I have been pretty obedient to God as of late. I followed him into domestic ministry at Bridges of Faith. Living off the support of those with generous hearts to put food on the table and paying the car payment is scary! But I tell myself if He brought me to it, He’ll bring me through it!
I have had a wonderful time with the Ukrainian Orphans we bring to Alabama for cultural exchange and family networking. Our first group was a great group of young children. I have always loved young children and those with disabilities. But what I never liked as teenagers. I couldn’t deal with their attitude and sass. I’ve said this for years. Nothing was going to change that. So when I learned our second group included eight teenagers, I freaked out. I told God I couldn’t do this. I wouldn’t be able to bond. I wouldn’t be able to deal with their attitudes in a Christian manner.
God does not accept “no”. He just doesn’t. He brought over eight beautiful teens and one younger child to enjoy the month of August at our camp called BridgeStone. There were three girls, and I was dreading them the most. They’d freak out about getting dirty and a variety of other issues. I didn’t want any part of it.
But from the moment they stepped into the airport, these children were nothing like the American teenagers I have worked with. They weren’t yelling or screaming, (to be fair they didn’t know a lot of our language). In the van ride home, they didn’t fight among themselves. They had their snacks and took nap. Even though, this would be the most composed they will be for the e entire month, they never reached the hectic, loud, negative brouhaha that I was used to. Most of them were well behaved (but as allays with the boys, you had to keep an eye on a couple of them).
But they were so much fun. They participated in a variety of activities from actively learning English to trying new food to getting dirty with horses. No one whined or complained that they didn’t want to do something. They weren’t “too good” for anything. These children had seen the bad side of life and instead of lashing out at those around them, they had pulled inside themselves. So our job was to bring them out if their shells. Some came out quickly, embracing all the adventures in front of them. Some of them were slower, wondering if they could really trust US. But eventually they saw that and reached out to US.
Though I bonded with all the teen and learned about them, there are two that really taught me something about life. The first was a boy with the sweetest smile. He had been through a lot in his life: he had been abused as a child; he had been shuffled off to an orphanage because his mother couldn’t take care of him; and he had grown up with only the bare minimum of everything in life. But he always gave you a smile and loved to give hugs. He hadn’t given up looking for someone to trust, someone to take care of him. My heart broke to realize that he made the best of a bad situation, and when I let the dumbest things get to me. He inspired me to smile more, to be happy more.
The second teen’s effect on me was more subtle. She did have a drama streak, but she wanted so much to connect with people, to be included and loved. She would help me up and down stars. If she missed helping me, she would be sad and apologize. She loved freely and laughed often. She wasn’t afraid of tears. She totally changed my mind that all teens were all self-centered. She realized to be loved, she had to give love.
You have to give love to get love. Isn’t that just a profound thought. We can’t be loved by someone unless we have an open giving heart. Sure we can be grumpy and need help, but we have to be willing to get out there, to put our hearts on the line. These children did nothing but that.
The day they left, I cried. Heck, I cried the night before when we were all together. I cried more than I had even cried for the first group! I had such bonds with this children-one boy even told me “I love you” and told me not to cry! Each child was so dear to me: they had each changed my life is some monumental way. They didn’t even know it.
I had told God no, and he threw back in my face 9 instruments of growth and love. He proved to me that he was right and I was wrong. I am humble before him, honored to help these orphans. I must always remember not to tell God no, because he will always show me a yes!
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And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact email@example.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billinngsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!