Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photos, Faces, and Flashbacks

As I was cleaning I found a photo that I had tucked away in a drawer among some of my "stuff" that holds some importance. I slide the photo into my Bible, and as I opened my Bible, out came the photo.

I just happen to be sitting at the computer desk at that moment, and propped up the photo. There it sat, as I thought about those people.

My nephew Jonathan came in the next day and asked "Why is that little girl blowing on the bubbles when there really isn't any bubbles?" As if it was some cruel joke this photo had captured. My sister explained there really were bubbles, you just weren't able to see them in the photo. He then proceeded to ask me about the little girl.

I honestly can't tell you here name, or even her age. I could probably guess at the age, but I'm not really sure. I really don't even know the name of her town, or maybe it would rather be classified as a village.

You see I met this girl in 2003, on a dirt soccer field, outside a small town, outside the city of Escourt, South Africa. We had the opportunity to simply play with the children, make friends, start to build relationships. The church in Escourt we were partnering with already had some connections with this area. Every week they did a food distribution on Wednesday. Later that evening we were able to return, and help pass out the several bags of oranges the church had to distribute for that week.

I think handing out the oranges was one of my most memorable times there. If not memorable, thought provoking. But I will save my orange story for another day.

My nephew Jonathan then proceed to ask me more about this little girl. She was probably only a little older than he is now. I would guess she's probably fifteen years old now. One question that really shook me, was when he asked "Is she dead?" I'm not sure what sparked that question, but knowing the lies told about AIDS to those young people, I did have to pause and wonder. Could she be...?

I do pray for her, honestly not as often as I would like to. I don't always remember, but she clung onto me that day, and we played. We enjoyed bubbles, jump rope, chasing balloons and playing with goofy glasses and stickers. The memories feel tangible, as if sometimes I could still be there, playing with that little girl, loving on her, as she follows me holding my hand.

(please excuse the flash, this photo is in a frame)

I do often stop to think about what has happened in the life of the girl with the little red boots. I remember her vividly by her little red rain boots and her cute little braids pulled to the back of her head. Her cute smile, and glowing eyes. The little girl born into poverty, with great potential. And as the local church continues to minister in that area, I pray she reaches her God given potential. I pray she always knows she's loved, not only by an amazingly great God, but by a very impressionable teenager who met her one winter, and walked away changed. Not changed by the circumstances of poverty surrounding her, but by her joy and love she so openly gave.

You too can have a life changing experience, as you share joy with a child living in poverty. Child sponsorship, and letter writing can give you the opportunity to experience poverty in a new light. Will you consider not only changing the life of a child living in poverty, but allow them to change your life as well?
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