April 1, 2013/ Heavy Hearted

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It seems like every time I log onto Google news and see the US it is just shooting after shooting and then I look at the world and its everywhere… So much evil and so much death. It really is so sad…However, it all seems so far away from me, and it isn’t until the small moments when it is right in front of my face, and I can feel it, see it, hear it… that it hits me harder.

An hour ago I was walking to Kings and I walked past these 5 little kids…how can I give you an accurate picture of them? They were probably six years old, but they were smaller than most American 3 year old’s…Seriously,  they barely reached as high as my knees. They were dressed in rags, some without shirts and some without pants, none with shoes. At least half of them had some sort of open sore on their faces or arms or legs that were pussing and infected. I have seen them before, last time it was raining and they were holding a banana leaf over their head and shivering. Like last time, they were struggling under the weight of the bags of charcoal that they were carrying back to their homes. That means that some parent sent their 6 or 7 year old kids to walk the 3 miles into town and get charcoal all alone along a super busy road with awful traffic.

So I came up to them, knelt down, and shook all their tiny hands…Oh how tiny they were. The littlest boy’s hand could not have been more than 2 inches long..with these tiny bony fingers..like baby hands, but rougher and dirtier and calloused. Kids aren’t supposed to have hands like that. I asked for their names, which they shyly whispered to me with dodged glances. I asked them in my limited Kirundi where they were going, and they said they were walking home. Then the pause. What now? What can I do? I gave them all hugs and kept walking on my way. Then the worst happened…it always happens. They follow. They follow with their hands outstretched and hand rubbing their bellies and signaling to their mouths for food…and they aren’t lying. The protruded stomach’s can’t lie. But I have no food. I have no toys with me to give them. I have nothing to give them. I can’t even speak the language well enough to tell them about Jesus and how much he loves them and how they won’t always be hungry and how they won’t always be cold and tell them they are blessed and loved and that God sees them. And I know that I can’t help everyone. I know they are 5 of thousands of children just in my town, not counting this entire country, that are in this situation. I know that giving them anything just reinforces their parents to keep them going out like this. I know I can’t fix it. I can’t freaking fix it.

So I just kept walking. Looking back here and there at their big, brown eyes, dripping with rain drops that started to fall, but not tears because kids in Burundi are taught not to cry. All the way to the door of my destination, where they peered inside and watched me disappear around the corner. How do I move on from that?

It is days like this, when I just want to break out of this evil world and just grab all five of those kids, bring them into my home and make them pancakes, give them baths, dress them in new, bright, clean clothes that actually fit with no holes pinned with broken safety pins, tell them Bible stories and giggle and laugh into the afternoon, and then we would all fall asleep in my big, nice, comfy bed maybe after a pillow fight, and they would dream of kid things. Ugh. I don’t want to wake from that day dream…reality is ugly and the god of this world has destroyed childhood here in Burundi.

However, at the end of the day, I would rather live here and know about them, see their faces, touch their hands, hug their fragile and bruised and sick bodies, and have it keep me in check, than to live a life having never been here, never hearing, never learning and be stuck in my own world of  “not enough” “too small” and “more”.

Jesus, please bless those sweet kids today with something special. Give them shoes for their little feet, and food so they can actually grow or a doctor to fix their wounds. Tell them that they are loved in a language they understand. If anything, let them see your love for them in my eyes and my hugs. I know that even though I can’t fix it, You can fix it. You are good, and I know one day you will eliminate all poverty, and You will wipe away every tear from every eye, and You will reign in righteousness and the least of these will be fed, clothed, and taken care of. Forgive me for thinking I do not have enough, that I need more, that my bed is too small and my clothes are stretched out from washing them by hand and that we don’t eat enough here in Burundi. I am so sorry. Thank you for the many blessings You have given me, including moments like this one. Thank you for taking the burden of this onto Your shoulders so we don’t have to carry it alone….Come, Lord Jesus.

Pray for these sweet babies today,
Carley

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