who were the curious ones and the creative ones.  As the week went on, there was one boy that stood out as the cry baby of the group.  We'll call him Bill (that's not his real name FYI).

It got to the point that the team would be working and hear the sound of someone seriously upset/crying, we would stop and see that it was Bill and then turn back to our work because we knew Bill was fine and was throwing a fit because whatever it was didn't go his way.  Bill didn't get the ball, he was out of the game, some other kid was using a toy he wanted etc.  It was evident that Bill really struggled with this.  Let's just say that Bill was not the easiest child to love.  The personalities of the other boys were more fun and easy going.  It was easy to work with them, it was annoying to work with Bill. 

Towards the end of the week, I had the opportunity to play with Bill one-on-one.  I was playing Lincoln Logs with a group of boys and for one reason or another they left to play elsewhere.  All of a sudden it was just Bill and me remaining to build and (let's be honest, the best part of Lincoln logs) knock down what was built.  At the beginning of this one-on-one time, I had to fight the urge to get up and leave.  I didn't want to spend my time with the cry baby.  But as we sat there and played with limited dialogue, the time became sweeter and sweeter.  I am not sure I can exactly put it into words, but there was such a joy coming from the exchange.  Bill was excited to get some attention and thrived under the experience of being successful in my eyes.  He would build a little building and I would oohh-and-ahhh over it.  You could see pride in his eyes.  Before we left to go outside to play with the others, he jumped in my lap and gave me the most memorable hug.  I left that room not knowing what God was trying to teach me, but happy that I was there in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The next day during our team devotions, we did an activity called "High-Low."  Each person had the opportunity to share their high and low experience from the day.  I shared my interaction with Bill as a high from that day.  I expressed how I was grateful that I had the interaction with a boy that was more difficult to love. The rest of the group seemed to understand exactly what I was trying to say without judging me for saying that a kid was not easy to love.  The missionary stopped me and added that what I said was such a neat thing for him to hear because Bill had been in their care for about a year and he has made such strides in that time.  Apparently when Bill first came to the home, he was a horror.  He would scream and kick, cry and bite.  The Tia's would go to the missionary in tears because they were at their whits end with Bill and didn't know what else to do.  They moved Bill from the baby house to the boys house in hopes that it would help Bill learn out to interact with others.  The missionary shared what a blessing it was to hear about my time with Bill because he knew where Bill had started and how far he has come in that time. 

As we traveled back to the States, I couldn't shake my time with Bill.  Knowing that a year ago, Bill would not have been capable of playing one-on-one with me got me thinking about how we interact with God.  God chooses to love us when we scream and kick, cry and bite.  He loves us when we throw fits.  He finds joy in meeting us where we are and working with us there.  He doesn't expect us to be the most fun or easy going.  He expects us to mess up, to through fits, to be jealous and to need extra attention.  And God still chooses to love us.  He chooses to show us Grace.  I will be forever grateful that God looks at us and instead of leaving or abandoning us, He takes our hand and guides us through life.  

Thank you Jesus.

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