Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hope Restored

It is very difficult to put feelings into perspective especially for those of you who have not lived in Lesotho, but I feel like I need to share my experience yesterday. To be very honest, by the end of the day I was so angry that I just wanted to march into the ministry of social development and rant and rave and spew all the things I have been stuffing inside for years. Poor Bryan got stuck listening to my tirade on our way to dinner, and thankfully. he is still talking to me so I must not have been too offensive.

It all started off with bad news affecting a child whom I have loved for a long time. She just isn't going to be able to have a family. Through no fault of her own, but due to a person who didn't do their job right (not referring to anyone at BG). That is it, a person who didn't do their paperwork right just RUINED a child's hope for a family.

Then I got to be a social worker for a day and read up on some children's profiles for a special project I had to work on. There is a good reason that I usually don't read their stories. It just sucks. It is painful to read about their beginnings before BG. Stories of rape, incest, choosing a lover over a child, dropping a kid off and running away, being locked in a home for days, being dumped in a ditch and the list goes on and on and on. This is real life stuff that these kids have faced and not all of them were babies that could just forget this. This is their story, and while I firmly believe that God can and will redeem each life, each story, walking through their pain made my heart cry out. INJUSTICE!!!!!!!!! Oh my heart, these poor precious little ones have walked an unbelievable journey, and it isn't over yet. I closed the file cabinet with a heavy heart. I was not just reading a story, I had entered into the raw pain of children I hold, play with and take pictures of each week. I KNOW them and I liked being ignorant of their story and just loving on them. The story doesn't change the way I interact with them, it just weighs down my heart.

There was one more injustice to add to my day and it was more than I could bear. 2 precious children had been placed in a terrible place and needed intervention. They needed to be moved to a safe place, but they did not know how dangerous their situation was. Removing children from their mother, wow, that is heartbreaking. The crying, the look of fear, the shaking and terror are so real. How can you say that you are safe and they will be ok when you have removed them from their only comforter that they have ever known? Pray for the social worker, the nurse and the house mothers as they try to bring comfort and answers to some very hard questions. Pray for the kids who really don't know that we are doing what is best for them. I held one of them while he was screaming and it was so sad. I tried everything I could think of, and then I just started to pray out loud for him. It was a hard day. Disappointment, harsh realities and raw pain rolled up in one day.

After that we went out for dinner with some friends from England. I was able to vent my frustrations to Bryan on the way and then just focus on friends during dinner. Elijah was left in charge at home so we could go out for dinner and enjoy an adult conversation. Toward the end of our dinner we began to get some texts from Elijah wondering when we were coming home. I was surprised by this because he doesn't usually send messages. After dinner we headed home to a nice surprise. Faith had made us a cake, Elijah had made a British flag. They had plates, napkins, cups and drinks out for us, and it was a wonderful surprise. I am just amazed that on a day where it seemed there was just no good left in the world, my own kids showed me how a random act of kindness can really bring hope back.

I cannot change what I know. I cannot make someone do their job (trust me, if there was a way, I would be using it), I cannot stop abandonment, but I can offer little acts of kindness to restore hope to these kids

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tough Love

Many of you have followed our journey from  the start, and will recall some of our stories from pretty early on. One of those stories has been our friendship with Lucky who was one of Elijah's favorite friends when we first moved here. He has come and gone within our journey now that he is no longer living in Maseru, but he has been doing his best to keep us up to date with a random phone call every few months.

This week he stopped by the office to talk about his schooling needs, we have been sponsoring him in school for several years. After a long discussion, with help from our HR manager who called his school, I was able to determine that he actually failed all of his classes last year. It was so sad to see that we had paid for everything he needed for school, and he did not put forth enough effort to pass even one class. I was stuck in a really hard place as I needed to determine what the next step should be.

I began to image if one of my children went off to college and failed all of their classes. There is no way I would pay for them to have another class. What a waste of money when there are so many people who would sacrifice so many things just to have a good education. I knew in my heart that I had to hold him to the same standard I would hold my own child to. I needed to teach him that you don't receive a gift and then throw it away and expect another gift. It was time for him to learn how to make his dreams a reality, this time by himself. Maybe this would be the push he needs to help Him learn to trust and rely on God because God is the only one who can help him bring about change.

Those things may be true in my head, but my heart was absolutely shattered when I had to share it with him. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I told him that I loved him too much to bail him out, he needed to find his own way into school. I told him that I have always thought of him like a son, and I was going to treat him the same way I would treat my own son. But tough love hurts deeply. He wouldn't look at me, he was so devastated. I could barely hold myself together as I hugged him and sent him back to his uncle's house. Then I came into the office and sobbed. I have been praying for him ever since and I will continue to pray for him. This was so hard for me, but I know that I did the right thing in teaching him to value the gifts he will be given in the future, and to help him take his education seriously. May this lesson in tough love make a lasting impression on him that will change his life for the better.