5 Minutes of my Day: 9 Months is a Life
“Chale a cho”. ([Even] the heat is hot)
My phrase for the day rolls off my tongue to the kids at the orphanage. They laugh at me, as they play football in long-sleeve hand-me-down sweaters.
It’s moments like this that I love…I get to just be fully present in the moment, these slow-paced, beauty-filled moments. Edison is with my mother, who is here to help me with him and so for now, it’s just me, jumping from group to group at the orphanage, checking in on folks, reminding team members to drink water and helping out where I can.
I laugh at the grown men acting as jungle gyms for the little guys to climb all over.
I snap a picture of a young girl and a boy playing soccer with a bottle.
I translate a small conversation for another boy speaking to a team member.
I marvel at the energy of the men from our team fixing the basketball goal in this heat. I’m hot just walking around.
And I spy a cool spot in the shade at the end of the basketball court.
And a little friend of mine from the orphanage is sitting there, talking with a girl on the team.
His name is James.
I can still remember the day I first met James. He was 7 years old and new to the orphanage. The director sat with me and told me his entire story. We clicked that very first day – as we stumbled through my broken Creole, he slowly opened up to me.
Today is 3 years later. He is a 10 year old boy now. He has changed in so many ways.
He is taller now, smarter, more serious. He is gaining muscle and being chivalrous towards me (and other girls) more and more. (No more lifting water jugs if he is around) He speaks with me about serious matters now. He never asks me for things. Just last week, he testified in church in front of the whole congregation. He’s growing up.
“Betani – vin pale’w” (Bethany, come and talk with me) he calls.
I sit down and I can feel that this is a somewhat serious conversation they are having – I’m not quite sure what they are talking about.
“Tell her, “I don’t like mean people, I like to be nice. I want to be a nice person.” for me”. He says.
Nowadays, I often fill the role of translator when needed. So picking up mid-conversation isn’t normally a big deal. But that sentence begged me to know more. I press for more information.
As we talk, he explains that they are talking about the people he’s met in his life, the man he wants to become and his family life. He is quick to tell me more to translate. “Tell her “I’ve met a lot of unhappy people in this world and I don’t want to be around them, or be like them”.”
But then I turn to him, needing to talk through this with him myself.
I do my best to help him understand the power he has within Him, within Jesus, that HE can change this world – a world that needs more little boys like him to grow into strong, courageous men, fighting for the good. Little boys who want to become nice grown men.
We talk for a while.
I ask him what he wants to do for a job, what he wants to study. “Engineering, mechanical stuff, chemistry, a lot of things.” he says.
Wow, I think to myself. He’s got a long journey ahead of him. Then he says to me:
“I want to grow up to make a lot of money. I want to be a nice person and impact my country for good. I want to make enough money to buy my mother a house to live in.
Because you know Betani, she carried me in her stomach for 9 months… I owe her my life, that’s a huge sacrifice.“
Now I don’t know about you (or well, about how well I can communicate the power-fullness of this moment through letters on a screen)… but that statement hit me like a ton of bricks.
As we sat there in tears – the three of us – none of us spoke. I struggled to translate his words without losing it.
I know he hasn’t seen his mother in years and yet, his love for her is so deep. I pray Edison will love me like that one day. I pray that he will grow up to be a young man of such character.
That someday he will think of others in such a way – that he will look on me with respect and love for bringing him into this world and physically doing my best for him.
It draws so many beautiful parallels to our relationship with Christ.
And to Jesus’ with the Father.
Oh, how I want to be like James.
I want to love You with everything in me.
I want You, the hand that created me, formed me and sustains me to be my focus.
I want every decision in my life to be made out of the perspective of Your sacrifice.
I want every step I take, the places I go, the things I study, my profession in life, to exist to bring You joy and happiness. To give You honor and glory.
And even when I haven’t seen You with my eyes, I will not grow complacent with our relationship.
That I will actively search for You.
Work for You.
Love for You.
Speak for You.
And grow up in You.
Just like James, I pray that for my entire life I don’t forget the sacrifice You made for me.
And out of that sacrifice, my passion is borne.
I want to have a heart so rich that your Spirit would find it a beautiful home to live in.
Because you know, You’ve carried me my whole life long…I owe You my life.
*names have been 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.