Oh, Friends. These last few days have been filled with challenges and tears. Wow. I know my updates haven´t been very comprehensive, and that´s really because I have had so little time to reflect. This morning, I planned to come to the internet café to reflect and try to share some of the things that the LORD is teaching me through classes and experiences and conversations and heartbreak. As I left the gate from the Iris Ministries compound, I was met by a little boy named Amade.
Let me give you some context. The mission school I attend is located on the campus of a Iris Ministries´ children center called Village of Joy. Orphans or abandoned children are taken into the center and cared for, given an education, and loved into relationship with their heavenly Father. It´s no cakewalk, for sure, as many of these children have lived through hell on earth already in their short lives. Many know the reality of severe abuse, homelessness, and starvation. Some only survived through thievery and prostitution. Now, nearly 300 of these children have been taken into Iris Ministries’ village of Joy here in the heart of a Muslim province, the northernmost province in Mozambique. Some of these children are still remarkably aggressive and manipulative, but it is incredible to see how the Holy Spirit is at work bringing transformation and a spirit of adoption through longsuffering, tenacious love. Being called to love these kids is a calling to drink a bitter cup of suffering and joy.
Anyway, back to this morning. Amade is one of the boys we call ¨village kids,¨ which means he is one of the little boys that hangs out at the Iris Ministries children center from the nearby village. He does not live here, but comes back to the center day after day. Obviously the village kids feel loved here or they would not come back. When I walked out of the gate to the center, Amade met me. I smiled at him and gave him a hug. He took my hand and we walked together along the road, a village of thatched-roof, bamboo huts to our right and the smooth, blue-glass Indian Ocean to our left. We talked a bit. Amade has a speech impediment and doesn´t speak Portuguese very well, so it is difficult to communicate verbally with him. We sang songs from church softly as we walked, drawing lazy stares from the fishermen who were hanging their recent catch on a palm tree.
Amade asked me where I was going. I explained simply that I wanted to send a message to my mother on the computer. He asked me how it worked, so I tried to explain that I bought a ticket at the store and the ticket let me use the computer for a certain amount of time. That was a good answer for him. He said that he would like to see a computer. I walked on silently. He offered to carry my bag for me, so I let him. He fingered the rubber bands on my wrist, a gift he gave me last week. I looked at the t-shirt he was wearing, the shirt I gave him a few days ago.
When we arrived at the internet café, he walked with me to the door and gave me back my bag. He took a few steps into the café with me before a guard yelled at him and herded him outside. The unfairness of it all began to hit me as I bought my ticket and gazed out the window as the guard shooed Amade and several other barefooted boys away from the entrance of this ¨high class¨ establishment.
This week, Heidi Baker taught us about hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Righteousness. Righteousness is not about personal holiness. It´s about the world being right again- as it was intended to be. Just imagining myself in Amade´s position induces greater hunger. But, it´s not just Amade.
It´s also Betty. Betty – a 47 year old woman here who prostituted herself because she needed income. A woman so ashamed by her need that she sold sex. So ashamed by the sale that she hid the ensuing pregnancy. So ashamed by the pregnancy that she seemed almost relieved when the baby miscarried at 4 months. So ill from the surgery to remove the placenta that she almost died.
It´s also Titos… abandoned as a child and still struggling to find his place. It´s also Nassimo… kicked out of his home by his parents, told they would throw his dead body in the trash, living with some other teenage boys, and trying to make enough money to attend school. It´s also Candida… abused by the church, feeling rejected and alone struggling through an unknown disease, dying, and leaving two boys… and it´s Adriano and Belinha and Maria and Talisa and Ezekiel…
Injustice. A world that´s just not right.
Holy Spirit, feed me.