5 Minutes of My Day: Ricky’s Coins
The middle aged, one-legged comedian of a man whom I give a 5 gourde to as we exchange salutes. He always helps me pull out onto the busy street if I can’t find a spot in the traffic.
An 11 year-old girl, way too young to be so angry, yells at me to give her money. I try to tell her time and time again to be nice.
The handful of phone credit guys selling Pap-a-Dap and La-pou-La for Digicel and Natcom, jockeying for the best position, leaving just a few inches for the car to squeeze into the parking lot.
It’s a party going to the store. They are always there. It’s a part of the routine. It’s simple.
And there he is, a smile a mile wide, coming to greet me at the car. His name is Ricky. He’s 9 and lives with his mother in a corner shack down the road. I think of a small job he can complete–dusting the car–and hand him a small cloth from the back-seat. His smile, which I couldn’t imagine getting any larger, beams wider as he erupts in a frenzy of giggles and gets to work.
As I come out of the store, he greets me near the doors. He’s careful to not get too close to the security guard for fear he’ll get in trouble. He’s not allowed to come inside the store. He grabs my sacks of groceries and begins shooting questions left and right.
How old are you?
Are you from Canada or the USA?
Do you know Obama?
Do you know Justin Bieber?
Where are you working this week?
Is this a rental car?
Do you watch soccer?”
The onslaught of questions are endless. As we walk, I laugh at his youth, his innocence, his humor. It’s just a part of the routine. It’s simple.
I give him a pack of crackers and a water. He’s completed the whole car, including the rims. I can tell he worked extra hard today. As I place five sparkling brand new 5 gourde coins in his hand, the first real money I’ve ever given him, conflicting thoughts battle in my mind. Is this money, although not much at all, going to help him in the long run? Will it hinder him in some way? Will it encourage him to stay on the streets, working? Will it be enough to help him get dinner later?
“Thank you for your helping me today, the car looks great,” I tell him. He helps me get in the car, ensuring my skirt isn’t caught up in the door. I roll down the window and ask him about school. He says it’s too expensive and he cannot afford to go. Although I knew the answer before I asked, I always ask to try and help encourage him to continue striving for education in the future–making sure he knows it’s the key.
He tells me he wants to be a soccer player when he grows up, like Messi. His heart and eyes and dreams are so colorful, so beautiful and big. My heart aches for his future. I plant a firm kiss on his blistering hot, sweaty forehead and whisper prayers of provision over his life.
It’s part of the routine. It’s simple.
The routine of everyday ministry is simple and yet so very complex. It is full of days that are easy and days that are inexplicably difficult. Days of rejoicing in victory, and days of walking through defeat.
The smallest of actions can affect the future of so many people. It’s the butterfly effect. The outcomes of giving Ricky, whom I have a small relationship with, those 25 gourdes are endless. It can impact his life, for the better or for the worse. It can affect his family, his community and Haiti as a whole, even if it doesn’t seem that way.
We must remain objective and sensitive to the needs around us. But sometimes thinking too much can be a hindrance. I will search my heart and listen to Christ’s pull as He steers me. Ultimately, if Christ was in my position, what would He do?
So I leave my decisions in His hands, to use in any way He sees fit. To this day, Father I pray Ricardo is well. I can’t wait to see him again soon. May You guide his little hands and feet into Your paths of truth and life. Give Him protection from bad and evil things, bring his mother through the difficult times she is in, and take away her burden and pain. Use those coins for Your glory. I know You are with him. You are with us.
*names changed for privacy
5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is, the good the bad and the ugly. Snapshots of 5ish minutes of my day.