I guess you could call me a seasoned missionary which is why what happened on Wednesday of this week took me totally by surprise. I have seen many, many children who are living lives that are beyond my imagination and I don’t mean in a good sense. After awhile you become less affected by the horrors which is not exactly a good thing … it’s just the way one survives. Elvia peeked around the door and said I would not believe what had just happened. I could tell she was emotional about something and I thought perhaps she had just smashed up one of our vehicles. I was not even close. She told me that while she was at INHFA (a governmental holding tank for abused and abandoned children) getting some paperwork for a couple of our children, one of the placement officers asked her if we had room for a 10 year old child named Helen. Her mother had addiction problems including prostitution and Helen had been in INHFA for almost a year, waiting to be placed in a center. When Elvia asked why they hadn’t placed her, the officer said there was no room in any of the orphanages. No room in the inn, so to speak. Elvia asked the placement officer if she could bring Helen to my office so that I could meet her. It only took one look at Helen for the tears to start flowing down my cheeks. I can’t really explain it fully ... it was like two strong emotions came colliding together in my heart and then came rushing through my tear ducts. The first was an overwhelming sadness. Whatever had happened to Helen in her days at INHFA must have caused her much pain. Her face was covered in it. The other emotion was pure joy that God had sent Helen to us. I hugged Helen in my weepy state and she also began to cry. It was a reunion of sorts. A mother who has never actually given physical birth to anyone welcoming home a lost child whose mother abandoned her emotionally and physically a long, long ago. We are all so thrilled to welcome Helen into our home and into our hearts and into Jesus, the One who gives her a future and a hope that does not disappoint.
Friday also brought more unexpected blessings. Our dear missionary friend Evelyn Klinger had stored her possessions out at the Villa while she was on furlough and due to some unexpected changes in her life, she needed to come back and deal with those stored goods. While she was with us, she told us of two little boys she had met through another missionary friend who were practically living on the streets. “Could we take them in at the Villa?” she asked. Frankly there is no way that I can tell you that these two little boys fit into our main mission statement … to reach out to prostitutes and their children. Their Mom was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty and their Dad was a deceased gang member. Their grandmother was their only caretaker and she was barely able to do that. They were begging on the streets and (we would learn later) doing many other things too heartbreaking to speak of to earn money for their daily bread. Daniel was 8 and his brother Noe was 7. Perhaps they didn’t fit into our main mission but it certainly seemed that they fit into God’s main mission of rescuing the lost and brokenhearted. We agreed to a meeting with the boys and their grandmamma so that we could pray about how to help. The whole meeting challenged our Jericho House staff. The boys were like wild little monkeys, running to and fro, stuffing anything they could get their hands on into their dirty pants pockets. They were small and smelly and reckless and so in need of love. The grandmother agreed that she could not control them and that they spent most of their days on the streets but she did not want to give them up. I discovered why pretty quickly. Noe kept asking me for money and food. It occurred to me that she needed the money they brought in daily. So we prayed like this: “Lord, if you want us to have Daniel and Noe, please change the grandmother’s heart and open the doors at the court so that we can get custody.” God totally moved. On Friday morning the grandmother brought both boys to us and gave her permission for us to raise them. Elvia took them all to the court to get legal custody. The judge initially told her it would take some time since they wanted to do a home study to see if everyone was telling the truth. It was lunchtime and both boys exhibited the same behavior in the court setting as they had at Jericho and when one of them started to try and climb up one of the windows, the judge said in desperation, “Ok, just take them!” So, we did!
That afternoon found us on our way to the Villa in the van with Helen, Daniel and Noe. Elvia sat in the back to try and keep the boys calm. I’ll never forget seeing Noe melt into complete peace as Elvia cradled him in her arms and sang a song over him. I could just make out his little hand gently holding onto the clip in her hair as I caught a glimpse of them in the rear view mirror. At the Villa, Ely and Dwight were the epitome of the word welcome. They embraced all three children and led them to the dining area where a special tort awaited them. It had been prepared by Ely and our Jericho children. Each child took turns sharing words of welcome and shared their testimonies about how God had touched them. One little one shared how he had been locked in a room by his mother. He remembered exactly what his grandmother had brought him to eat when she opened the door two days later. He completed the story by sharing how he now slept with Jesus and was no longer afraid. Ely and Dwight spent the weekend praying for deliverance for these three new family members. God used Ely to help them divulge the many atrocities that had been committed against them so that healing could begin. We thank God for the way He is using Ely and Dwight to deliver these treasures of God and to help them grow into strong citizens of the Kingdom. It is truly a work of the Holy Spirit.
And there is more but I think that’s enough for now. I can barely keep up with all that God is speaking and teaching me right now. It’s like trying to catch all the seeds from a dried dandelion after someone blows it into the wind. Please do keep Helen (now part of the JM family in my household) and Noe and Daniel (part of the JM family at the Villa) in your prayers.
I love each of you! Helen and Susannah new best friends